On the weird-ometer, the Harrison Barnes trade flicked the needle into the red zone.
How the trade was received by the popular forward and his teammates, however, showed everything about how well-respected Barnes is.
Barnes was playing in the third quarter of the Mavericks’ 99-93 win over Charlotte. Then he took a seat while Dirk Nowitzki came into the game. It was at that point that Barnes officially was told he was headed to the Sacramento Kings for Justin Jackson and Zach Randolph.
Multiple reports have stated that Barnes new before the game that the Mavericks were fielding trade offers for him. Nothing was official at that point, so Barnes elected to play in the game.
Then, after finding out he was, indeed, being traded, he stayed on the bench in the fourth quarter to cheer his soon-to-be former teammates.
“That’s exactly who he is as a player and a person,” said Devin Harris. “It’s not surprising at all. A class-act all the way.”
Harris wasn’t the only one impressed by the way Barnes handled things. In his two-plus seasons with the Mavericks, Barnes was a pillar in society and a model member of the franchise.
“He’s a better man than me,” said Dirk Nowitzki of Barnes hanging around in the fourth quarter on the bench. “Everybody else would have bounced out, for sure. He’s a genuinely good dude. That’s the kind of guy he is.
“We’re definitely going younger trying to build around Luka (Doncic) and KP (Kristaps Porzingis) … that one today shocked everyone.”
Harris was not blind to the odd circumstances. And he’s no stranger to awkward situations. A year ago, he was traded on deadline day while the Mavericks were having a shootaround before a game at Golden State with a slew of media members there as the news broke.
“It’s not the first time it’s happened, but it’s always tough, especially in this circumstance losing a player that’s been so important to our team the last three years,” Harris said. “The guy sets a great example for the young guys, works incredibly hard and does everything the right way. It’s just tough to see a guy like that go.”
Speaking of the younger players on the team, they have seen the sometimes-harsh business side of the NBA up close and personal the last week with two major trades that have churned over a large portion of the roster.
“They’re definitely getting a lesson, for sure,” Harris said. “Usually you don’t see this much movement in a short amount of time, but obviously, this is the circumstances we have and the young guys definitely are getting a crash course in NBA life right now. Hopefully once the shock wears off we can get back to some normalcy.”
Meanwhile, the Mavericks will welcome, who is a slender, 6-8 swingman who had seen his playing time dwindle in the last two weeks. But during a nine-game stretch in January, he averaged 9.7 points and 3.2 rebounds in 24 minutes per game.
“I just know he’s got a really good floater,” said Jalen Brunson, who played against Jackson in the NCAA tournament three years ago.
Added Harris: “Kind of athletic. I think he’s improved his 3-point shooting. Just kind of a slasher who knows how to play and does a lot of things well.”
Indeed, Jackson’s 3-point percentage had improved to .346 this season, up from 308 in his rookie season.