NEW YORK — Responding to the concerns of Golden State Warriors fans regarding Matt Barnes’ past and current issues, coach Steve Kerr told ESPN that he is comfortable with the veteran forward being on the team.
In his comments, Kerr referenced the third-degree misdemeanor assault charges Barnes is facing stemming from an alleged Dec. 5 altercation at a club in Manhattan. Kerr made those comments made shortly after announcing that Barnes would make his first start for the Warriors in Sunday’s game against the New York Knicks.
“We’re aware of Matt’s legal situation, and we’ll see how that plays out. We’re comfortable with the process, and I’m comfortable with Matt,” Kerr told ESPN. “I had him during my tenure in Phoenix, and he was a great teammate, and I enjoy being around him, so I’m more confident that everything will be fine. But the legal stuff has to handle itself.”
Barnes’ attorney, Alex Spiro, requested that his client’s trial date in the assault case be postponed until June 27.
“I have reason to believe my client will be playing in the NBA Finals,” Spiro said in court Friday in Manhattan, according to reports.
Judge Robert Herbert Moses responded: “Good luck.”
In addition, Barnes and former teammate DeMarcus Cousins face a civil suit related to the Dec. 5 incident. Filed by plaintiffs Jasmine Besiso and Myrone Powell in a U.S. District Court in New York, the lawsuit alleges that Barnes grabbed Besiso by her neck and began choking her at approximately 3 a.m. ET after a fight broke out in the VIP section of the club.
The Warriors moved to sign Barnes on the evening of Feb. 28, after star small forward Kevin Durant suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain and bone bruise in the first quarter of Golden State’s game that night against the Washington Wizards.
The Warriors initially signed Jose Calderon but elected to waive the Spanish guard to make room for Barnes.
Barnes, 36, recorded three points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block in 19 minutes Sunday in the Warriors’ 112-105 victory over the Knicks.