Matt Barnes unsure of Baron Davis' status in Warriors exhibition
With all the excitement surrounding the exhibition game Saturday between the current Warriors team and the 2007 team, there's one key player who may not be there.
Lakers forward Matt Barnes is sponsoring the game, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the San Jose State events center, and will donate a portion of the proceeds to Athletes vs. Cancer, which raises funds for local screenings. But he conceded in a phone interview he's been unable to convince Davis, whom Barnes views as the "leader on that team," to play.
"I'm pretty sure he's not going to play," Barnes said of Davis. "But I'm pretty sure he'll be there. I'm going at him hard from all angles. I don't think he'll play, but I think he'll be there."
Former Warriors Stephen Jackson also won't be there because he involved in various rap gigs this off-season. But that hasn't soured Barnes' mood surrounding the event. The game features the current Warriors team (Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, David Lee, Dorrell Wright, Lou Amundson, Charlie Bell, Jeremy Bell, Jeremy Lin and Anthony Morrow) and former Warriors (Jason Richardson, Ike Diogu, Al Harrington, Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison, C.J. Watson and himself). Barnes believes the game will heighten nostalgia for the 2007 team that upset the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs. And he hopes it will hype the current team that has new ownership (Joe Lacob and Peter Guber), a new head coach (Mark Jackson) and a new consultant (former Lakers General Manager Jerry West) to oversee a talented back court in Ellis and Curry.
But Barnes has struggled convincing Davis to commit to playing after unspecified Twitter messages indicated Davis would play before Barnes reached out to him that he was organizing the event.
"I had to convince a few guys afterwards that I've taken the game over and I have my team running it now," Barnes said. "It's been easier to convince some more than others. But at the end of the day, I think [Davis] will be there."
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Photo: Matt Barnes: Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times