Kings’ Harrison Barnes To Decline 2019/20 Option

Kings forward Harrison Barnes has decided to turn down his player option for the 2019/20 season, agent Jeff Schwartz tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Rather than earning a $25,102,512 salary for next season, per Basketball Insiders, Barnes will reach the open market as an unrestricted free agent.

Barnes’ decision doesn’t necessarily mean that his time in Sacramento is over. The Kings will still hold his Bird rights, so they could offer him up to five years and there are no limitations on the salary they could offer up to the maximum. Wojnarowski hears from sources that the two sides are open to exploring a new deal together.

Still, Barnes will have the opportunity to consider other suitors in free agency this summer, if he so chooses. His decision is somewhat surprising since he’s unlikely to match his $25MM option salary for 2019/20, but he should receive offers that comfortably exceed that total number over multiple years, as his ability to make outside shots and guard multiple positions will appeal to NBA teams.

Barnes, 27, was traded from the Mavericks to the Kings at February’s trade deadline in the third year of the four-year, maximum-salary contract he signed with Dallas back in 2016. For the season, he recorded 16.4 PPG and 4.7 RPG with a .420/.395/.824 shooting line in 77 games (32.9 MPG).

As I noted when I previewed the Kings’ cap situation this spring, the team can create up to about $62.6MM in cap room with Barnes off its books for 2019/20. However, Sacramento hasn’t typically been a popular destination for top free agents, and the Kings acquired Barnes in the hopes that he’d be their answer at small forward.

It could be in both sides’ best interests to work out a new agreement once free agency begins, but we’ll have to wait to see how strong that mutual interest is. If Barnes doesn’t return to Sacramento, the club will have plenty of flexibility to pursue his replacement.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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22 thoughts on “Kings’ Harrison Barnes To Decline 2019/20 Option

  1. i hate my father

    Could have something in the works on a long term deal at lower AAV

  2. JonnyLucas

    I’m a little bit surprised at this one. He’s only 26… one more year wouldn’t have hurt his chances at a multi year deal. He’s never going to get 25 mill… probably won’t get that for two seasons. Strange.

    • reece

      He could make more with the Kings over with a multi-year deal. A multi-year deal also gives a player peace of mind, in a sense. Kings definitely have the money to pay him.

  3. Lot of guys declining options in a loaded FA year. Kinda… dumb. Next year’s FA is a graveyard.

    • KnicksFanCavsFan

      Really, it’s not. Most of the top FA are looking at maybe 5 markets/teams. A guy like Barnes will get plenty of play from small market teams looking for a wing that can shoot the 3 and switch on defense.

    • Raps902420

      Kinda smart actually. When the big spenders miss out on their number 1 target they tend to overpay on the second level guys so they don’t walk away from free agency empty handed. Kinda like how Barnes got $25 million in the first place lol

      • KnicksFanCavsFan

        Agreed. After Butler and Bogdanovic he’s the best SF option under 30 @ 27. Still, I likely would’ve opted in, collect the $25 mil and seek a multi year deal next year. Maybe he has a preferred location and needed to do it this off-season. There are so many back-channels to work the framework out ahead of the FA start date.

    • Also a lot of team’s with a bunch of cap space (and potential cap space) trying to get those FAs. Truth is few FAs actually move, at least most years, and certainly few max guys. Class is top heavy.

      Barnes isn’t a great player, but he is a combo F (a 3 that can cover 3’s or 4’s) and those guys are valued above their numbers, just like 4/5’s are valued below theirs. Just about supply.

      • 9 teams with current practical cap space of 33M or more. Knicks Nope, Nets Kyrie, Sixers Jimmy&Toby, Clippers Kawhi, Mavs Kemba, Pacers Russell, Hawks Nope, Kings Most Likely, Pels C

        4 with cap space of 20.8-23.8M. Bulls PG, LAL Nope, Suns PG, Magic PG/C.

        Middleton, Vucevic, Randle, Brogdon, Redick, Mirotic, Boogie, Lopez, Bojan. All looking for a home too. And that’s counting on KD and Klay returning to the Warrirors and Horford to the Celtics. Pool is crowded.

        2020 Crop is Draymond, oldheads and injury prone guys. Cap flush folks depends on this yrs moves.

    • hiflew

      Of course that also means a lot more teams with lots of cap room they have to spend this year and not nearly as many next season. Not everyone is going to get Kawhi or Durant.

  4. Meadowlark

    I wonder if there is a team he could push over the top with his skill set. A place where he might be willing to take a salary cut, a place where a guy with his attitude and respected work ethic would be best put to use. Hmmm. Where’s the right fit?

  5. specialfriedrice

    Maybe Barnes doesn’t like money???
    I just don’t see him making $25 mil per year on his new contract…he is in the 4/60 or 70 range tops imo…

    • KnicksFanCavsFan

      well that’s the obvious part. he and his agent are likely aware too. there are other reasons ppl change jobs. maybe he’s got a lingering injury he feels he might struggle thru next season? if he gets a 4/$50 mil guaranteed contact then he’s got more money than what hr would’ve post injury? maybe he prefers to play in a different location. or to join a place with an nba friend? once you’ve made hundreds of millions 1/$25 mil vs 3/$40 isn’t a big deal.

    • hiflew

      But that is still $60 million guaranteed vs $25 million guaranteed. Harrison Barnes is not Kevin Durant. He knows that he like most players are just one injury away from being on the mid level exception list. Just ask DeMarcus Cousins.

      This is probably Barnes’s last big payday and I can’t really fault him for not risking it.

  6. x%sure

    Should have taken the 25 & been a FA next year with little competition.
    He might know he’s on the decline… He might not know he was never that good.

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