The Golden State Warriors dominated during the 2015-16 NBA regular season before falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals. With the significantly higher salary cap, the 73-win team will even become scarier next season, as they are expected to add big names to their already-loaded roster.
It will not be a walk in the park, though, since they need to make tough decisions. First, Harrison Barnes. The promising forward is a restricted free agent this summer. The Warriors can match offers to keep him. But based on recent rumors, the former North Carolina standout could change zip codes soon.
The Warriors are currently focused on pursuing Kevin Durant, the most coveted free agent this summer. If the Warriors sign the former NBA Most Valuable Player, Barnes is likely gone. Either he will be allowed to sign elsewhere or the Warriors will take advantage of any leverage they have.
Barnes to Philadelphia 76ers for Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor?
According to San Jose Mercury News analyst Tim Kawakami, the Warriors could execute a sign-and-trade deal with the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers are reportedly interested in acquiring Barnes, ESPN insider Marc Stein revealed.
Knowing that the Warriors just need to match any offer to keep Barnes, the 76ers could eventually settle for a sign-and-trade agreement. If Barnes cooperates, the 24-year-old will sign a contract with the Warriors, who will then ship him to Philadelphia. The Warriors will likely ask for a package involving Okafor or Noel, who are both on trading block.
Why Will the Golden State Warriors Agree to the Deal?
The Golden State Warriors will get valuable assets instead of losing Barnes for nothing. Getting Noel or Okafor via sign-and-trade will address their frontcourt need, especially now that Andrew Bogut could be dealt as well. Festus Ezeli and Anderson Varejao are also free agents this summer.
Why will the Philadelphia 76ers Make the Trade Happen?
Noel and Okafor have promising careers ahead of them, but the 76ers are looking forward to the NBA debut of former first-round pick Joel Embiid. Adding Barnes will also give the 76ers a reliable wing man, who could also bring winning mentality to the young 76ers squad. Barnes has proven he can also score and produce big numbers if needed.