The Miami Heat are likely to trade Duncan Robinson at some point during the offseason and they will need to make a move at the four position — even if PJ Tucker returns. Meaning, that could open the door to trade for Harrison Barnes.
Let’s dive into why Barnes is the most realistic target and what it would take to pry him away from the Sacramento Kings.
Harrison Barnes’ time in Sacramento is nearing an end
There have been rumors for years stating how Harrison Barnes could be on the move from the Sacramento Kings, and there were rumblings of a deal to send him to the Heat last summer. But nothing ever came to fruition.
However, Barnes’ tenure in Sacramento is coming to a close sooner rather than later. The 30-year-old forward is entering the final year of a 4-year, $85 million contract that was signed in the 2019 offseason. It seems hard to believe that Barnes would re-sign with the Kings with their lack of success, especially at this point in his career.
The forward can still provide quality minutes on a competing team. Barnes averaged 16.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assists while shooting 46.9% from the field in 33.6 minutes per game last season. Most importantly, Barnes has shot over 38% from beyond the arc in each of the last five seasons.
The Kings would be smart to trade away Barnes to maximize value before he would inevitably leave during next year’s free agency, which is projected to see an $11.6 million increase in salary cap space.
Sacramento has this offseason and next season’s trade deadline as its final two opportunities to get value for Barnes if there is not a sign-and-trade performed. Realistically, sign-and-trades aren’t as valuable as straight trades.
All of this combined, plus the Heat’s desire and infatuation with Barnes, makes it an ideal time to make the move that has been put off for years now.
The Miami Heat’s possible pursuit of Harrison Barnes
The Miami Heat’s most realistic trade option during the offseason is Harrison Barnes and while the organization might love a player like Kyle Kuzma, who is available, this is the likeliest move.
A very simple trade proposal could start with Duncan Robinson and a future first-round pick. Robinson would be a good fit for the Kings as he brings a three-point shot which was lacking for the organization last year. Sacramento ranked 24th out of 30 teams in terms of team three-point percentage too. While Barnes shot 39.4% from the three-point line, it was considered a down year for Robinson, and a change of scenery is needed.
Harrison Barnes stats (2021-2022): 16.4 PPG, 5.6 REB, and 2.4 AST, 46.9 FG%
The Heat are unlikely to use the full $10.3 million non-taxpayer mid-level exception since it would put a hard cap the organization. This helps explain why they will not offer Tucker the maximum amount of money.
There are no players like Barnes in the free-agent market that would fit into the amount of money the Heat have available to them. This is why Robinson’s contract is the best avenue for improvement. The organization loves Max Strus and started him as the shooting guard in place of Robinson during the playoffs last season. It makes the 28-year-old guard as expendable as ever.
There are other names besides Harrison Barnes that are out there for the Heat. Los Angeles Clippers forward Marcus Morris and Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder would be good options too. Meanwhile, Charlotte Hornets forward PJ Washington and Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma are the best long-term options that Miami could pry way from their division rivals.
Speaking of division rivals, Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins could be intriguing as Bam Adebayo’s long-term front-court partner in Miami. Collins, 24, is a West Palm Beach, Florida native and has been on record saying he’d like to join the Miami Heat as a “hometown hero,” but that was before the 2017 NBA Draft.
None of these options are as realistic as Harrison Barnes. The final days of Barnes in a Kings’ uniform could be on the horizon and the Heat should be in the mix taking action.