Matt Barnes Waived by Kings Following DeMarcus Cousins' Trade to Pelicans

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2017

OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 15:  Matt Barnes #22 of the Sacramento Kings looks to make a move with the ball against the Golden State Warriors during an NBA Basketball game at ORACLE Arena on February 15, 2017 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Sacramento Kings waived forward Matt Barnes on Monday to make room for players acquired from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for DeMarcus Cousins.

Barnes, 36, signed a two-year, $12 million contract with Sacramento in July. He averaged 7.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists while playing 25.3 minutes per game. Though Ben McLemore and Arron Afflalo started six of the Kings' last seven games at the two wing spots, Barnes averaged nearly identical playing time to Afflalo and seven-plus minutes a night more than McLemore.

In trading Cousins, Sacramento created a wing logjam, adding Tyreke Evans, Buddy Hield and Langston Galloway to its roster. Hield, the No. 6 overall pick in the June draft, was the crown jewel of the deal in the Kings' eyes.

Evans and Galloway were rotation players in New Orleans, but it's unclear what (if any) plans are in place for them in Sacramento. Evans will be a free agent this summer, and Galloway has a $5.4 million player option for next season, per Spotrac.

Nonetheless, each player was more attractive to the Kings than Barnes, an aging veteran with little place in a rebuilding franchise. Sacramento's signing of the UCLA product was something of a win-now move, as it tried to surround Cousins with players who could lift the team to the postseason.

But the Kings, just 1.5 games out of the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, decided to change their cultureโ€”even though it meant settling for a below-average haul for a superstar.

Assuming Barnes clears waivers, he'll be free to link up with a new team. The Los Angeles Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are among the wing-needy playoff squads who might be interested in a little edge off the bench.

Barnes previously played for Los Angeles and Golden State.


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