The crazy part about where stands with the is that were he on any other team — in any other situation — the debate over his potential extension this fall would be loud, constant and bitterly divided. Instead, for better or worse, it’s a side story, a quiet anecdote on the championship-winning team with several loud narratives.
This is a player who was such a big deal coming out of high school that there was a press conference in which he announced his decision via Skype. But somehow he slipped between the cracks at North Carolina. He was never bad. He simply didn’t stand out, and fell down the draft board to the Warriors. Since then he’s frustrated Golden State fans with his inconsistency, while also developing into a key starter and contributor for a title team at age 23.
The Warriors have committed big money to both and , and have looming for his new, big-money deal in 2017. They have over $74 million tied up for 2016-17 before Barnes’ extension, and only six players on guaranteed deals (several players including are set to be restricted free agents). They do have all the members of the championship “core” locked up through 2017, though, so they clearly have the money and means to retain Barnes.
That with Barnes, which he has yet to accept. Now the question is money, whether an extension limits their ability to pursue next summer, and now much exactly he’s worth.
The Warriors of the Kevin Durant sweepstakes for next summer when KD becomes a free agent. They have real intentions, but as Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News reports, the Warriors would have to engineer a sign-and-trade no matter if they extend Barnes (and Ezeli) or not.
Let’s be clear and blunt: Any Warriors sign-and-trade offer for Durant would have to start with Harrison Barnes.It’d just have to–he plays the same position, he’s young and somebody I’d imagine OKC wouldn’t mind in any deal. But obviously that’d just be a tiny part of it; the Warriors would have to add much more.How about Barnes plus Kevon Looney? Not nearly enough. And the money wouldn’t be nearly enough, either. The Warriors would have to add a lot of money to make it work per CBA rules.So… How about Barnes plus Looney plus… Klay Thompson? That probably got your attention and I’m sure it’d get the Thunder’s attention.Could anybody beat that offer? That might be really tough to top, if it goes on the table.I’m NOT saying the Warriors would make this offer; I don’t know what they do at that point. They’d probably put together several other proposals that don’t include Klay, at least initially.Important points: The Warriors love Klay. They didn’t trade him for Kevin Love and then gave him that huge $69M deal last summer, on the bet that he’d be just as good as he turned out to be last season.He’s a great partner for Curry. That’s a championship-winning backcourt. All of that is understood. There is no way the Warriors would go into any Klay trade talks lightly–that’s PROVEN by last summer.But if Klay is the piece that gets you Durant, theoetically?Kevin Durant plus Curry plus Draymond would be an all-time trio, capable of obliterating the West several times over, I’d think.
Now, if Durant decides to join the Warriors, there’s almost always a deal that can be worked out. We’ve seen this before (), but any deal would still have to involve Barnes. Here’s where it gets kind of interesting.
If the Warriors were to fail to come to terms on an extension with Barnes, they’ll be at around $75 million, with about $15 million of cap space. Durant’s going to be in line for a max contract, which will start at . Which means to sign Durant outright to a max at $25 million, Golden State would only have to clear off around $10 million in space. That’s easier if Barnes signs elsewhere as a free agent, releasing his $5.1 million cap hold. If they waive before June 30st next season, he’s only partially guaranteed. They would then be closer to being within range of the space for Durant.
However, the smarter move might be to sign Barnes to an extension no matter what. Doing so would give the Warriors a productive small forward for the future for what would still be a bargain, even north of the $16 million per year he has yet to accept. This would be wise in the event they do not land Durant. Extending Barnes would also provide them the option to move a player making eight figures in a sign-and-trade. This would get Golden State pretty far toward that $25M figure.
The Barnes extension doesn’t stand as a serious impediment to that pursuit. That alone isn’t a reason to sign him to such a deal, but while not signing him moves the Warriors within range of checkmate by a few moves, signing him to the extension doesn’t limit their rooks at all, so to speak.
One interesting thing about Barnes’ career is how wide a gap there is between the perception of Barnes and the reality. The perception is that he’s the inconsistent wing who hasn’t ever established himself for the Warriors. He’s never really asserted himself or his role, outside of his post play in the 2013 playoffs and a few key moments during last year’s championship run. He tends to disappear for long stretches and that feeds the feeling that he’s simply not important. He’s fine, it’s hard to say he’s inherently bad, but the general feeling is that he’s just kind of there.
Start to dig a little deeper, however, and you can only really come to one conclusion: Though not exceptional, Barnes is a very good wing.
For starters, per 100 possessions last year for the 67-win eventual NBA champions, Barnes averaged 17 points and 9.5 rebounds while shooting 48 percent from the floor. (That was 10 points and 5.5 rebounds per game if you’re not into adjusting for possessions.) . On a team with outrageous on/off numbers, Barnes finished with a plus-12.6 net rating when he was on the court, 2.8 points better per 100 possessions than when he sat.
Again, solid, but not tremendous. What’s difficult is to find serious holes in his game. Via Synergy Sports he ranked above the 50th percentile in spot-up, transition, cut, isolation and pick-and-roll situations (as the screener), including 91st percentile in ISO and 89th percentile spot-up. that Barnes had an effective field-goal percentage (factoring 3-pointers) of 57.8 percent, and shot 56 percent or better with a defender two feet or more from him. In short, he was a knock-down shooter for the league’s most devastating shooting unit. The Splash Brothers rightfully get all the credit for the heat they can apply to the net, and Green clearly established himself as the third-most valuable player on the team, but Barnes contributed to Golden State’s offensive potency in key ways.
For starters, Barnes adapted to spacing, knows how to find ways to get open. There’s absolutely nothing special about this play, except for how quickly Barnes gets to range and how willing he is to knock down this shot. You can talk about this being “easy,” but there’s a reason teams like Memphis and Milwaukee can’t keep up offensively with the Warriors: They hit the shots they need to, and Barnes is a big part of that.
What gets lost with his shooting, though, is how good he is at attacking when teams try and recover from helping out on the Warriors’ stars to cover him. Barnes was 90th Burnley are watching Bologna midfielder Mattias Svanberg.Gazzetta dello Sport says the Premier League duo have been scouting the 20 year-old Swede this season.But their interest in Bologna talent doesn’t end with Svanberg, with it emerging both Brigpercentile last season in drives out of the spot-up, averaging 1.24 points per possession, according to Synergy Sports. His handle’s not excellent, but watch him get to the rim and use the athleticism that made him such a valued prospect to score at the cup.
The problem, of course, arises when Barnes tries to create for himself. Even with his good numbers in limited attempts out of isolation, Barnes isn’t someone you want getting creative with the ball. And his pull-up jumper out of those spot-ups is a mess. (He’s not bad overall on pull-up jumpers at 39.4 percent.)
He’s solid defensively, too, with his only real problem area coming in pick-and-roll coverage, something you’d expect for a player as young as he is.
The counter argument: How can you give big money to a player who isn’t a star, doesn’t create a lot on his own and is only really present as a threat and not a weapon? Well, isn’t that much of what we’ve learned over the past four years in terms of value? Players like Danny Green, DeMarre Carroll and others have seen their stock rise tremendously based on their ability to fit superbly into the systems in which they’ve beore the season finishes is begin to plan for the future…Because ultimately when you come to the transfer market, most of the other clubs are in for the same players that you are in for. You can’t really hide the players that you are after and you nen placed. If we’re going to value 3-and-D players, shouldn’t Barnes — a versatile, 23-year old wing who can shoot, finish and defend — reap the reward of an increased attention on those skills?
The biggest complication to evaluating Barnes today is the simple fact that he plays on such a great team. Not everyone on the Warriors can be a superstar. Barnes fits with the rest of the team, but to downplay his contributions based on what the MVP, Thompson and Green provide is short-sighted. , according to the San Jose Mercury News, way back in June. At that time, the thought was that Barnes wouldn’t demand a “ridiculous salary,” somewhere just north of $10 million. The latest report, combined with Barnes firing his agent for the more aggressive Jeff Schwartz, indicates that’s not the case.
Grantland reported on more lofty financial ideals for Barnes down the line:
Barnes may fit into that equation as something like an Iguodala successor, only with a better 3-point stroke and the size to spend more time at power forward. But he was the fourth option in Golden State’s starting lineup — and the fifth-best playmaker in that group — and guys who don’t create off the bounce don’t typically get mega-extensions unless they are 7 feet tall.But Barnes thrived in that low-usage role for a title team that wants to preserve its dreamy chemistry, and he’s in plum position to demand huge money if he hits free agency. DeMarre Carroll just nabbed $14.5 million per season from Toronto, and he’s six years older than Barnes. There’s only about a $6 million difference between Carroll’s deal and Barnes’s Year 1 max, and if there’s any room for back-and-forth in extension talks, it’s within that space. Barnes won’t come any cheaper.
This is the only tricky part. We’ve established that there’s no real damage to the Warriors in pursuing an extension for Barnes. They’ll still have money to bolster the bench or re-sign players they need to next summer. The core is locked in. They don’t have the luxury tax concerns that small markets need illy was ready to sign for Arsenal this summer.The London Evening Standard says United informed Bailly he would not be allowed to join Arsenal because they are one of the Red Devils’ direct rivals.Bailly was understood to be on Arsenal’s radar at theworry about. Their ownership is not only willing but excited to pay for its championship core, and giving Barnes the extension won’t damage their theoretical pursuit of Durant.
Getting good value for Barnes, though, could be tricky. Barnes does all the good things mentioned above and the problems with him disappearing or his inconsistency could be shaken with a potential relocation to a team that doesn’t have two All-NBA scorers on it. There will be a market for Barnes if he hits free agency, which puts more pressure on Golden State to get a deal done.
At the same time, that value is based on what Barnes would bring a team that needs the kind of talent Barnes possesses … the Warriors don’t. If Barnes were traded for cap fodder tomorrow, they would just plug back into the starting unit and carry on like nothing happened (and then somehow James Michael McAdoo would be a Most Improved Player candidate or something because the Warriors are disgustingly good from top to bottom). Do you really commit big money, just factoring the principle, to a player who is in no way essential to your title hopes, no matter how beneficial he might be?
Barnes is worth the extension Golden State is likely to give him. How much of a discount he takes could have ramifications down the line on what kind of depth the Warriors — who benefited mightily from a loaded bench last season — can afford.