The past few days saw the NBA say goodbye to one of its most colorful players ever, welcome back one of its sidelined superstars, and deal with the latest trade rumors surrounding an All-NBA center. Matt Barnes has retired after 14 years in the league while Kawhi Leonard played his first game of the season after being sidelined for the first 27 matches. Meanwhile, a number of teams have allegedly showed interest in DeAndre Jordan, who is rumored to be on his way out of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Matt Barnes, 37, entered the league in 2002 as the 46th overall pick by the Memphis Grizzlies. Barnes was immediately traded to Cleveland but never played for the Cavaliers. Barnes had his NBA debut the following year with the Clippers. Barnes had a journeyman career as he also played for the Sacramento Kings, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, and Memphis. His last stop was with the 2017 Warriors, which captured the NBA championship.
Barnes is considered one of the bad boys of the NBA. This reputation was magnified when Matt attacked former teammate Derek Fisher in 2015 at the home of Gloria Govan, Fisher’s girlfriend and estranged wife of Barnes.
Matt announced his retirement on December 11, 2017 via Instagram. Barnes played in 929 regular season games finishing with a respectable 8.2 points per game average.
Kawhi Leonard is nothing like Matt Barnes. Barnes is a tough guy who’s had a lot to say to officials, fellow players, NBA fans, and James Harden’s mom. Kawhi is quiet and lets his game do the talking. NBA fans finally got a glimpse of that game once more after Kawhi returned to the court on Tuesday.
In his season debut, Kawhi Leonard played a mere 16 minutes but managed to score 13 points on six of 12 shooting. Kawhi also grabbed six rebounds and recorded one assist, steal, and block each. Despite his production, the San Antonio Spurs lost, 89-95, to the Dallas Mavericks.
Leonard had a minutes restriction after recovering from a right quadriceps injury. Kawhi left the game late in the third quarter, per ESPN.
“I’m just happy to be out there, just to play the game and enjoy the things I missed – missing shots, losing games, making mistakes, just everything,” Leonard said. “I missed everything on the court.”
One player who hasn’t missed a game for the Clippers this season is DeAndre Jordan. The All-Star big man and former Olympian, however, may find himself in a different uniform in the near future. Rumors are rife that the Clippers are gauging interest on DeAndre as the team has all but conceded the season after injuries took away most of their important pieces. The Clippers are also wary of losing Jordan to free-agency, which is why many teams are trying to trade for him.
One team which is reportedly trying to win the DeAndre Jordan sweepstakes is the Boston Celtics. According to Metro, the Celtics are looking to upgrade its front court by the trading deadline and Jordan, one of the best in his position right now, is a viable target.
The Clippers also reportedly wanted to trade Jordan to the Celtics during the offseason in exchange for the third pick of the 2017 NBA Draft. The Celtics preferred to keep the pick, which turned out to be Jayson Tatum, and to open up cap space to sign Gordon Hayward.
While adding Jordan to the mix will certainly propel Boston further, the Celtics will need to let go of a number of assets for the trade to work. DeAndre is set to earn $22 million this season so Danny Ainge needs to jettison at least five players to trade for Jordan, that is, if he wants to keep Al Horford.