With Harrison Barnes entering free agency, the Sacramento Kings have two options: re-sign him or let him walk and upgrade the position. After a disappointing round-one loss in the playoffs, there is no reason the Kings should not be looking to upgrade at every possible position. Letting Barnes sign with another team and finding his replacement is the best-case scenario for this Kings team looking to make another jump next season.
Barnes has played in Sacramento for four and a half seasons, and it appears his time is coming to an end. In the first-round playoff series, Barnes played 15 minutes in Game 6 and 14 in Game 7. The Kings should look for a guy that they can play 35-40 minutes in those situations. While he got those heavy minutes in Games 1-5, he could not step up to fill a role needed on both ends of the court.
Harrison Barnes is not a bad player by any means. If Sacramento brings him back, it is not the end of the world, and I believe he still fits the team enough to help the upwards direction this team is heading. With that being said, these are the top three free agents on my wish list that I would love to see the Kings go after IF they do not re-sign Barnes.
3. Khris Middleton
Middleton is an interesting free agent because he is coming off his shortest and worst season since 2016-17. This past season for the Milwaukee Bucks, he averaged 15.1 points per game on 31.5% from three and only played 33 regular season games. After an injury-filled year, many fans are quick to count out Middleton, but what he can do when fully healthy is why I would enjoy seeing him in a Kings uniform.
In the playoffs, we saw the Middleton we all know and love. Although the Bucks got beat in round one, Middleton opened and closed the series with bangs. Having 33 points in both Game 1 and Game 5, Middleton is known for stepping up when the Bucks offense is staggered due to Giannis’ limited play style. Imagine what Middleton could do in an open offense, being able to run the floor and play off of De’Aaron Fox.
While many fear Middleton is leaving his prime, his shot creation and three-point shooting would boost the Kings offense and is an upgrade from Barnes. His current contract is worth over $30 million per year, but as his age increases and his health becomes a concern, I am sure he will expect a pay cut. If the Kings can get Middleton on a discount, then he is a great option, but if not, I would prefer to stick with Barnes.