Harrison Barnes

Mike Brown Talks Kings, Fox, Sabonis, Monk, Murray

Second-year Kings head coach Mike Brown is aware that the club is heading into the 2023/24 season with serious expectations for the first time in a good long while. As the reigning Coach of the Year tells Mike Scotto of HoopsHype in an extensive new interview, his team is hoping to improve on last season’s 48-34 record. Sacramento did secure the West’s No. 3 seed, but was ousted in a seven-game, first-round playoff slugfest by the Warriors.

“We’re a good team,” Brown said. “We established that narrative with our play last year and our connectivity and work throughout the summer. Now, we’ve got to continue building on that. We’ve got to go from good to great. Our expectations aren’t just to make the playoffs again. We know that’s who we are. Our expectations are to go from good to great and be an NBA champion, just like every other team out there, that’s competing as hard as we feel like we’re going to compete this year.”

The whole conversation is well worth reading in full. Below are just a few key highlights.

On winning his second Coach of the Year award in 2023:

“The reality to me is I have a fantastic staff, and you appreciate their work. At the end of the day, I recognize greatness, and I truly mean that our players stepped up, and everybody in the organization did too. I’m not just talking about my coaching staff. I have at least four or five guys on my staff right now who are ready to be head coaches. I’ve been saying that. I’ve tried to tell people about Jordi Fernandez. Others on my staff are ready to be head coaches right now.”

“I recognize how blessed, fortunate, and lucky I am to have not just a great coaching staff but a great medical staff, and a great performance and conditioning staff. I love the guys in the front office, ticket sales, community relations, and (COO) Matina Kolokotronis. To see the vertical and horizontal levels of trust we have with all the levels in the organization, in my opinion, showed itself in the best possible way with me being named the unanimous Coach of the Year because I know I didn’t do it by myself.”

On the chemistry between All-Stars De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis:

“Those two guys have to continue taking leaps forward, but part of the reason why we brought so many guys back is because I firmly believe in order to have a winning culture at the highest level, you have to have a core of guys that you believe in and are able to play together year after year so that connectivity can grow to an insurmountable level. This is our first year of trying to bring our guys back to establish that core, so that means everybody we bring back has to elevate their game. Keegan Murray, Kevin Huerter and Harrison Barnes all have to elevate their game, especially knowing the way we like to play on both ends of the floor.”

On Malik Monk‘s shot at Sixth Man of the Year honors:

“He has a chance. Malik Monk is one of the most talented guys I’ve been around. He’s not 6-foot-7, but if he was, he’d be All-NBA. He’s that talented. It’s going to be up to him what he wants to be. I thought last year, coming in, his work ethic and his focus were pretty good. Just like how everyone else can help us improve internally to help us become a better team, Malik can, too. His talent level is there. Now, he’s got to be locked in 24/7, 365 days a year, when it comes to hoops. If he is, and he doesn’t take anything for granted, he’s in great shape and locked in by playing every possession, the sky’s the limit for him. He can shoot the three. He’s got a medium (mid-range) game. He’s one of the best I’ve seen in pick-and-rolls.”

On the growth of second-year forward Keegan Murray:

“If you think about it, last year, the way we played with our pace and our body and ball movement, he got a lot of his shots off the catch-and-shoot. Now, we expect Keegan to bring the ball up if he gets a rebound and initiate the offense, be a little selfish, and go get his shot, which you saw a couple of times throughout the preseason and when he played in Kings Summer League action in Sacramento. Not only that, but offensive rebounding. He’s worked hard on his body. Defensively, don’t get bullied… Be able to guard the ball in pick-and-roll situations. These are some areas, like going to get shots off the bounce that Keegan worked on that we’ve been fortunate to see throughout the offseason. Now, we expect him to do that come game time.”

Kings Notes: Barnes, Vezenkov, Murray, Second Unit

Harrison Barnes has played for the Kings the last four-and-a-half seasons and he’ll be around even longer after signing a three-year, $54MM extension. After being subjected to so many trade rumors, Barnes is appreciative of his longevity with the organization, he told Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

“I’m humbled and honored. Because there hasn’t been a whole lot of stability here,” he said. “But to be able to build, to see an entire process go through in the same place and say I was part of a successful rebuild, it’s great. I was part of a rebuild in Dallas and wasn’t able to see that go through. But to actually see it through here and hopefully much further, it’s special.”

We have more on the Kings:

  • Sasha Vezenkov scored 12 points in 11 minutes of second half action in a 112-99 loss to the Raptors during the team’s preseason opener Sunday, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee notes. Vezenkov signed a three-year, $20MM contract with Sacramento after winning the EuroLeague MVP award with Olympiacos last season. He’s looking to break into the second unit.
  • Sacramento is looking for Keegan Murray to expand his offensive game in his second season. There were signs of that on Sunday, according to Hunter Patterson of The Athletic. Murray, who attempted almost twice as many threes as twos during his rookie season, looked to create more off the bounce in the preseason opener.
  • Davion Mitchell and Malik Monk, as usual, were the first players off the bench, Patterson adds. Newcomers JaVale McGee and Chris Duarte rounded out the second unit with Trey Lyles, who re-signed with the club this summer.

Warriors Rumors: Green, DiVincenzo, Kuminga, Poole, Paul, Thompson

The Warriors are optimistic about re-signing Draymond Green and have been discussing a three-year deal with his representatives, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype and Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Slater says trading for Chris Paul was a win-now move that the team wouldn’t have made without a level of confidence that Green will return. He projects a new contract for Green starting close to the range of the $27.6MM player option that he declined, but adds that every $1MM the Warriors can save is important because of their inflated tax bill.

There may not have been a realistic market for Green in free agency, Scotto adds. The Kings were floated as a possibility because their head coach is former Warriors assistant Mike Brown, but Scotto points out that they’re hoping to sign Kyle Kuzma and had to work out a new deal with Harrison Barnes. The Pistons and Grizzlies were also mentioned, but Slater states that Memphis dropped out of consideration with the Marcus Smart trade.

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Donte DiVincenzo is expected to sign elsewhere and may be able to land a non-taxpayer MLE, which would be more than twice what Golden State can offer him, according to Scotto. Sources tell C.J. Holmes of The San Franciso Chronicle that the Knicks have emerged as the favorite to land DiVincenzo, who prefers to play on the East Coast and is hoping to receive a contract starting at $9-12MM. However, Scotto isn’t convinced that DiVincenzo would be a good fit in New York considering the number of guards already on the roster.
  • The Pacers were among the teams that inquired on Jonathan Kuminga, offering mainly draft assets in return, sources tell Scotto. Slater also cites interest from the Raptors and says Golden State began asking about OG Anunoby before the trade deadline. However, Slater doesn’t believe the Warriors have been shopping Kuminga, saying the organization still has confidence in him and he’ll likely be on the team when next season begins.
  • The decision to part with Jordan Poole in the trade for Paul was necessary to unload his contract, but coach Steve Kerr welcomed the chance to move on from a player who was fourth in the league in turnovers last season and often took poor shots, Slater states. Slater envisions Paul as the leader of the second unit, helping to develop young players such as Kuminga and Moses Moody.
  • Getting rid of Poole’s contract increases the chances for a Klay Thompson extension, according to Slater. Paul’s $30MM salary for 2024/25 is non-guaranteed, so more long-term money is available for Thompson. Slater doesn’t believe the Warriors have started negotiating a salary with Thompson yet, but he expects the veteran guard will have to accept a reduction from his current $43MM.

Kings Sign Harrison Barnes To Three-Year Extension

10:00pm: The extension is official, per NBA.com’s transaction log.

7:11pm: The Kings will keep veteran forward Harrison Barnes off the free agent market, having reached an agreement on a three-year, $54MM contract extension, agent Jeff Schwartz tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

The deal will include a 10% trade kicker, reports Sam Amick of The Athletic (via Twitter).

Barnes has been a full-time starter for the Kings since they acquired him from Dallas at the 2019 trade deadline. The 31-year-old has appeared in 317 games since then, averaging 15.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 2.3 APG with a .472/.387/.827 shooting line in 34.0 minutes per contest.

Barnes signed a four-year, $94MM contract as a free agent in 2016 and got $85MM for four years in 2019. Given his age and the fact that so few teams had cap room this summer, it makes sense that he’d have to settle for a slightly lesser annual salary.

However, it’s also not a surprise that he’ll receive well above the mid-level, since his performance hasn’t noticeably dropped off in recent years. Barnes had a disappointing playoff showing vs. Golden State, but was as solid as ever during the 2022/23 regular season, with averages of 15.0 PPG and 4.5 RPG on .473/.374/.847 shooting. He was also one of just 10 NBA players not to miss a single game this year.

The Pacers were reportedly among the teams believed to have interest in Barnes, but he’ll officially sign a new deal with Sacramento before reaching free agency, since he remained extension-eligible until June 30.

Barnes’ new contract will cut into the Kings’ projected cap room, but the team should still have approximately $18MM in space, according to Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

As Gozlan observes, Sacramento could use that room to give Domantas Sabonis a raise via a contract renegotiation-and-extension while still having enough left to go after another rotation player in free agency. The club would also have the room exception – projected to get a bump to $7.7MM – once it uses up its cap room.

The Kings would also have the ability to operate as an over-the-cap team, which would allow them to access their full $12.4MM mid-level exception and $4.5MM bi-annual exception, but would remove the option of a Sabonis renegotiation.

Free Agent Rumors: Brown, Mavs, Lakers, Gordon, Yurtseven, Kuzma, Barnes

Unrestricted free agent Nuggets forward Bruce Brown plans to meet with the Mavericks at the start of free agency on Friday, reports Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link).

Many teams appear primed to pursue Brown, according to MacMahon (Twitter link), who anticipates his market to be around the $12.4MM non-taxpayer mid-level exception, if not higher. The Lakers are one suitor said to be confident about their chances. MacMahon adds that Brown may be open to taking a discount to return to the champs, who only have his Non-Bird rights available, which would cap them at a $7.8MM offer for next season.

The 6’4″ vet proved invaluable as a versatile, defense-first sixth man during Denver’s 16-4 run to the title this spring. Across 20 playoff games off the bench, he averaged 12.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.1 SPG and 0.5 BPG.

Here are more of the latest free agent rumors from around the league:

  • After opting not to retain shooting guard Malik Beasley and center Mohamed Bamba, the Lakers now project to remain well below the $172MM tax apron for 2023/24, which will enable them to use the full $12.4MM non-taxpayer mid-level exception, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN, suggesting that Brown and Brook Lopez will be among Los Angeles’ targets. According to McMenamin (via Twitter), the Lakers may also consider adding more than one player with its mid-level exception money. In that scenario, point guard Dennis Schröder and shooting guard Eric Gordon could be targets, sources tell McMemamin.
  • Gordon is looking to land with a contender that will have a defined rotation gig for his services, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Beyond the Lakers, sources tell The Athletic that the Grizzlies, Timberwolves, Bucks, Suns, and Trail Blazers have some interest.
  • After declining to tender a qualifying offer to center Omer Yurtseven, the Heat don’t appear to be focused on trying to re-sign him to a minimum-salary deal, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). “We’re grateful we got a chance to be there,” agent Keith Glass said, per Jackson. “We’ll try to find a place that values him and helps him reach his potential.”
  • Free agent power forward Kyle Kuzma appears more likely to end up with the Rockets than the Kings, but Sacramento shouldn’t be ruled out entirely as a Kuzma landing spot, per James Ham of Kings Beat. Sources inform Ham that the Kings’ own incumbent free agent starting power forward, Harrison Barnes, is hoping to earn a deal that pays him $20MM annually.

Stein’s Latest: Barnes, Reaves, Rockets, Harden, Irving, More

The Pacersinterest in signing Max Strus may be an indication that free agent forward Harrison Barnes will remain with the Kings, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack column.

Stein reported recently that Indiana was interested in adding Barnes, who has huge supporters in Rick Carlisle, his former coach in Dallas, and Tyrese Haliburton, his ex-teammate in Sacramento. However, the Pacers only have $30MM in cap space, and Stein assumes Barnes is no longer in their plans if they’re preparing an offer for Strus in the $16MM range.

Sacramento radio host Carmichael Dave tweets that Barnes’ return to the Kings is “picking up major steam,” but the final details of a new contract still have to be worked out.

Stein offers inside information on a few more free agents:

  • Even though the Lakers are reported to have significant interest in Bruce Brown, Stein believes somebody will offer the Nuggets free agent more than the mid-level exception. L.A. appears certain to match any offer for restricted free agent Austin Reaves, who is eligible for nearly $102MM over four years from a rival team. A source told Stein that it should be considered an “automatic match.”
  • Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks are increasingly expected to commit to the Rockets shortly after the start of free agency, according to Stein, who says there would be “legitimate leaguewide surprise” if it doesn’t happen. Stein hears that Brooks will likely get a two-year contract with an annual salary in the $14-16MM range, while Houston is prepared to make a two-year, maximum-salary offer of $83.6MM for VanVleet. Stein states that the Rockets are confident new coach Ime Udoka can maximize Brooks’ game while limiting his excesses, while VanVleet is viewed as a leader and culture setter for a young roster.
  • The “prevailing expectation” is that Sixers guard James Harden and Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving will re-sign with their current teams, according to Stein. He added that it remains difficult to project the length and dollar value of their new contracts as of Thursday morning.
  • According to Stein, multiple rival teams expect Andre Drummond to join the Mavericks, who added two new centers last week by drafting Dereck Lively II and trading for Richaun Holmes. Sources tell Stein that free agent Christian Wood and JaVale McGee are no longer in the team’s plans, though McGee has one more guaranteed year left on his contract, along with a $6MM player option for 2024/25.
  • Free agent guard Damion Lee is considered likely to sign a new deal with the Suns, Stein adds.

Free Agent Rumors: G. Williams, LeVert, Harden, VanVleet, Barnes

Even after the acquisition of Kristaps Porzingis, the door hasn’t been closed on a possible new contract for the Celtics and restricted free agent forward Grant Williams, sources tell Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com.

According to Bulpett, the Celtics and Williams have a good relationship and are interested in beginning negotiations with one another to see if a deal is financially feasible. If those discussions aren’t fruitful, the two sides could pivot to exploring sign-and-trade scenarios that would land Williams elsewhere and get Boston some sort of asset, even if it’s only a trade exception.

For his part, Williams said on Tuesday that he “absolutely” would be interested in re-signing with the Celtics while also acknowledging that the team’s payroll and the realities of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement could make it challenging, per Jay King of The Athletic.

“Cap-wise, with the new CBA, I think all these teams, as we see, are trying to get the trades in and the contracts done prior to the CBA truly being enacted,” Williams said. “So you’re going to see a lot of all-in pushes. So if the Celtics decide to do that, I think that’s kind of how it will work out (with him re-signing in free agency). If not, it helps them financially a little bit, but it definitely changes the numbers as you look around.”

Here are a few more notes and rumors on free agency from around the NBA:

  • The Cavaliers will likely offer free agent swingman Caris LeVert a deal in the range of $15-18MM per year, sources tell Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (subscription required). As Fedor explains, the Cavs’ goal is to find the sweet spot where they’ll be able to outbid rival mid-level offers for LeVert while leaving themselves with enough breathing room below the tax line to use their own full mid-level exception.
  • Appearing on ESPN’s Get Up on Wednesday, Brian Windhorst reiterated that James Harden seems more likely to sign with the Sixers than the Rockets as a free agent, according to Adam Zagoria of NJ.com. “(The Rockets) are out there aggressively chasing other free agents,” Windhorst said. “They are not acting as if they think they are getting James Harden.”
  • Despite reports that Fred VanVleet will be a top target for the Rockets in free agency, Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca (Twitter link) has spoken to several people around the league who are skeptical that the point guard will end up in Houston. The Raptors remain confident that they’ll be able to re-sign VanVleet, according to Lewenberg (Twitter link), who says the team’s plan is retain both VanVleet and Jakob Poeltl.
  • After reporting earlier this week that the Kings‘ contract extension talks with Harrison Barnes had “gone quiet,”  James Ham of The Kings Beat (Twitter link) hears from a league source that the two sides have reopened those discussions. Barnes is eligible for an extension until June 30. If he doesn’t have a new deal in place by then, the veteran forward would become an unrestricted free agent.

John Collins Trade Notes, Reactions

It’s easy to understand from a financial perspective why trading John Collins to Utah in a salary-dump deal is the right move for the Hawks, who no longer project to be a taxpayer in 2023/24, writes Jeff Schultz of The Athletic. Still, Schultz views the move as an embarrassing culmination of three years of trade rumors, which began even before Collins signed a five-year, $125MM contract with the team in 2021.

Certainly, if the Hawks had moved Collins a year or two earlier, they could’ve brought back more value from an on-court perspective. As Shams Charania of The Athletic writes, Atlanta had an opportunity to acquire Harrison Barnes from the Kings in a Collins deal last June, but decided against it. The Hawks will instead acquire Rudy Gay and a second-round pick from the Jazz.

Collins’ exit will give young players like Jalen Johnson and AJ Griffin the opportunity to play larger roles going forward, according to Schultz, who adds that the Hawks will continue to explore the trade market. Although Clint Capela and De’Andre Hunter are viewed as possible candidates to be dealt, don’t expect Dejounte Murray to go anywhere. Schultz says a number of teams have inquired on Murray, but GM Landry Fields and head coach Quin Snyder are both fans of the veteran guard.

Here’s more on the Collins trade:

  • Gay is unlikely to actually suit up for the Hawks next season, per Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (subscription required). People familiar with the situation tell Williams that the team is expected to try to trade Gay. If no favorable deals emerge, he’ll likely be waived.
  • There’s no shame in admitting that the Collins trade is a salary dump, says ESPN’s Bobby Marks (YouTube link), pointing out that the move will give the Hawks flexibility for future deals with players like Saddiq Bey and Onyeka Okongwu.
  • Tony Jones of The Athletic takes a look at what Collins will bring to the Jazz and how adding him to the mix will affect the rest of the roster. Based on the current make-up of the frontcourt, it appears that Collins, Lauri Markkanen, Walker Kessler, and Kelly Olynyk will have major roles, with others – including Taylor Hendricks – vying for playing time, says Jones.
  • The Jazz‘s acquisition of Collins signals that the front office is willing to accelerate the team’s rebuilding process rather than simply continuing to stockpile draft picks and build through the draft, writes Gordon Monson of The Salt Lake Tribune (subscription required).
  • Zach Harper of The Athletic is far more bullish on the Jazz‘s side of the Collins deal, giving Utah a grade of A for the move while assigning the Hawks an “F-plus.”

Kings Rumors: Barnes, FA Targets, Kuzma, Lyles, Sabonis

Harrison Barnes‘ departure from Sacramento this offseason appears increasingly likely, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who identifies the Pacers as a “strong contender” to sign the Kings‘ free agent forward.

As previously reported, Barnes’ connections to Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton and head coach Rick Carlisle could make Indiana an appealing landing spot for him. Fischer says Barnes is close with Haliburton, who played with him in Sacramento, and has support from Carlisle, who coached him in Dallas.

Here’s more on the Kings:

  • Sacramento’s decision to trade Richaun Holmes and the No. 24 pick in Thursday’s draft to Dallas in order to generate additional cap room has rival executives speculating that the Kings have a specific move in mind for free agency, says Fischer. While Khris Middleton and Draymond Green have been floated as possible targets, those veterans are considered likely to remain with the Bucks and Warriors, respectively, according to Fischer, who hears that the Trail Blazers and Pistons may nonetheless make a run at Green.
  • The name gaining the most traction as a possible Kings free agent target is Kyle Kuzma, according to Fischer. The Jazz‘s trade for John Collins should take a rival suitor for Kuzma off the market, Fischer explains, since Utah is unlikely to pursue another significant frontcourt piece in free agency after adding Collins.
  • Besides using their $33MM+ in cap room to pursue Kuzma, the Kings will also likely look to bring back free agent forward Trey Lyles and renegotiate and extend Domantas Sabonis‘ contract, Fischer reports, estimating that a new deal for Sabonis could be worth in the neighborhood of $120MM over four years.

Western Notes: Hachimura, H. Barnes, Mavs, Grizzlies

Lakers forward Rui Hachimura has decided not play for Japan in this year’s World Cup, according to a press release from Japan Basketball. Hachimura apologized to fans in his home country and called it a “very difficult decision,” but explained that he wants to focus on resolving his contract situation and preparing for the coming NBA season after the Lakers made a deep playoff run this spring.

Hachimura will be a restricted free agent later this week, assuming the Lakers issue him a qualifying offer, which is expected. Although the 25-year-old will have the ability to sign an offer sheet with a rival suitor, reporting in recent weeks has indicated that Los Angeles fully intends to bring him back, either by matching an offer sheet or by directly negotiating a new deal with him.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • The Kings have discussed a possible contract extension with Harrison Barnes within the last few weeks, a league source tells James Ham of The Kings Beat. However, those conversations “went quiet,” according to Ham. Barnes remains extension-eligible until June 30 before officially becoming a free agent.
  • Heading into last Thursday’s draft, there was speculation that the Mavericks would trade their No. 10 overall pick for a veteran. Instead, they ended up with a pair of first-rounders at No. 12 and No. 24, which they used on Dereck Lively and Olivier-Maxence Prosper. They also swapped out Davis Bertans for Richaun Holmes as part of their draft-night dealings. “We feel like we killed the draft,” GM Nico Harrison said, according to Tim Cato of The Athletic, who takes a closer look at how Thursday night’s moves set up the team for the rest of the offseason.
  • International reporting suggests that the Grizzlies are attempting to hire former NBA player and FC Barcelona coach Sarunas Jasikevicius as an assistant. According to Home of Glory (Twitter link; hat tip to Sportando), Memphis offered Jasikevicius a three-year deal worth an estimated $6MM.