Everybody knows that the Los Angeles Lakers has over $64 million of salary space cap coming into this summer and head coach Luke Walton wants to use this as their leverage to gain interest on top free agents, who could blend in well with his system of play. Rumor has it that Harrison Barnes is getting huge interest from the Lakers’ front office to be part of their rebuilding process and hopes that they would get a positive response when they start their negotiations.
The 23-year old Barnes is a restricted free agent this summer meaning that can be signed to an offer sheet with another team, but his current club reserves the right to match the offer and keep him. With a proposal that the Lakers would offer Barnes, the Warriors might be able to match since they have to unload players just to fill in their cap space within the rules and guidelines of the league.
One team that will most likely be out of contention to pursue Barnes is the Washington Wizards, who opted to sign a max deal with Bradley Beal. Barnes, on the other hand, is coming off this season with a base salary of $3.8 million out of his four-year contract worth $8.7 million with the Warriors. If Barnes leaves the Warriors, it could mean that he wants a maximum contract deal to secure his future and that is what the Lakers can offer.
Writer Grant Hughes predicted that Barnes will easily sign up with the Lakers with his connection with Walton, but it remains to be seen if the Lakers are willing to offer him a maximum deal at $21 million. However, Hughes is positive that Barnes will be an asset with the Lakers in training Brandon Ingram and help Julius Randal gain experience inside the paint.
“Even if we assume the Lakers tab Brandon Ingram with the No. 2 overall pick, Barnes still makes sense. He’s always been most effective at the 4, so he could start over Ingram, play alongside Julius Randle and occupy either forward spot depending on matchups,” Hughes stated.
Even his teammate Andrew Bogut stated that Barnes has also sacrificed his playing time to help the Warriors attain their goals this season. Bogut believes in Barnes capability and said that it would be a mistake for teams not go give him a maximum contract with his skills and talents as a player on both ends of the floor.
“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.”
It is for sure that Barnes will opt for free agency this summer and teams such as the Lakers are for sure to make a run signing him up as part of their rebuilding process for next season. Who knows Barnes might end up playing with LeBron James and Kevin Durant, who are also being considered by the Lakers organization.
Photo Courtesy: Harrison Barnes @iHarrisonBarnes/Twitter