Storyline: 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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April 9, 2020 | 9:12 pm EDT Update
Will the NBA’s indefinite suspension limit what the Warriors do with the checkbook in the offseason? “We’re looking at all of those questions and the possible answers. But I don’t really have a good sense yet because I really have no idea how this is gonna shake out,” Lacob told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic on Thursday morning. “We don’t know what the salary cap is gonna be, we don’t know what the luxury tax is gonna be. We don’t really know what we can plan on at this point. We just have to look at a lot of different scenarios. That’s what we’re doing right now. It could make a huge difference, it might make no difference.”
Storyline: Season Suspension
As Illinois goes through this together, the United Center, home of the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks, is proud to be playing a critical role with our city, state and federal response to the pandemic. As announced on March 25, our arena and outside campus will be transformed into a logistics hub where we will be assisting with food storage for hunger relief, first responder staging and the collection of critically needed medical supplies.

Moving forward, the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicago’s food bank, will be utilizing the United Center as a satellite storage facility in response to the increased need for food. By alleviating space in the food bank’s warehouse, the Food Depository can bring additional volunteers into their facility to build more family food boxes in an environment that adheres to social distancing protocols. These boxes will continue to be distributed to those in need by the Food Depository’s partner network throughout Chicago and Cook County.
Storyline: Coronavirus

April 9, 2020 | 7:56 pm EDT Update

Pau Gasol contemplating retirement

With the league’s current campaign suspended indefinitely due to the global outbreak of the coronavirus, Gasol, who will turn 40 years old in July, is contemplating retirement at this point of his career. “With this recovery process and the injury that I have been dealing with for more than a year, it’s undoubtedly inevitable to think about retirement,” Gasol said in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El País, via NBC Sports. “Also, taking into account that I will be 40 years old in a few months. So, [retirement] is definitely on my mind.”
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“It’s something that will come one time, sooner or later,” Gasol said of retirement. “We hope that time hasn’t come yet. But I also take the opportunity to focus on the Gasol Foundation and other off-court projects. And also think of what my next professional stage may be, my next challenges. All this while I’m still recovering, trying to give myself a chance to keep playing. Now, the priority is to overcome this pandemic among all. Everything else is completely secondary.”
In 2011, Jacob Hamilton was a 26-year-old cinematographer looking to expand his portfolio by directing a documentary. He came across a two-minute interview online titled, “The Man Who Invented the Jump Shot.” Four years later, Hamilton was screening his short film in Kevin Durant’s backyard, shocked to see one of the NBA’s best-ever jump shooters geek out over footage he’d gathered of Kenny Sailors from the 1940s. The film was still only halfway to the finish line. “Jump Shot” premiered at South by Southwest in 2019, but still hasn’t been released to the public. That will change next week, when the feature-length documentary will be available online April 16-18. Pre-order is underway at jumpshotmovie.com.
“Jump Shot” got two of its most important assists from NBA superstars Steph Curry and Durant. Hamilton had simply hoped for an interview when, through a connection between an executive producer and a chaplain for USA Basketball, the former Golden State Warriors teammates were introduced to Sailors’ legacy. The crew flew to Oakland and were invited to Durant’s home. Partway through the screening, KD asked for the film to be paused. Hamilton feared the worst, a bored millennial. In reality, the former Longhorns star was mesmerized. “These are moves that I’m doing today,” Hamilton recalls Durant telling them. “I was literally working on this in practice this week, and Kenny was doing this 60-70 years ago? This is unbelievable.”
Curry took his adoration a step further when he told Hamilton he was not only up for an interview, but wanted to get more involved. That’s how basketball’s greatest jump shooter became an executive producer. Both players are interviewed in the film, along with a lineup of basketball legends — from Dirk Nowitzki to Bob Knight, Nancy Lieberman and Clark Kellogg. Their astonishment at Sailors’ pioneering shot, particularly a photograph that appeared in Life magazine in 1946, will resonate with basketball fans.
April 9, 2020 | 6:35 pm EDT Update
When this all ends, whenever that is, what’s the one thing you’re most looking forward to doing on that first day? Dion Waiters: Just trying to hoop. Just vibe out and hoop. I’ve had damn near the whole season off. I’m trying to get back and hoop. I got something to prove at the end of the day. During this quarantine I’ve been dieting, getting my weight down, getting in shape. For me, it’s just playing basketball.
“I am in such debt to the people who worked so incredibly hard on the technical side to make what I believe is still magic — there might be some elves involved, it is Disney after all,” ‘The Jump” host Rachel Nichols told Insider. “I can’t believe that they were able to figure out a way to produce an entire television show with everybody at home, not a single person in our television facility.”
April 9, 2020 | 6:29 pm EDT Update
If nothing else at a time when the Clippers have more questions than answers amid the NBA’s hiatus because of COVID-19, the team is confident in at least one thing to be true. Should the season resume, the same roster that had been dogged by injuries since last summer is on track to be the healthiest it has been. “The Kawhi [Leonard] we’ll see will be in phenomenal shape,” coach Doc Rivers said, adding that Paul George “is another guy that’s goig to be in phenomenal shape. Reggie [Jackson], who was injured when we got him, will now be healthy.”
Since there is a pause on all roster transactions across the league, the 10-day contract Noah signed remains in effect one month later. That has left the former defensive player of the year able to work into shape under the supervision of the team’s medical and performance staffs. “It’s been great for him,” Rivers said. “There are certain individuals who this rest period, or whatever this is called, has been a benefit, and Jo is one of them for sure because he’s got a chance now to get healthy, and to get in shape and that will be a factor for him. He will be a guy that will be able to help us.”
A whopping 72% of Americans polled said they would not attend if sporting events resumed without a vaccine for the coronavirus. The poll, which had a fairly small sample size of 762 respondents, was released Thursday by Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business. When polling respondents who identified as sports fans, 61% said they would not go to a game without a vaccine. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 3.6%.
Storyline: Coronavirus
NBA star DeMarcus Cousins first hired Noordin Said to be his personal security guard in 2015 during All-Star weekend in New York. From there, the two hit it off, and Said worked the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the 2017 All-Star weekend in New Orleans at Cousins’ side. Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green hired Said to be his personal security guard during the 2018 playoffs, and Said worked this season with Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo at most home games.
Storyline: Coronavirus
April 9, 2020 | 5:21 pm EDT Update
As the coronavirus pandemic continues across the world, NBA owners are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. The league plans to keep all options to resume the season available for the time being, sources told ESPN, but the financial realities of the situation demand near immediate action. That has become clear in talks between the NBA, the National Basketball Players Association and player agents, sources told ESPN, as the league tries to get its finances in order in the event the rest of the season must be canceled.
Storyline: Salary Reductions
The league’s CBA includes a force majeure clause, enabling owners to cancel games and recover salary in the event of a pandemic. This clause also gives the league a 60-day window within which it can rip up the CBA entirely — effectively beginning a work stoppage. No one wants to do that. But it underscores the gravity of the situation. Still, in recent years the two sides have worked as well together as ever, and the CBA isn’t set to expire until 2024.
The agreement between owners and players in the last CBA calls for roughly splitting revenue 50/50 and also splitting the coming losses. So, the owners want to hold back a percentage of players’ checks going forward — both giving them extra money they can use now, if needed, and also to help balance the books in the event some, or all, of the remainder of the season is canceled. From an economic standpoint, both sides would prefer to limit the pain of the shutdown to only this season and not start next season with IOUs on the ledger. Setting the money aside now would help do that.
Karnisovas will have full decision making over basketball operations, including the futures of Forman, head coach Jim Boylen, and the entire coaching staff. He was even asked about Paxson, and had the option of having the organization move on from the long-time Bulls executive if that’s what he desired. However, a source indicated that Karnisovas had no issues with the Reinsdorfs keeping Paxson around.
There were multiple reports that the search angered a handful of African American executives around the league, who felt like people of color weren’t involved in the searching process by the Bulls. A source close to the situation, however, indicated that not only did Michael Reinsdorf reach out to multiple minority candidates to try and get interviews – but was denied permission to do so by their current organizations, and in some cases simply turned down.
April 9, 2020 | 5:10 pm EDT Update
One of the most indelible images from the night the NBA shut down was a young girl crying at a Sacramento Kings game. Her tear-stained face and broken heart reflected how many people felt about the temporary end of life as we knew it and the indefinite stoppage of sports. That girl’s name is Sophie, and Kings player Harry Giles wanted to make her feel better. So he recently sent her and her brother a sweet video message. He apologized for the way their last game ended, and to make up for it, he invited them to a Kings game when sports are back underway. Not surprisingly, Sophie was extremely excited.

Shelby Delaney of the Summit Medical Center in Oakland was one of the first nurses to volunteer to help coronavirus patients at the hospital. Curry made sure the 27-year-old knew how important that was. “I can’t thank God enough for what you’re doing and just the sacrifice, the selflessness and the way everybody’s coming together,” Curry told her on the call. “Thank you so much for just what you do, your heart and the inspiration you provide for everybody.”
April 9, 2020 | 5:02 pm EDT Update
“I have an organization who basically gave me the keys,” Beal said. “‘We’re going to build around you. We’re going to get guys around like’ – if I go anywhere else, granted, it may be a good team, but I would be a piece. Who knows if my role would be the same? My role here is, I love what it is. I love [Scott] Brooks. I love what we have. I love our young guys. I think the fact that we actually have guys that are committed to getting better.”
Lowe opened the podcast by giving Beal the opportunity to address the omission: “I was angry, but I wouldn’t say I played angry because of that,” Beal said. “At the end of the day, I wanted to make the playoffs. The All-Star game was what it was. I’m not mad at you for your votes. For me, I will never take that moment away from the other 24 guys. Because that was me two years ago and a year ago. I can’t sit here and take that moment away from Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell and guys who got their first one.
April 9, 2020 | 4:50 pm EDT Update
Eric Gordon said he would not object to having a season restarted in a sequestered location, one of the ideas the NBA is considering. But he also indicated it is too soon to know if even that will be possible. “That sounds like almost our only option,” Gordon said. “That’s the only thing that can make sense. Just coop us up in a hotel for months and see if we can have that chance to have the season. It’s still a dicey situation, so we’re just hoping this virus calms down and goes away quickly. As of right now, it doesn’t seem like it is.”
Storyline: Season Suspension