McNair explains Kings’ decision to re-sign Barnes originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
The Kings had an opportunity to make a big splash in 2023 NBA free agency with ample salary cap space and a power forward spot to fill.
Instead, they made a couple of low-risk moves and re-signed veteran forward Harrison Barnes to a three-year contract worth $54 million. Kings general manager Monte McNair recently revealed why the Kings decided to stick with the NBA champion for a couple more seasons.
“[I’m] not saying that we won’t look at upgrades [or that] we didn’t,” McNair shared in an exclusive interview with The Athletic’s Anthony Slater and Sam Amick. “Because we certainly explored all those options. But knowing that one of our options was going to be to bring the bulk of our team back [was appealing].”
Prior to the signing, players such as Draymond Green, Kyle Kuzma and Khris Middleton were Sacramento’s rumored targets.
Barnes played in every game for the Kings last summer and was undeniably a huge part of their newfound success. His leadership presence from the locker room to the hardwood has been applauded by his teammates, coaches and McNair.
An underwhelming showing in Sacramento’s first playoff series since 2006, however, had many fans thankful for Barnes’ contributions, but ready to move on.
In the Warriors’ first-round playoff matchup against the Golden State Warriors, Barnes averaged 10.7 points on 41.7-percent shooting from the field and 24 percent from 3-point range, adding 3.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 28 minutes played. In the final two contests of that series, Barnes finished with just six and four points, respectively, before the Kings lost in seven games.
But in the grand scheme of things, none of that mattered to McNair as much as keeping last season’s core together.
“I think sometimes, you don’t want to be too complacent, and we know the West is going to be tough,” McNair said. “On the other hand, Harrison’s our oldest rotation player. He just turned 31. … Everybody else is pre-prime or just beginning their prime – 27 or younger. So it’s not like, ‘Oh, we’re gonna bring it together and there’s no real chance of improvement.'”
Barnes shared similar reasoning as to why he chose to run it back with the same squad next season.
“I chose to stay because we have a great young team and I think we can make some real noise in the West,” Barnes told senior ESPN writer Marc Spears.
Immediately following their season-ending loss, Barnes made it clear that he would love to return to Sacramento, the place he called home for the last five years.
Together, Barnes and the Kings are ready to build off of last season’s success and reach greater heights.