NBA Rumor: Will Barton Free Agency

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Nuggets optimistic on re-signing Will Barton

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Barton has until July 17 to exercise his player option for 2021-22, and it would be hard for him to justify turning it down to become a free agent. Despite coming off a season in which he shot a career-high 38.1% from 3 and averaged double-digit points for a sixth straight year, Barton has been bit by the injury bug the past three seasons. In total, Barton has missed 91 games (hip, knee and hamstring) and played only three of Denver’s 29 postseason games over the past two years.

Will Barton: “Playing in that FedExForum every night, sellouts, it did something to me, it did something for me,” said Barton, who was picked 40th overall by Portland in the 2012 draft. “It was like a high being in Memphis, not just on the court, but off the court. Going everywhere and being treated like a rock star. I can go on and on, man. It’s crazy, man. Sometimes I go back and replay it in my head. Sometimes I wish I could go back and feel some of that stuff over again, because it was just a special time for me.”

After betting on himself last season, Barton is in position to reap the rewards of free agency. “Right now, I’m just talking to my agent and he’s keeping me updated with everything,” Barton continued. “I can’t talk too much about it, because it hasn’t officially started. We’ve got a plan and we’re sticking to it. Everything is looking on the up and up, and we’ll see what happens. I know everything will be fine, because we put the work in. We did what we had to do.”

Now Barton has a big decision to make, entering this summer as an unrestricted free agent. And though Barton said he would “love” to be part of another Denver playoff push next season, he also expressed a desire to move into a permanent starting role. “We’re building something real special here,” Barton said Thursday. “I love playing with (Nikola Jokic) and Jamal (Murray) and Gary (Harris). The guys we have in the locker room, I like being around. The coaching staff has really come a long way with trusting me and me trusting them. Just the whole organization, I feel like we’re headed in the right direction.”
3 years ago via ESPN

Barton has come a long way since his DNP-CDs in Portland, but he will face another moment of uncertainty in his NBA career this offseason, when he will be an unrestricted free agent. Last summer, after hiring Aaron Goodwin as his agent, Barton turned down a four-year, $42 million extension in early October, league sources told ESPN. That was the most Denver could offer, given salary-cap rules. Goodwin told Barton to bet on himself, and Barton has put up strong numbers. But the 27-year-old will be entering a different market than free agents in recent summers. Due to the abundance of spending after the new TV revenue deal kicked in, money appears to have drastically dried up for this class.
3 years ago via ESPN

To this day, Barton ponders what could’ve been in Portland. “I wouldn’t say I hold any ill will [toward Portland],” he said. “At the end of the day, they drafted me. It just was like, ‘Damn, I wish that I could have made it work.’ It’s like your first girlfriend. I was so close with Dame. He’s always been one of my biggest supporters. It was a dream of mine to play alongside him. We came in together, played Summer League together. How special would it have been with me, him and CJ in the backcourt? “But I love Denver. I really want to stay with the Nuggets. This is where I got my shot, and I’m so thankful.”
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