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  • Matt Esposito

Harrison Barnes Stays With the Sacramento Kings

Flurry Sports

What’s the deal?

Sam Amick provided the most significant tidbits about this contract, claiming that Barnes’ $85 million deal declines over each of its four years. The combo forward proved the decision to opt into free agency was a wise one. Furthermore, these regressing contracts are attractive should the time come for the Kings to sell high on Barnes.

What does Barnes bring to the team?

The former Tar Heel played some of his best basketball after a midseason trade landed him in Sacramento. Specifically, he was often tasked with guarding the other team’s best wing and he did so applaudably. Barnes combination of athleticism and strength allows him to switch onto a variety of players.

Offensively, he was even better. Barnes shot 46 percent from the field while making just over 40 percent of his triples. Although his role declined a bit from his days in Dallas, Barnes proved his utility as a floor spacer and part-time shot creator.

Although Barnes posted some of his highest true shooting and effective field goal percentages since his Golden State stint, the Kings probably brought him back for more than his offensive contributions. This team has finally completed their cultural metamorphosis from dysfunctional franchise to loveable playoff contender. Barnes’ postseason experience will be needed in this locker room.

What this move means for the Kings?

Sacramento will be vying for a playoff spot next season. Guess what? That is absolutely the right move for them. De’Aaron Fox is budding star, Buddy Hield is inarguably one of the best perimeter shooters in the game, and All-Rookie team big man Marvin Bagley III will look to build off of an impressive debut season.

Sacramento finished 9th in the West last year and nine games out of the final playoff spot. Battling to for that final seed will be a challenge. Yet, if Kawhi Leonard chooses not to sign with the Clippers then the Kings have a shot. A lineup of Fox, Hield, Barnes, Nemanja Bjelica and offseason addition Dewayne Dedmon could be one of the best 3-point shooting fives out there. When combining their 2018-19 numbers, these men collectively shot 40 percent from deep on over 22 attempts per game.

How would you grade this contract?

After first glance I wanted to give this contract a B-. I thought that $85 million for an average combo forward was pricey. Upon review, however, I moved my grade to a B+. When do the Kings land free agents with Barnes’ stature?

If anything, a Kings star use to be more likely to force their way out of Sacramento. Not anymore. If Barnes continues to play like he did last year, the Kings will be starting a slightly above-average defensive player whose spacing will maximize the talents of all those around him.

Final thoughts

I don’t know which team I would boot out but, I desperately want to pencil in the Kings for next year’s 8th seed. I’m rooting for them. Yet, with the Lakers set to make the playoffs I am not sure I can see this happening. Regardless, Sacramento will improve their 39-game win total and press for that final spot and Barnes could help continue the revival of a now charming team.

#MattEsposito #Kings #2019NBAFreeAgency #2019FreeAgentSignings

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