Barnes is surely ‘ambitious’ target for Cavs, but would help immensely

Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings and Isaac Okoro, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images
Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings and Isaac Okoro, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images /

This offseason, the Cleveland Cavaliers have to add shooting, and whether it’s via trade and/or in free agency, they have to look externally to aid their small forward situation.

Players such as Royce O’Neale, Dorian Finney-Smith, Bojan Bogdanovic, Buddy Hield, Doug McDermott and Tim Hardaway Jr. have been linked to the Cavaliers as possible trade targets. From there, rumored potential free agency targets include players such as Yuta Watanabe, Jalen McDaniels, Grant Williams and Donte DiVincenzo, among others, as far as wings.

For the Cavaliers, they should feasibly be able to acquire a few meaningful pieces this offseason to help their key cogs in Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, and ideally, they’d be able to sure up their 3 man starter. We’ll have to see what plays out in coming months in that area, but rest assured, shooting and floor spacing are crucial, and will be of surpreme importance from here to give the Cavs stars more room to work.

A player that might be too rich for the Wine and Gold to solidify their starters could really give them a hand in a number of ways, though, and that’s Harrison Barnes. To that point, Barnes was recently tabbed as the “ambitious” free agency target for Cleveland this offseason, according to Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report.

Barnes would surely profile as an “ambitious” target for the Cavs, but he would clearly help them on multiple fronts.

Barnes previously had championship experience with the Golden State Warriors, and in recent seasons, has made a difference in the turnaround for the Sacramento Kings, who he’s played with since 2018-19. Sacramento returned to the postseason for the first time since 2006, ending what was the longest playoff drought in NBA history this season.

Now, Barnes and the Kings would lose in seven games to Stephen Curry and his former Warriors team in the first round in a No. 3-No. 6 matchup, but it was a significant step in the right direction for the Kings. That was in Mike Brown’s first season as their head coach as well, for what it’s worth.

In this now-past regular season for Sacramento, Barnes had 15.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per contest, and over the course of his time with the Kings, has averaged 15.4 points and 5.3 boards per game. This season, he knocked in 37.4 percent of his three-point attempts, and has hit 38.7 percent from deep over the course of his time with Sacramento in the regular season.

Now, as Hughes alluded to, Barnes has been maligned for some playoff struggles in his time with Golden State, and with Sacramento in that first round series, he shot just 24.0 percent from three and had averaged only 10.7 points and 3.4 rebounds.

Having said that, he’s still a shooter that can open up the floor for drivers and cutters, has an impactful shooting reputation himself, and can make plays himself out of the mid-post. He has good off-ball feel, also, and is adept at drawing fouls.

Defensively, Barnes would not hurt Cleveland much, either, and could slot in well at the starting 3 spot to mesh with Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell and Evan Mobley.

He could definitely be a steady, veteran player for the Cavaliers, too, who could function well in a variety of lineups. Even while he has been at the 4 in recent seasons far more with Sacramento, he could still be more than competent at the 3 with Cleveland for extended stretches. Regardless, he’d be a quality player to have factor in at the 3 and 4 spots, one would assume.

For his multifaceted skill set, though, it’s clear Barnes would make for an “ambitious” free agency target for the Cavs, as Hughes expressed. Despite the playoff inconsistencies he’s had, the 6-foot-8 Barnes is such a solid player and is a quality starting forward.

It’d be difficult to foresee the Cavaliers being able to acquire him for the Nontaxpayer Mid-Level Exception, for roughly $12.2 million, no matter a deal being for multiple seasons, seemingly. A potential sign-and-trade wouldn’t appear to be all that conceivable, either, at least currently.

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Perhaps there’d be a chance Cleveland could bring in Barnes this offseason, but that’d be a longshot.