Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes will decline his $25.1 million player option and become an unrestricted free agent, Barnes’ agent Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports, told ESPN earlier today.

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This move comes as a little bit of a surprise, mostly considering that it seems rather unlikely Barnes would command a salary close to $25 million on the open market. The best guess for this move might be that Barnes values signing a multi-year contract over short-term dollar value.

Even with small forward being one of the most coveted positions for teams to acquire long-term talent across the NBA, Barnes averaged just 16.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game on 42% shooting between his time with the Kings and the Dallas Mavericks last season. Barnes Player Efficiency Rating of 12.81 does not particularly excite teams either, ranking outside the top 150 among all players. Barnes shooting did improve after being traded to the Kings, shooting 45.5% on field goals including 40.8% from three-point range in 28 games, but it is still skeptical to believe a team would offer Barnes more than $15 million per season.

The former 7th overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft out of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill is reportedly open to re-signing with the Kings on a multi-year contract.  Both the Kings and Barnes enjoyed a successful partnership last season as the 27-year-old showed some flashes of the consistency he displayed on offense when Barnes used to play for the Golden State Warriors. Sacramento hopes to lock down the veteran wing to a multi-year contract so that Barnes can be a veteran scorer/leader in the young Kings locker room that features players like De’Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley III, Buddy Hield, and Bogdan Bogdanovic among others.

The Kings might also benefit if Barnes sign elsewhere as it would give the Kings a total of $60 million in cap space to spend on extensions and potentially some free agents this summer to further along with their roster from a fringe playoff team to a contender in the wide-open Western Conference.

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