While the Sacramento Kings are in the middle of an exciting offseason, the biggest worry has been finding a Harrison Barnes replacement. Well, what if Harrison Barnes does not leave? The 31-year-old pending unrestricted free agent might be on his way out but might not be.
Recent reports suggest the Sacramento Kings have had discussions with Harrison Barnes about a potential extension in the last few weeks, but those conversations have settled down.
Harrison Barnes returning to Sacramento for cheap would be great, but if he is expecting a $20 million salary again, he can find a new home. The 2023 NBA free agency class is top-heavy, making Harrison Barnes one of the most prominent free agents this year. He is potentially a hot target for any playoff teams needing a forward of his caliber.
Following the draft night trade that sent Richaun Holmes and the 24th pick to the Dallas Mavericks, the Kings have the most cap space of any 2023 playoff team and could be big spenders in free agency. While the Kings will likely hunt for an upgrade at the forward position, that does not mean Harrison Barnes’ career in Sacramento is over.
The Sacramento Kings should continue discussions to re-sign Harrison Barnes.
Harrison Barnes could return to Sacramento as a bench piece and might take a pay cut to stay with the team. The Kings need to upgrade the position to become contenders, but bringing back Barnes on a discount to help out the bench would be an ideal scenario.
There are some free agent targets that the Kings should target rather than bring Barnes back. The most prominent are Draymond Green, Kyle Kuzma, and Jerami Grant. The Kings’ depth chart heading into free agency lacks wing depth, which is where it would be ideal to bring in a proven star. EuroLeague MVP Sasha Vezenkov is expected to sign with Sacramento soon, which will help with the wing depth issue, while the Kings do not have to be big spenders to get him.
Harrison Barnes has passed the prime of his career. While the 11-year veteran still has many games ahead of him, falling out of the Kings’ rotation at the peak of the playoffs was a sign that his time is winding down. If the Kings want to compete for an NBA championship, Harrison Barnes cannot return to Sacramento as a starting forward, but we would welcome him back to lead the bench.