Knights Sign Barker to MLE

  • By John Comey, Day 1, 2023

The Kansas City Knights’ point guard situation was barren to begin the offseason.

Now, the Knights have two promising, albeit flawed, players at the point.

After trading Aaron Honeycutt, in part, to draft Matt Mueller 12th overall in the draft, the team signed journeyman Jaylen Barker on Thursday. The signing itself is a bit of a head-scratcher, as the team used its mid-level exception to him, though they did so during a failed attempt to sign veteran guard Demetric Vaughn.

Barker, 23, averaged 7.5 points and 3.9 assists last year with Baltimore. The Knights are his fourth team in four seasons since being drafted 31st overall by St. Louis. Scouts say he has tantalizing playmaking ability, but it has not translated to on-court success. This is, according to some, due to his attitude.

The Knights hope that pitting Barker with reigning MVP Kelvin Hawes, as well as veteran forward Sheldon James, will help bring out the best in the young guard, while minimalizing his pitfalls.

“We felt he has the talent to form a great 1-2 punch with Matt,” said GM Jack Dawkins, when introducing Barker. “He’s young. He has not had a fair shake to see what he’s about. He’s going to get minutes with us. So, it’s his time to make something of himself.”

Barker, a superior ball-handler and playmaker, is not a scorer, and is considered a liability on defense. This does not seem to match up well with Knights coach Mitchell Anderson; however, Anderson signed off on the signing.