BARNES-FISHER FLAP SPARKS NBA INQUIRY
The NBA is investigating the incident between Grizzlies forward Matt Barnes and Knicks coach Derek Fisher, a situation Barnes said is 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 Thursday after the Grizzlies' morning shootaround, noting the league's investigation of the incident in California. "And I'm here to play basketball, so there won't be any distractions."
The veteran 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," he said.
The incident occurred Saturday while Fisher, a teammate of Barnes' with the Lakers (2010-12), was attending a gathering at the home of Barnes' estranged wife, Gloria Govan, according to multiple reports.
At Knicks' practice Thursday in Greenburgh, N.Y., Fisher wouldn't comment when asked if he might press charges. He said he has talked directly with both management and his players.
Coach Dave Joerger told reporters 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," Barnes said.
WNBA: Minnesota takes on Indiana tonight (8, ESPN2) in Indianapolis with the best-of-five Finals tied at 1. (All-WNBA team, 4C)
Messi facing trial in tax fraud case
Lionel Messi will stand trial in Spain on three counts of tax fraud and could be sentenced to nearly two years in prison if found guilty. A Spanish judge rejected a request to clear the Barcelona player of wrongdoing and decided to charge him and his father with tax fraud. Prosecutors had said Messi — a four-time world player of the year — was not fully aware of his father's unlawful activities and should not have been charged. They're accused of defrauding Spain's tax office of $4.6 million from 2007-09.
LIVERPOOL: Juergen Klopp was hired as manager of the English Premier League club. Klopp left Borussia Dortmund at the end of last season after guiding the club to two German league titles and a Champions League final.
TENNIS: Novak Djokovic matched Jimmy Connors for the second-longest unbeaten record at an ATP Tour event, beating Chinese wild card Zhang Ze 6-2, 6-1 to improve to 26-0 at the China Open. Djokovic has won five titles at the China Open in the past six years, excluding 2011, when he didn't play. He now only trails Rafael Nadal's 31-0 start at the French Open (2005-09).
GYMNASTICS: Simone Biles, 18, will vie for a third straight world title as she leads the U.S. women's team at the world championships in Scotland this month. Defending Olympic all-around champ Gabrielle Douglas and three-time Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman also are part of the group that will try to extend the Americans' dominance.