Earlier today, The Big Lead pointed out that, on an episode of ESPN’s TrueHoop podcast on Wednesday, ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst revealed that Matt Barnes wasn't the first NBA player who had to deal with rumors about Derek Fisher dating his significant other. Windhorst casually mentioned that former Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. was also forced to address a rumor once about how he was dating the same woman as Fisher.

“Correct me if I’m wrong," he said, "but Tim Hardaway Jr. had to go on the record to discuss whether he and Derek Fisher were involved with the same woman. I’m fairly certain he had to go on the record and said he had to deal with that. So it wasn’t just Matt Barnes.”

That came as a surprise to just about everyone because, to the best of our knowledge, Hardaway Jr.—who was traded to the Hawks last June—had never addressed any such rumor.

But as it turns out, Hardaway Jr. did hear a rumor about Fisher and his girlfriend earlier this season. New York Daily News reporter Stefan Bondy just published a report about Fisher’s recent vacation with Gloria Govan and, in it, he revealed that Hardaway Jr. was well aware of a rumor regarding the then-Knicks coach and his girlfriend. He didn’t have a whole lot to say when he was asked about the rumor, but he did say that his girlfriend denied it when he asked her about it.

“I’ve seen those,” he told reporters early in the season. “No reaction over here. I know all those are lies. They are going to do whatever they can, especially here in New York [with the media]. So I am not even worried about that. I had a talk with my girlfriend. If you ask me, it is not true at all. I am completely positive with her judgment and what she said.”

It’s unclear why this quote didn’t surface until now (maybe because, back before everything that happened between Fisher, Barnes, and Govan, the idea of Fisher dating an NBA player's significant other sounded ridiculous?), but it’s pretty amazing that Hardaway Jr. even had to address the rumor at one point in time. Stay tuned for more details, because now that this is out there, something tells us there's probably more to come.

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[via New York Daily News]