The Kings had hoped they found their Small Forward of the future last February when they traded Zach Randolph’s expiring contract and Justin Jackson to Dallas for Harrison Barnes. Barnes was a good fit with the Kings, and after a slow start ended up averaging 14.3 points on 45.5% from the field and 40.8% from three in 28 games. Now Sacramento will have to determine just how much they like Barnes because he has opted out of his player option and is an unrestricted free agent.
Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes is declining his $25.1M player option and becoming an unrestricted free agent, his agent, Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports, tells ESPN. Barnes, 27, and Kings are open to exploring a new deal together this summer, sources said.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 18, 2019
This has always been a possibility and it’s likely something the Kings have anticipated. The question now becomes how much to pay Barnes to stick around on a long term deal. Talented wing players are the most expensive commodity in the NBA right now, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that we could see the Kings offering him something in the realm of $80-$100 million over the next four years.
Given how much Barnes has participated in Kings events this summer, including going to India, I’d be very surprised if he wasn’t back on a new deal shortly after free agency begins. But should he walk and go elsewhere, the Kings will have a lot of cap space and the trade to get him will still have been worth it due to the low cost in acquiring him. This is shaping up to be quite an interesting summer in the NBA with the league seemingly wide open for the first time in several years.