Harrison Barnes

Report: Pacers interested in impending Kings free agent Barnes


The Kings and Indiana Pacers forever will be linked due to their blockbuster trade in February 2022 involving star center Domantas Sabonis and guard Tyrese Haliburton.

NBA insider Marc Stein reported Monday, citing sources, the Pacers are interested in bringing in another player with Kings ties this offseason.

“League sources say that the Pacers have interest in Kings free agent-to-be Harrison Barnes, thanks at least in part to two rather prominent Barnes fans in the organization: All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton and Pacers coach Rick Carlisle,” Stein wrote.

Barnes was teammates with Haliburton for one-and-a-half seasons in Sacramento after the guard was selected No. 12 overall by the Kings in 2020. Carlisle, hired by Indiana in 2021, coached Barnes on the Dallas Mavericks for two-and-a-half seasons from 2016 to 2019.

Barnes officially becomes an unrestricted free agent June 30 when teams are allowed to negotiate with players hitting the open market. A steady veteran presence who can play both forward positions, Barnes is expected to have plenty of suitors this summer.

“Although a return to Sacramento has not been completely ruled out, according to one source close to the process, Barnes is indeed a strong candidate to switch teams this offseason,” Stein wrote.

The 31-year-old veteran infamously arrived in Sacramento at the 2019 trade deadline when he was traded mid-game by the Mavericks. He steered the Kings through troubled waters, playing for four different coaches -- Dave Joerger, Luke Walton, Alvin Gentry and Mike Brown -- over four-and-a-half seasons. His loyalty paid off this past season when he was a key contributor on the “Beam Team,” the roster that snapped the Kings' 17-year playoff drought.

In 82 games last season, Barnes averaged 15.0 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 47.3 percent from the field and 37.4 percent from 3-point range.

“Obviously, Harrison is a fantastic part of our team," Kings president of basketball operations Monte McNair said in his end-of-season press conference in May. "A vet leader, and one of two guys with championship experience for us, which was a big part of getting our young guys ready to go."

Barnes is the Kings’ only starter from the 2022-23 NBA season not currently under contract. De’Aaron Fox, Kevin Huerter, Keegan Murray and Sabonis all will return next season, as will sixth man Malik Monk.

If Barnes doesn’t return to Sacramento, the Kings do have flexibility at the position and could slide Murray over to the small forward position and bring in a new power forward. They have options, but one of them is simply bringing Barnes back on a new deal.

“It would be special,” Barnes said in May of potentially re-signing with the Kings. “I have equity in Sacramento, just being through a lot of the long seasons. To finally be on the other side of that and to have a collective experience and feel like we were knocking at the door."

" … Obviously, we’ve all been around. We know it’s a business; a lot of things happen. But to continue on with this group, I think that would be a special thing."

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