He wasn’t doing that without assurances of a bigger deal.
Carmichael Dave of KHTK Sports Sacramento:
Marc Stein of The New York Times:
That’s a lot of money for Barnes, who’s a fine starting forward but hardly a standout.
He’s comfortable with the ball in his hands, shoots well from distance and capably defends bigger players in small-ball lineups. He’s also a legitimate small forward in a league thin at that position.
But his defense at small forward is mediocre. He rarely draws fouls. He doesn’t create much for others. For all his touches, he just generates passably efficient shots for himself – a skill that raises a team’s floor but limits its ceiling.
His role was reduced after Sacramento traded for him last season. He showed he could fit in and raise his shooting percentages with less usage. But is that player worth $22 million per year?
Maybe for the Kings. They’ve had such a hard time luring free agents and have plenty of money to spend. The 27-year-old Barnes can still fit with their younger core of De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley III and Bogdan Bogdanovic.
If Barnes gets $88 million over four years, his starting salary could range from $19,642,857 to $25 million. That’d leave Sacramento with about about $35 million-$41 million in cap space. Can the Kings spend that much productively now? It might make sense to frontload Barnes’ contract. Paying him more this season would allow greater flexibility down the road.
Of course, this is all relative. Signing Barnes for $88 million over four years doesn’t exactly show Sacramento is overly concerned with long-term flexibility.