SACRAMENTO – One of the first things Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle did when he arrived at Golden 1 Center on Thursday was to seek out Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes.
From the time he signed a four-year free agent contract with the Mavs in July of 2016 until he was traded to the Kings this past Feb. 6, Barnes was a fixture in the Mavs’ starting lineup.
“He was great for us for two-and-a-half years, Carlisle said. “We invested a lot in his development. I was very proud of how he improved each year.
“I got a chance to say hello to him briefly on the court (before Thursday’s Mavs-Kings game) and just thanked him for everything he did for us for those two-and-a-half years, and I wished him the best.”
Before he was traded to the Kings, Barnes was second on the Mavs in scoring with 17.7 points, and also was one of their more influential players in the locker room.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a guy at age 26 or 27 with the kind of consistency that he brought every single day, whether it was to the practice court, to the pre-game preparation or to the game,” Carlisle said. “Sacramento’s got a gem, and he’s a great fit here and he really makes sense for them.”
That “gem” tag Carlisle put on Barnes also refers to the work the seven-year veteran performed in the Dallas/Fort Worth communities. Particularly with former Dallas chief of police David Brown in tow, Barnes was in various places in the Dallas/Fort Worth community trying to teach and show youngsters a better way of life.
“In the community he was extremely active and pro-active,” Carlisle said. “He was a strong voice and a conscious for young kids, young people, and he stands for all the right things.
“He’ll be a major asset in Sacramento both on the court and in the community.”