Sources told ESPN that the Kings are expected to release Barnes later Monday because they need an extra roster spot to take in the three players they’re acquiring from the Pelicans in the Cousins deal: Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway.
Sources say that the Kings and Pelicans agreed to the blockbuster deal Sunday, which will send Cousins and swingman Omri Casspi to New Orleans in exchange for New Orleans’ 2017 first-round pick (top-three protected) and a 2017 second-rounder (via Philadelphia) in addition to Hield, Evans and Galloway.
Barnes is averaging 7.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game this season, and has racked up nearly $400,000 in fines from the NBA since 2011. His future with Sacramento has been considered tenuous since his involvement in an altercation at a Manhattan nightclub after a loss by the Kings in New York in December.
Barnes faces misdemeanor assault charges pending in New York as a result of the altercation. A related civil suit has been filed against Barnes and Cousins in a New York District Court.
Cousins was cleared of any wrongdoing and will not face charges following an NYPD investigation that concluded last week.
Barnes, who grew up in Sacramento, was in the first year of a two-year deal worth $12.5 million and is known to be a favorite of Kings coach Dave Joerger after their time together in Memphis.