McNair explains Kings decision to re-sign Barnes

McNair explains Kings decision to re-sign Barnes originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

The Kings had an opportunity to make a splash in 2023 in NBA free agency with ample salary cap space and a front-runner spot to fill.

Instead, they made a few low-risk moves and re-signed veteran forward Harrison Barnes to a three-year deal worth $54 million. Kings general manager Monte McNair recently revealed why the Kings decided to stick with the NBA champion for a few more seasons.

“[I’m] don’t say we won’t watch updates [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 back the bulk of our team [was appealing].”

Prior to the signing, players such as Draymond Green, Kyle Kuzma and Khris Middleton were suspected targets for Sacramento.

Barnes played in every game for the Kings last summer and was undeniably instrumental in their newfound success. His presence as the hardwood locker room leader was applauded by teammates, coaches and McNair.

A disappointing performance in Sacramento’s first playoff series since 2006, however, had many fans grateful for Barnes’ contributions but ready to move on.

In the Warriors’ first-round playoff game 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 last two contests of this 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 as much to McNair as keeping the core of last season 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 is our oldest rotational player. He just turned 31. … Everyone’s pre-prime or just starting their first – 27 or younger. So it’s not like, ‘Oh, we’re going to put it together and there’s no real chance for improvement.'”

Barnes shared similar reasoning as to why he chose to re-roll him with the same team next season.

“I chose to stay because we have a great young team and I think we can make some noise in the West,” Barnes told ESPN senior staff writer Marc Spears.

Immediately after their season-ending loss, Barnes made it clear he would like to return to Sacramento, his home base for the past five years.

Together, Barnes and the Kings are ready to build on last season’s success and reach greater heights.

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