Harrison Barnes was traded midgame from the Dallas Mavericks to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Justin Jackson and Zach Randolph.
When folks around the league saw the news, many viewed it as a savage decision by the front office in Dallas. LeBron James, who faced Barnes in the 2015 and 2016 NBA Finals, even put out a lengthy opinion about it on his Instagram. Their surprise is fair – it seems wild for a player to discover such a life-changing moment in the midst of a game.
Paul Pierce, however, reported that Barnes was aware of the trade before he suited up against the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday (via NBA on ESPN):
“It’s my understanding this was in the works for the last few days. I got a call from Harrison’s agent Jeff Schwartz. They knew something was in the works with Sacramento. And according to my sources, Harrison Barnes wanted to play. It just so happened that during the game, the trade got agreed upon. And so once everybody found out about the trade, they pulled him out. Even though he knew something was in the works, he wanted to play just in case nothing happened.”
As noted by Marc Stein, the ten-time NBA All-Star was repped by Schwartz at Excel Sports as well. So it is easy to see the clear line of communication between the two parties.
That certainly does not make the turn of events any easier to stomach for Barnes, whose reaction to the news went viral once the public learned of the transaction.
The new Sacramento wing watched the rest of the fourth quarter from the bench, supporting his former Dallas teammates. Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle described Barnes as a “model pro” during his postgame presser.