MEMPHIS, Tenn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The NBA late Thursday was investigating an incident between Knicks coach Derek Fisher and Memphis Grizzlies forward Matt Barnes, according to Barnes.

The Grizzlies veteran on Thursday called the incident in California a “personal matter” involving someone who was a good friend at one point.

“Life happens, and being a professional athlete, you have to be able to maneuver and separate your personal life from your professional life,” Barnes said after the team’s morning shootaround. “And I’m here to play basketball, so there won’t be any distractions.”

As CBS2’s Otis Livingston reported, Barnes was asked by reporters Thursday what his relationship was with Fisher.

“We were friends,” Barnes said. “We were good friends at one point.”

When asked if he and Fisher were friends now, Barnes repeated, “We were good friends at one point.”

Barnes said in video posted by The Memphis Commercial Appeal that he has not spoken with the NBA yet.

“All the real details will come out at some time,” Barnes said.

So how did it get to that level?

The Knicks had the day off on Sunday, so Fisher told the team he was headed to Los Angeles to see his kids. But he ended up not getting back in time for Monday’s practice, with the team citing “personal reasons” for his absence.

“You go back to visit family and you come back to work on Monday morning,” Fisher said. “And that was my plan, and it didn’t work out that way for reasons that were not in my control.”

A person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the incident occurred last Saturday while Fisher was attending a gathering at the home of Barnes’ estranged wife, Gloria Govan, an actress and reality TV star. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no details were publicly released about the incident.

Sources told the New York Post a fight erupted between the two and that police were called, but Fisher, 41, left before they arrived. The sources said Barnes, 35, was incensed when he learned Fisher was romancing his wife.

Actress Gloria Govan poses on arrival for the world premiere of the film 'The Wedding Ringer' in Hollywood, California on January 6, 2015. The film opens nationwide on January 16. AFP PHOTO / Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Actress and reality TV star Gloria Govan poses on arrival for the world premiere of the film “The Wedding Ringer” in Hollywood, California on January 6, 2015. (Credit: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

Barnes, however, told ESPN he went to the house to check on his 6-year-old twin sons.

“I can’t believe people think I was some maniac driving 95 miles and listening to Tupac to go beat somebody up,” Barnes said. “No. I live 15 minutes away and I was going over to check on my kids because they seemed uncomfortable. That was my main reason for going over there.”

Fisher and Barnes were teammates with the Los Angeles Lakers from 2010-12. The Grizzlies wrapped training camp in Santa Barbara earlier last Saturday.

Memphis acquired Barnes in a draft-day trade in June. Coach Dave Joerger told reporters Thursday that the Grizzlies support Barnes, and the veteran said the support of his new team feels good.

“I explained to them what happened, and they completely understand and had my back,” said Barnes, who had a brief stint with the Knicks in 2005.

Fisher is in his second season with the Knicks after spending most of his playing career in Los Angeles, where his children remain. Fisher missed practice Monday — the team announced at the time it was for personal reasons — and led the Knicks in their exhibition opener Wednesday night against a Brazilian club team.

The NBA is investigating the incident. Fisher said he spoke to Knicks President Phil Jackson and told him everything.

Fisher also said he is not sure whether he will press charges.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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