Matt Barnes Doesn't Count His 2017 Warriors Championship Ring: 'Got a Free Ride'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2020

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 12: Matt Barnes of the Golden State Warriors poses for a portrait with the Larry O'Brien Trophy after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Five of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 12, 2017 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Matt Barnes said he considers the 2017 NBA championship he won with the Golden State Warriors a "free ride" because of his small role on the star-studded team.

Barnes, who originally made the comment last Thursday on his All The Smoke podcast with Stephen Jackson, elaborated on his stance Wednesday on ESPN's Get Up:

The 40-year-old UCLA product played for nine organizations during his journeyman 14-year NBA career, which ended with the Warriors championship in 2017. It was his only title.

Although Barnes spent his entire career as a role player, his usage was low even by those standards during the Dubs' dominant title run. He averaged just 5.1 minutes across 12 appearances in the playoffs after recovering from an ankle injury.

Even if healthy for the entire postseason, he would have struggled to receive consistent minutes on a roster led by Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala.

Barnes explained on Get Up he often accepted less money in contracts over the years to put himself in position to contend for championships, but he had a hard time accepting the Warriors ring because of his minor impact on the team, which was mostly limited to veteran leadership in the playoffs.

In all, the California native averaged 8.2 points and 4.6 rebounds across 929 regular-season appearances. He also played in 95 postseason games but only reached the NBA Finals once.