New Kings players Barnes and Burks excited to jump in, reach for playoffs
Harrison Barnes, Alec Burks and Corey Brewer have appeared in a total of 124 playoff games over the course of their NBA careers. Now, all three are in Sacramento to help the Kings make a run at their first postseason appearance since 2006.
The Kings introduced their three newest roster additions following their morning shoot-around as they prepared to play the Miami Heat on Friday night at Golden 1 Center. Barnes, Burks and Brewer all participated in a light workout with the team and will be available for Friday’s game.
“These guys play hard and that’s rare for young guys as a collective to do that,” Barnes said. “For me, the biggest thing is just trying to come in and compete, trying to help these guys win. We’re in the middle of a playoff race and that’s exciting, especially for a veteran player who’s been to the playoffs. Trying to be a part of that again, it’s a special thing, and that’s the biggest thing we’re trying to do right now.”
The Kings acquired Barnes from the Dallas Mavericks and Burks from the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday in separate deals that sent Justin Jackson and Zach Randolph to the Mavericks and Iman Shumpert to the Houston Rockets. Brewer signed a 10-day contract with the Kings on Friday morning, filling one of two roster vacancies.
Barnes, 26, is a 6-foot-8, 225-pound small forward who can play power forward in small-ball lineups. He averaged 17.7 points and 4.2 rebounds while shooting 38.9 percent from 3-point range in 49 games for the Mavericks. He was a starter on the Golden State Warriors’ NBA championship team in 2014-15 and appeared in 64 playoff games over four seasons with the Warriors.
“The biggest thing is winning,” Barnes said. “When you’re winning games and you’re a part of something that is bigger than yourself, I think that’s what makes everybody excited about being a part of it, excited about coming to work every day, excited about putting the work in and sacrificing for the guy next to you, knowing that you’re playing for something – the opportunity to play in the post season. That’s what this group has. I think that’s what’s special, to have a young group that understands that right now.”
Kings general manager Vlade Divac said Barnes will be a key addition to the team.
“Harrison Barnes is a player who can score, who plays a position of need, somebody we’re looking to have a long future (with),” Divac said. “I see him as a player who is going to help us go to the next level.”
Barnes is in the final year of a four-year, $94.4 million contract with a player option for next season. Barnes can opt in for $25.1 million, opt out and become a free agent or negotiate a long-term extension. Divac said he hopes to keep Barnes in a Kings uniform for years to come.
“We want to focus on the rest of the season and we’re going to talk about it after, but definitely we have interest to have him here for long time,” Divac said.
Burks, 27, is a 6-foot-6 combo guard with a 6-10 wingspan. He appeared in 13 playoff games over seven seasons with the Utah Jazz before being traded to the Cavaliers in November.
“(The Kings) play fast, play hard, try to get up and down,” Burks said. “... (They are) fast, young, athletic. They just play with each other and play hard for each other and compete, and I can fit into that.”
Burks averaged 11.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 34 games for the Cavaliers this season, including 24 starts. He had a big game against Sacramento shortly after he was acquired by the Cavaliers, posting 22 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in a 129-110 loss Dec. 7. Burks is a career 35.8-percent 3-point shooter, but he has been on a roll recently, shooting 45.8 percent from beyond the arc over 15 games in January.
“Alec is a combo guy who’s going to bring experience, a guy who had playoff experience with a few teams, and he had a game this year where he played very well against us, so hopefully he can bring that to our team,” Divac said. “He’s attacking, he’s a scorer, so he’s going to help our team.”
Brewer, 32, a 6-foot-9 forward, arrived in Sacramento about 1 a.m. Friday and joined the team at the morning shoot-around. The 12-year NBA veteran has career averages of 8.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals. He has appeared in 47 playoff games with Dallas, Houston, the Denver Nuggets and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
He was on a 10-day contract with the Philadelphia 76ers last weekend when the team visited Sacramento, so he is familiar with the Kings’ uptempo style of play. He said he will be ready to play against Miami if Kings coach Dave Joerger calls on him.
“I’m ready to go anytime,” he said. “You can throw me in right now. I’m always ready to go.”
The Kings still have one open roster spot after waiving veteran guard Ben McLemore, but Divac said he will take his time to see who becomes available on the free-agent market as other teams release and buy out players following the NBA trade deadline.
“We are not in a hurry,” Divac said. “We want to see what’s going on out there. If we see somebody that can improve our team, sure, we are open. ... We’re going to take our time. Obviously, if something comes up that we can’t pass on, we’re going to grab the opportunity ... (but) we are happy where we are and we’re going to go day-by-day about filling or not filling that spot.”