NBA Rumor: Harrison Barnes Free Agency

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At 27 years old, Barnes has plenty of basketball in his future, and the Kings would like him to remain a part of that. According to multiple sources, the Kings are confident they can lock up their starting small forward to a long-term deal. There’s always a risk that Barnes will find the open market enticing and leave without compensation for Sacramento. That would be bad news for the Kings’ offseason plans, but it also would open up a massive amount of salary-cap space for the team to aggressively pursue other options.

Barnes has a player option for $25.1 million on the final year of his contract next season. The Kings will likely try to negotiate a long-term extension this summer, and Barnes didn’t sound eager to leave when a Dallas reporter asked about his new life in Sacramento. “It’s been great,” he said. “The community, they show a lot of love. I remember my first game in Sac against Miami. The atmosphere was like a playoff atmosphere. People were so passionate about the game of basketball, so into the game. Obviously, I was always on the opposing side, so now to be on the home team, it’s great to receive that love and I’m definitely looking forward to my wife and I getting involved in the community there.”

Peter Vecsey: “Harrison took that very personal,” the same source said. “Guaranteed, should he ever leave the Mavericks, he’ll never sign with New Orleans (Anthony Davis), Washington (Bradley Beal), Cleveland (Dion Waiters), Sacramento (Thomas Robinson) and Portland (Damian Lillard). Barnes will not forget feeling slighted by the above six teams. And he did not forget Draymond’s affront when he sent out invitations for his July 29, 2017, wedding to Brittany Johnson.

If you find yourself in the group that would love to see Durant head to the Warriors, you should probably listen to Bill Simmons’ most recent podcast. Simmons begins sketching out his argument just before the eight-minute mark of Friday’s episode, and it really is a very enticing one. Here’s a quick summary of his key points: If Durant wants a move to Golden State, this is his only chance salary cap-wise, because if the Warriors don’t land him they’re going to overpay Harrison Barnes and then hand Steph Curry a monster contract next season.

In his final week before restricted free agency, Harrison Barnes is giving the appearance that he has departed early from the NBA Finals. If he doesn’t pull it together by Sunday’s Game 7 at Oracle Arena, the Warriors just might let him go for good. Barnes had his second straight horrific Finals game, one of many reasons the Cleveland Cavaliers beat Golden State 115-101 Thursday night to tie the series at 3-3. But the fourth-year forward will probably be the lightning rod for this latest loss after going 0 for 8 from the floor and having only two rebounds to show for 161/2 minutes of play.

The Warriors have the right to match any offer, though, because Barnes is a restricted free agent. One source within the organization pointed out that Lacob and the Warriors owners have, indeed, said all along that he will pay to keep a winning team together, and that has not changed. As an outsider NBA general manager told Sporting News, “I think that all along that they were not going to let him go unless they fell down and didn’t win it all. It might just be that they’re trying to push down offers, but that’s the message.”

It should be an interesting summer for Barnes, who as a restricted free agent will be free to field offers from other clubs, including the Celtics. The Warriors have the right to match any other, but the question is whether Golden State wants to potentially invest a maximum contract on Barnes, their fourth-best player behind Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. It could allow a team seeking a dependable scorer entering his prime to steal Barnes with a lucrative contract.

Harrison Barnes, for example. He will be a restricted free agent on July 1 and plays the same position as Durant, small forward. Barnes would love to stay. But asked if he thinks he is staying, he told NBA.com: “Assuming no one else chooses to sign here?” He smiled. “It’s out of my control,” Barnes said. “People say, ‘Do you want to be here in Golden State?’ A lot of it is, look, I love Golden State. I’d love to be here. But there’s also some other factors that factor into that, you know what I’m saying?”

So did the Wizards make the right call in opting for Beal over Barnes? Despite his injury history, which included a concussion, broken nose, bruised pelvis and shoulder contusion this season alone, that appears to be the case. If Barnes hits the market and is allowed to leave (he rejected a $64 million extension before the 2015-16 season began), he’ll get similar money to Beal. Based on what CSNmidatlantic.com has been told, however, the Wizards won’t be one of those teams in the running at that pricetag.

“We’re winning. A lot of guys are sacrificing numbers and minutes and roles on this team and that’s why we’re a great team,” Bogut said. “Harrison has had great games, has had bad games just like anybody else on this roster. So I don’t anticipate it affecting his contract situation. “Someone is going to give him that max, let’s be honest. There’s always a small-market team that would love a guy like Harrison as their No. 1 or No. 2 option. I don’t think it’s going to have any bearing on his financial future and I think people on this team are more valuable than their contract says, just from the basis of what they’ve given up.”

Barnes averaged 11.7 points and 4.9 rebounds this season in 66 games this season. the elder Thompson feels Barnes could do more with the Lakers. “I think he’s capable of averaging 18 a game here if the Lakers sign him and brought him here.” Thompson said. “I think he could be more of a featured scorer, maybe a No. 2 option, maybe even a No. 1 on certain nights. He’s capable of putting up in the high-20s. He’s a very good shooter, can get to the basket, very athletic. He just hasn’t been asked to do very much in Golden State, but coming here, he’d be asked to do more, and I think he could.”

“We’re winning,” Bogut said Tuesday when asked about Barnes. “A lot of guys are sacrificing numbers and minutes and roles on this team, and that’s why we’re a great team. Harrison’s had great games, he’s had bad games just like everybody else on this roster. So I don’t anticipate it affecting his contract situation and all that. I mean, someone’s going to be giving him the max. Let’s be honest. Someone’s going to give him close to the max. There’s always a small-market team that would love a guy like Harrison as their No. 1, No. 2 option. So I don’t think it’s going to have any bearing on his financial future.”

On the ability to retain both Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli: Lacob: “Our goal is to win. That’s the absolute No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 goals — to win. We’re obviously doing that now. We have a really good core. Both those guys are a part of the core. Hopefully we’ll have this team for a number of years to come. If it costs a lot of money it’s going to cost a lot of money. It probably will. A lot of our players have come up in free agency the last year or two and if they continue to perform we’re going to continue to pay them. We’re 34-2, we’re trying to get a second championship here. There’s a lot of room for improvement of course, but there’s a lot of power to continuity.

Andrew Bogut: “Within our group, it hasn’t been a huge distraction. Obviously you want every player to get their max worth. A career is very short, and obviously you want to make it while you can. Harrison is going to be a very rich man regardless of what direction that all goes. These situations (with this kind of collective group) don’t come up very often, so when they’re available you want to milk them for as long as you can. I think our owners and our GM understand that, that if you can keep this team together for another four or five years you try everything in your power to do that, rather than trying to all of a sudden put on an ‘I’m smarter than everyone and we’re going to make this big move,’ when it’s really not needed… I don’t think Harrison is going to go anywhere. I think he’s just obviously going to lift his value a little bit more with the new (salary) cap and all that going in (the NBA’s salary cap is set to spike from $67 million to $89 million next season because the nine-year, $24 billion television deal with ESPN and Turner kicks in).”

But with the 2016-17 salary cap expected to land somewhere in the $90 million range, a maximum contract for Barnes could begin with a first year salary in the range of $22 million. There are a fair amount of scouts and general managers across the league that do not believe that Barnes would be “worth” that type of investment, however, there are many people who said the same thing about Reggie Jackson of the Detroit Pistons. After being acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder, Stan Van Gundy re-signed Jackson to a five-year, $80 million maximum contract.

Taking a page from his mom, Harrison Barnes is betting on himself once again, turning down a lucrative extension offer from the Warriors in hopes of landing a bigger deal next summer as a restricted free agent. “At a young age she was like, ‘Do you want to do this basketball thing seriously?’ I was like, ‘Yes,’ ” Barnes told Yahoo Sports after the Warriors’ 119-69 rout of the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night. “We put all of our resources into basketball, AAU tournaments and doing all this stuff. My sister and mom didn’t have any summers off. It was all predicated on me trying to make sure I had the best opportunities in basketball and to get exposure to go to college.

Q: This team always seems to be involved pursuing big name players and your name has been involved as a trade chip and next year there might be more of that, with your name involved. How much of this is that you have more control of your future as a restricted free agent? Harrison Barnes: It’s been a roller coaster in terms of that since I got here–you know, Dwight Howard, Kevin Love… So now we’ve won a championship. The Warriors, it’s a desirable destination. So it would be nothing new, come to this next season with more big names and the Warriors are potentially trying to sign those guys.

Harrison Barnes and the Warriors concluded discussions about a contract extension and will not reach an agreement by the Nov. 2 deadline, making him a restricted free agent next summer. General manager Bob Myers said Tuesday that negotiations with Barnes’ agent ended the previous day on “very amicable” terms as the player wanted to focus on the start of the regular season. Owner Joe Lacob had said of a report that Barnes, 23, turned down an initial four-year, $64 million offer from the team, “Let’s just say it’s in the ballpark.”
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January 25, 2021 | 10:04 pm EST Update