NBA suspends Clippers' Matt Barnes after arrest; he calls it a 'joke'
By Ben Golliver
Matt Barnes avoided jail time with a "no contest" plea following a July arrest, but he didn't avoid an NBA-mandated timeout.
The league office announced Tuesday that the Clippers forward would be suspended one game without pay after he pleaded no contest to "resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer" during an incident that originally had him booked on a felony charge for threatening a police officer. The Associated Press reported in September that Barnes was ordered to complete 30 hours of community service and attend 13 counseling sessions after he pleaded "no contest" to misdemeanor charges.
The Clippers open the 2012-13 regular season against the Grizzlies at the Staples Center on Wednesday. Barnes will miss that game.
Los Angeles has a whole bevy of wings on its roster, but not all of them are currently available. Forward Grant Hill is sidelined with a knee injury and Chauncey Billups, who generally plays off the ball, is still recovering from an Achilles injury. Barnes' absence will leave Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro with only starter Caron Butler at the 3; free-agent acquisitions Jamal Crawford and Willie Green will be available at the 2. Combo forward Lamar Odom also told ESPNLA.com on Monday that he plans to be ready for the Clippers' season opener after missing time during camp due to a bone bruise in his knee.
Barnes, 32, was reportedly recruited to the Clippers by All-Star guard Chris Paul after he spent the previous two seasons with the crosstown Lakers. Prior to signing with the Clippers in September, Barnes said that he was looking to move past his arrest.
"Hopefully we'll get this arrest situation out of the way so I can go ahead and move forward with my career," he told TMZ.com in an August interview. Barnes, a physical defender known for his high-energy style and willingness to play mind games, averaged 7.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 22.9 minutes per game last season.