Harrison Barnes has been a key cog in the enormous success enjoyed by the Golden State Warriors over the last few seasons. However, Barnes, a restricted free agent next summer, could be dealt with before next month’s trade deadline, according to latest NBA Trade Rumors.
There are few reasons to back-up this rumor. For starters, the Warriors need to open up cap space to pursue Kevin Durant during the off-season. And second, they need a little more room to offer Stephen Curry a bigger contract in 2017.
Curry is still earning only $11.3 million per season – significantly lower than other marquee players in the league. Agents expect Curry to be offered the biggest contract in NBA history come 2017. In order to offer Curry that kind of money, Warriors need to maintain some cap flexibility.
Even though Barnes would prefer to work things out with Warriors, the swingman could benefit from a bigger role elsewhere. Barnes, 23, is still a role player with the defending champions. However, if he moves to a lower tier team, he could emerge as an instant superstar, a franchise player.
Decision Time: Durant or Barnes?
Barnes’ agents expect the Warriors to offer him a maximum level contract in the off-season. Technically, the Warriors can afford him since they own his bird rights, and can match any offer sheets from other teams. However, if they sign Barnes to a max deal, they effectively rule themselves out of contention for Durant.
HoopsHabit explored an interesting transaction between Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors in which the champions land Thaddeus Young, Bojan Bogdanovic and Markel Brown for Harrison Barnes, Jason Thompson and Marreese Speights. On paper, it’s not a bad deal. However, Young is more of a Power Forward and not a Small Forward like Barnes.
Harrison Barnes is averaging 12.4 points and 4.6 rebounds this season.
Stay tuned for NBA Trade Rumors.