What is long-term cost to Sacramento Kings for Harrison Barnes deal?

The Sacramento Kings re-signed Harrison Barnes to a 4-year, $85 million contract in the offseason. Will it cost the team in the long run?

The Sacramento Kings re-signed Harrison Barnes to a four-year, $85 million deal on July 6. Barnes signed a declining deal with the Kings, starting at $24 million this season and going down to $18 million by the 2022-23 season, decreasing by $2 million each year.

Barnes has been solid, but certainly not spectacular. This season he has averaged 15.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. He has shot the ball reasonably well, his slash line being 44.8/35.3/79.3 .

The thing is, Barnes is not going to improve much on these numbers. For his career he is averaging 13.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. His career slash line is 44.6/37.2/79.5. Do these numbers justify an average of $21.25 million a season?

While Barnes has played every game this season, the same can not be said of his teammates. It is safe to say the season has not gone to plan for the Kings, injuries have majorly impacted the team.

Point guard De’Aaron Fox missed 18 games, Marvin Bagley has missed 30 games and Bogdan Bogdanovic has missed 11 games. This is a lot of time missed for such a young, talented core.

As a result, the Kings have under-performed; again. They are tied for 13th in the Western Conference and not making any great strides up the standings. They have started their last fire sale by trading for the expiring contracts of Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver and two second-round picks.

This is especially important as this clears up enough space to offer Bogdanovic a decent contract next season. The third year man has career averages of 13.1 points, 3.6 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game. He is a true floor spacer, taking 6.9 of his 12.4 shot attempts per game from deep.

However, what the Barnes contract means is that the Kings are also telling Bogdanovic that he is stuck on the bench for his next contract, or at least a good part of it. Bogdanovic is a natural shooting guard, but has the size to play small forward.

Barnes is the starting small forward, Buddy Hield is the starting shooting guard. This means that there is little progression possible for Bogdanovic and as a young talented player. He is going to want to start sooner rather than later.

Then it gets difficult for the Kings. Fox’s rookie deal expires after the 2020-21 season, as does Nemanja Bjelica‘s contract. They are going to offer Fox what he wants so they need to keep as much room as possible for this.

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There is a small saving grace that only $2.4 million of Cory Joseph‘s $12.6 million is guaranteed so they can make room by not guaranteeing his deal. This will then cost the Kings a veteran leader and voice in the locker room.

With these contracts coming up, the Kings are going to be pretty tight on the salary cap for the next four years, particularly if they cannot move Dewayne Dedmon. As a result they will most probably not be able to make a run at major free-agent talent.

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The Sacramento Kings are stuck at the bottom of the NBA standings and while they will get growth from their younger guys, including any draft picks, it will not be enough. To put it simply, and meaning no disrespect to Barnes, his contract will keep them there.

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