The Dallas Mavericks officially signed small forward Harrison Barnes to a four-year, $94.4 million contract late Wednesday night.
The contract signing took place in Barnes’ hometown of Ames, Iowa, and came mere minutes after the NBA moratorium was lifted at 11:01 p.m. CDT.
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, Donnie Nelson and Michael Finely took a photo with Barnes after he put his signature on one of the team’s contracts. Nelson is the Mavs’ president of basketball operations and Finley is the team’s assistant vice-president of basketball operations.
Owner Mark Cuban used his Twitter to tweet a photo of Barnes playfully handcuffed to Nelson while Carlisle was holding the signed contract.
It was a moment when the Mavs could laugh – with a direct reference to last season.
Last summer Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan verbally agreed to sign with the Mavs. But Jordan reneged on the contract days later and eventually signed a contract with the Clippers.
This time, the Mavs were not going to allow Barnes to pull a Jordan on them.
Barnes replaces Chandler Parsons, who left the Mavs to sign a free agent contract with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Barnes, 24, averaged 11.7 points and 4.9 rebounds this past season for the Golden State Warriors and is a much better defender than Parsons. But Parsons is a more efficient scorer, creator and ball-handler.
Also, Barnes went practically unguarded by the Cleveland Cavaliers in last month’s NBA Finals when they figured out that he’d lost his confidence and his shooting touch.
Over the last three games of the Finals, Barnes averaged just five points and was only 5-of-32 from the field – many of them were wide open shots – as the Warriors became the first team to blow a 3-1 series lead in the NBA Finals and lose that championship series.
But the Mavs believe what happened with Barnes in the Finals was an aberration. And they expect him to be a permanent fixture in their lineup for many years to come.