Harrison Barnes of the Golden State Warriors will be a restricted free agent when the NBA season comes to a close and rumors are swirling that he could be lured to a sign-and-trade deal with fellow free agent Nicolas Batum of the Charlotte Hornets.
Though nothing official has been laid out but it would be right to speculate that Barnes might be given a $20-23 million maximum deal offer this summer. However, sources are speculating that with other teams pursuing Kevin Durant, Barnes could be considered as a fall-back option if Durant decides to re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder. But the Warriors will have to match any offer to keep Barnes on their roster for next season.
The only thing that could spell out this scenario is when Barnes himself goes to the Warriors front office and tells them that he wants to play elsewhere and reason out that he wants to get a starter position. By this, the Warriors could come up with a sign-and-trade clause that could work in their favor and could use it as a trading chip which would favor them as well. Here is where the Nicolas Batum scenario comes in, rumors are suggesting a trade for both players which will benefit both the Warriors and the Hornets in the process.
For Barnes, whether he stays or leaves, he told Sporting News that he just wants to play and contribute to his team’s effort and help them retain the NBA title. Since Draymond Green is about to face his suspension in Game Five, Barnes would simply be next in line for a starting position come game day.
“This could be my last time getting here,” Barnes said, “regardless if I stayed or left, so I just want to really enjoy this moment and give it all I have. You don’t know. You look at the Spurs, they have guys who could have left multiple times, guys who could have commanded a lot more money, and almost 20 years later, five championships later, here are those guys still there.”
Barnes has turned down a four-year deal worth $64 million last summer from the Warriors in a bid to get a higher paycheck as the NBA salary cap is projected to increase significantly. The fourth-year forward averaged 11.7 points and 4.9 rebounds during the regular season. Both Barnes and Batum have until June 30 to weigh their options this summer but for Barnes, he just wants to play and focus on his assignment at hand, which is to claim their second straight title.
Photo Courtesy: PierreSelim/Wikimedia