SALT LAKE CITY -- An NBA spokesman told ESPN.com's Marc Stein that the league's review of the incident "confirmed that it was not an interaction with Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver" that led to Matt Barnes' fine.
The Los Angeles Clippers forward was assessed a $25,000 punishment for directing inappropriate language toward a fan, the league announced Tuesday. The incident occurred with 4:28 remaining in the second quarter of the Clippers' 120-100 win over the Suns at US Airways Center.
"You can ask him what he said. He said enough to make me respond. We don't like each other. He didn't like me when I was there and I didn't like him when I was there, so it is what it is."Clippers F Matt Barnes,
on Suns owner Robert Sarver
Barnes reacted to the fine later Tuesday, implicating Sarver as the instigator. He expanded on those tweets at Clippers shootaround Wednesday ahead of their game against the Utah Jazz.
"As players we're obviously held to a higher standard, I've had to watch myself on that, but I think if we're held to high standards, owners should be held to even higher standards," Barnes said. "When an elder says something derogatory toward me and I respond, I thought it would stay there. It's one grown man saying something to another grown man. I'm not going to run and tell, but the fact that he or someone around him told [the league] it's crazy."
Barnes contends the fine came as a result of his interaction with Sarver, but admitted he was engaging with other fans near the Clippers' bench, as well.
"I was talking to a 13-year-old boy and his dad," Barnes said. "We were kind of going back and forth and there were two guys behind them that were heckling me the whole game. I was laughing and messing with them. I had a bad game shooting and they were just on me. I said something to the little boy because someone said you were fined $25,000, and I was like, 'That was a lot of money, huh?' And he looked at me and smiled. Then the owner [Sarver] said what he said, and I responded. You can ask him what he said. He said enough to make me respond. We don't like each other. He didn't like me when I was there and I didn't like him when I was there, so it is what it is."
Barnes, who played with the Suns during the 2008-09 season, said he has a history with Sarver and that this was not the first time he was heckled by him during a game.
"He's said some stuff about me before that fueled a few of my old teammates that were there from the Clippers," Barnes said. "I've never liked him and as soon as he said that to me, it got me going, but if players are held to a high standard, owners should be held to an even higher standard.
"I'm not even blaming him. If you're going to say something like that to me, expect me to respond, but don't go run and tell when I do go say something."
Barnes was also fined $25,000 last month for kicking a water bottle into the stands in Washington and directing profane language at fans.
"As long as I'm not cussing at the fans, it's a part of the game," he said. "When you pay the money to get that close to us who doesn't want to say that I talked to Matt or I talked to Chris [Paul] or I talked to Blake [Griffin] during the game. I think that's part of the excitement of the game.
"Kicking a paper Gatorade cup and responding to an owner, I've never seen anything like these last two $50,000 I've been fined for in the past month. In Washington they said I kicked a water bottle, but it was a small Gatorade cup that went about three feet."
Barnes joked that if he continues to get fined he might have to look for a second job in the offseason.
"I'm going to get a summer job at my kid's school working as a yard dude," Barnes said.