Ten years later, Matt Barnes has finally come full circle.
In a career that spanned 14 seasons with nine different teams, including a previous two-year stint with Golden State, Barnes never really had one true home. But thanks to what some may call a “lucky break,” he was finally able to finish what he started back in 2007.
Barnes was an original member of the “We Believe” Warriors, who ignited a fire in the Bay Area after knocking off the No. 1 seed Dallas Mavericks as the No. 8 seed during the 2007 playoffs. It was the first time a Warriors team had made the playoffs in 12 seasons, and sparked hope in a restless fan base. But in 2008, Barnes signed a one-year deal with the Phoenix Suns, resulting in the next nine years of being bounced around from team to team. His most recent cut came courtesy of the Sacramento Kings one day before the 2017 trade deadline. He wasn’t sure if he would see the court again.
But fate would have its way with Barnes, even if it wasn’t under the most ideal circumstances for Golden State. In February, when Kevin Durant went down with an MCL injury, the Warriors, in panic mode, desperately needed someone to fill his spot. They took a chance on Barnes.
Barnes saw it as a dream come true.
Upon learning he would be rejoining the Warriors, Barnes shared this message on his Instagram page, calling it one of the happiest days of his life. He played 20 games during the regular season for Golden State, averaging 5.7 points per game, but his return to the team gave Warrior fans something to distract themselves from Durant’s injury and uncertainty. Most importantly, it gave Barnes a chance to finish what he started, an entire decade later.
“There’s no words but a lot of people want to see me fail,” he said amid champagne showers in the locker room Monday night. “After 15 years I’ve succeeded. So this is a good way to stick it to everybody that wants to see the worst and thank everybody that’s always been behind me.”
Matt Barnes was never supposed to be a NBA champion this season. In fact, he wasn’t even supposed to make the playoffs. Instead, being in the right place at the right time brought Barnes to one of the best teams in NBA history. Fourteen years of bouncing through the league had finally paid off. And now, a decade later from where it all began with the Warriors, he finally has a ring to show for it.