Six minutes were left in a close game between the Mavs and Hornets when the news broke that Barnes was being traded. Cameras were there to capture it all as news spread down from the stands to Barnes, who was on the bench at the time. It was a rare moment where we saw the business side of the NBA play out on a public stage, and to his credit Barnes handled it remarkably well.
The sentiment following the trade was â€œdamn, thatâ€™s cold,â€ but thereâ€™s slightly more to this.
Barnes reportedly knew he was probably leaving.
Following the game, Paul Pierce said on ESPN that Barnes was aware he was being shopped by the Mavericks, and there was a possibility he could be moved as soon as Wednesday night â€” but he asked to play anyway.
So while the timing wasnâ€™t ideal, itâ€™s not like Barnes had the rug pulled out from under him completely if this report was true. In fact, if anything, Barnes deserves even more credit for putting his head down, playing and letting everything play out â€” knowing full well the potential was there for him to be moved.
Dirk Nowitzki offered high praise for his outgoing teammate, especially considering the situation.
LeBron James might have jumped the gun a little bit.
James issued a scathing commentary about the trade following the news Barnes was moving.
Essentially James was using the trade as an example of how cold the NBA can be as a counterpoint to players being called selfish for calling their own shots on a team or demanding trades. The crux of Jamesâ€™ point stands, but if Barnes knew about the trade possibility ahead of time then itâ€™s not nearly as cold as King James points out.
Barnesâ€™ tenure with Dallas is complicated.
Barnes joining the Mavericks during the rebuilding effort made him the best player on a bad team during a difficult time. Mavs Moneyball outlines how Barnes arrived in the city during an impossibly difficult time socially, and did his best to try and help the city heal.
While his tenure on the Mavericks wasnâ€™t one of a superstar who blossomed after leaving the Warriors, he was still the best player they had â€” and now in the wake of Luka Doncic becoming a phenom, paired with the trade for Kristaps Porzingis, heâ€™s left as a salary dump in an unceremonious end to his time with the team.
â€œBarnes deserved to be here when the Mavericks were good again but the fact that his presence almost guaranteed that would never happen was the ultimate basketball catch-22.
The Mavericks needed to move on and they did. Dallas the city definitely didnâ€™t. We know the Mavericks are a better team tomorrow and the city of Dallas is a little bit worse. Sports are weird like that.â€
The team and the city will miss Barnes, regardless of how he was traded, when he found out or why he was dealt. There doesnâ€™t seem to be a bad guy in the scenario, itâ€™s just unfortunate for a lot of different reasons.
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