Sacramento Kings

Kings coach’s first public comments on acquisition of Harrison Barnes: ‘I like him!’

Kings coach Dave Joerger has wanted Harrison Barnes on his team for years, and now he has him.

Joerger offered his first public comments on the team’s recent trades during his pregame news conference as the Kings prepared to play the Miami Heat on Friday night at Golden 1 Center. Joerger revealed that he has coveted Barnes dating back to his days as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies.

“I think Harrison Barnes is a guy who, whether it’s public or not, I tried to trade for a hundred times,” Joerger said. “I goaded my management in Memphis. I thought he would have been perfect for us. He can play (small forward) and when you want to size down he can play (power forward). I thought he would have been a great complement there.”

The Kings acquired Barnes from the Dallas Mavericks and Alec 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.

Barnes averaged 17.7 points and 4.2 rebounds in 49 games for the Mavericks this season, shooting 38.9 percent from 3-point range.

“He’s a versatile player,” Joerger said. “He’s a little bit of an (isolation) player. He’s improved his jump shot on the perimeter. Heck of a quality guy. I think he’ll pick up stuff quick. I can move him around and play chess a little bit with him and find matchups and do different things offensively.”

Is Barnes a good fit for this Kings team?

“He’s a good fit for me,” Joerger said with a smile. “I like him!”

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Jason Anderson is an award-winning sportswriter for The Sacramento Bee. He started his journalism career at The Bee more than 20 years ago and returned to cover the Sacramento Kings in September 2018.