BARNES OPTS TO LEAVE KINGS

Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Ja­son An­der­son

Kings for­ward Har­ri­son Barnes de­clined his $25.1 mil­lion player op­tion for the 2019-20 sea­son and will be­come an un­re­stricted free agent, his agent told The Sacra­mento Bee on Tues­day, but a re­turn to Sacra­mento is still pos­si­ble.

Ex­cel Sports Man­age­ment pres­i­dent Jeff Schwartz said Barnes will opt out of the fi­nal year of a four-year, $94.4 mil­lion deal he signed with the Dal­las Mav­er­icks in 2016. The Kings ac­quired Barnes, 27, on the eve of the Fe­bru­ary trade dead­line in a deal that sent Justin Jack­son and Zach Ran­dolph to Dal­las.

Both sides are open to ex­plor­ing a new deal that would keep Barnes in Sacra­mento, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wo­j­narowski, who first re­ported the story. Barnes is un­likely to com­mand as much money as a free agent this sum­mer, but a four-year deal in the range of $18 mil­lion to $20 mil­lion per year might be more ben­e­fi­cial to both par­ties.

Barnes av­er­aged 14.3 points, 5.5 re­bounds and 1.9 as­sists while shoot­ing 40.8 per­cent from 3-point range in 28 games for the Kings this sea­son. He gave them the size and length they lacked at the small for­ward po­si­tion and seemed to fit nicely with core play­ers such as De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Marvin Ba­gley III.

Kings gen­eral man­ager Vlade Di­vac knew Barnes could opt out this sum­mer, but he made the move to ac­quire him any­way, say­ing “we have in­ter­est to have him here for long time.”

“Har­ri­son Barnes is a player who can score, who plays a po­si­tion of need, some­body we’re look­ing to have a long fu­ture (with),” Di­vac said in Fe­bru­ary. “... I see him as a player who is go­ing to help us go to the next level.”

Barnes has pre­vi­ously ex­pressed a will­ing­ness to stay in Sacra­mento, telling The Bee: “I’m con­fi­dent that will work it­self out.”

“Ev­ery­thing here has been great from the coach to the play­ers to the front of­fice to the fans,” Barnes said in March. “It’s been a su­per warm re­cep­tion. I’ve en­joyed it.”

Teams will be free to ne­go­ti­ate with free agents be­gin­ning at 6:01 p.m. on June 30. Deals can’t be com­pleted un­til the free agency mora­to­rium ends July 6.

More than 200 play­ers are ex­pected to be free agents and 25 teams are pro­jected to have over $20 mil­lion to spend, set­ting the stage for one of the wildest free agency bo­nan­zas in NBA his­tory.

PAUL KITAGAKI JR./TRI­BUNE NEWS SER­VICE

Sacra­mento Kings for­ward Har­ri­son Barnes (40) dunks the ball over Chicago Bulls cen­ter Robin Lopez (42) on March 17 in Sacra­mento. Barnes has de­clined his $25.1 mil­lion player op­tion for the 2019-20 sea­son and will be­come an un­re­stricted free agent, his agent said.

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