Much more on the Del Campo High product in a feature early in the regular season. For now, there is news: Barnes -- after being disappointed the Warriors had little interest in re-signing him, after being unable to land a multi-year deal anywhere, after having to settle for a one-year contract at the minimum to find a home -- may end up as the Suns starting small forward.
That would be some recovery from a 2007-08 that was crushing personally and professionally and then extended into a very disappointing offseason. It would also be so Barnes, just as he turned a last-minute invitation to Golden State camp two years ago into an important role that season as the Warriors unexpectedly reached the playoffs and upset the Mavericks in the first round.
In Phoenix, he has started the last two exhibition games and is averaging 26 minutes in the five preseason outings (though shooting 34.9 percent). What might ordinarily have been coach Terry Porter simply wanting to rest Grant Hill, the 36-year-old incumbent, or funneling time to get Barnes acclimated is actually Porter considering a permanent switch.
"It's a possibility," Porter said today. "We tried him two games at the starting spot. We're going to go back and forth and see how it goes these last three games."
Hill averaged a career-low 13.1 points last season. At least shooting 50.3 percent from the field was efficient production.
"Me and Grant have talked since Day 1, the day I signed," Barnes said. "We both have an understanding of whoever's out there is going to do the best job they can and the next person is going to come off the bench and do a great job. Between me and him, there's no riffs or anything like that. We both understand the situation and we're going to do whatever it takes to make the team better.
"It (starting) doesn't really matter to me. While talking to them during free agency, that was something that was an option. But it doesn't really matter to me, starting or coming off the bench. I just want to get out there night in and night out and contribute."