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Report: Mavericks trading Harrison Barnes to Kings

Sacramento Kings v Dallas Mavericks

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 20: Harrison Barnes #40 of the Dallas Mavericks drives to the basket against Zach Randolph #50 of the Sacramento Kings in the second half at American Airlines Center on October 20, 2017 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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The Mavericks are going all-in with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis.

An advantage of building around players so young: They’re still cheap. Doncic is on his relatively low-paying rookie-scale contract. Even Porzingis will count just $17,091,162 against the cap as a free agent this summer until signed or renounced (a reason the Knicks didn’t extend him).

But Dallas still lacked the cap space to take advantage.

Until now.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Harrison Barnes has a $25,102,512 player option for next season he’ll likely exercise.

With that off the books, the Mavericks can open a projected $30 million in cap room, use that money then exceed the cap to re-sign Porzingis. Dallas could even create about an additional $9 million space by stretching Courtney Lee, getting well into max-salary territory.

Think the Mavericks can attract premier free agents who want to play with Doncic and Porzingis? That’s Dallas’ bet.

Sacramento made the opposite wager. Struggling to sign good free agents recently, the Kings leveraged their cap flexibility now and next season to get Barnes. There’s a decent chance they wouldn’t have drawn anyone better on the open market next summer.

Barnes also provides help now rather than waiting. Sacramento is in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race, and the team needed a big forward like him.

I’ve never been particularly high on Justin Jackson, the No. 15 pick in the 2017 draft. Zach Randolph was likely included just for his large expiring contract.