Kevin Durant’s left knee injury has already produced a ripple effect throughout the Golden State Warriors’ roster.
Late Tuesday night, after the Warriors lost 112-108 to the Washington Wizards, ESPN reported the Warriors now plan to sign former King Matt Barnes into their 15th roster spot, not Jose Calderon. According to ESPN, the Warriors will still make good on their agreement to sign Calderon, but will then waive him to make room for Barnes.
Barnes confirmed the impending signing on Instagram on Tuesday night, saying in part: “Next to the birth of my children this is the happiest day of my life!! Coming back to where it all started! … I’m at a loss for words right now, next to the birth of my children this is the happiest day of my life!! Coming back to where it all started! #GodIsGood”
The need for Barnes over Calderon is obvious. Durant and Andre Iguodala are the team’s only true small forwards. Without Durant, the team would be down to Iguodala and rookie Patrick McCaw, playing out of position, at the 3. The addition of Barnes helps balance that out, though it strips Golden State of the third point guard it had been planning to sign.
As of late Tuesday night, there was no definitive timetable for Durant’s absence. He was scheduled for an MRI. Results are likely to emerge early Wednesday. But the signing of Barnes would seem to indicate the Warriors believe they’ll be without Durant for at least some chunk of time.
This will be Barnes second stint with the Warriors. He played for them from 2006-08, averaging 8.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in two seasons, including on the “We Believe” team that upset Dallas in the 2007 playoffs.
Barnes played the first 54 games of this season with the Kings, averaging 7.6 points in 25.3 minutes. He was released as a result of the DeMarcus Cousins trade to New Orleans.