Yesterday it was announced by Warriors general manager Bob Myers that the front office and forward Harrison Barnes have not agreed on a contract extension.
Barnes was a member of the 2012 NBA Draft class, meaning he had until October 31st to sign an extension from his rookie contract. Golden State offered the 4th year forward a four-year, $64 million contract last month, but the offer was obviously declined.
This means now that Harrison Barnes will hit restricted free agency in July 2016. Barnes can sign an offer sheet from any other of the 29 teams, and Golden State can match it if they have the cap space.
This is a very high-risk, high-reward situation. Since Barnes declined the contract offer and is going to wait out the year, he is taking a big risk. Say he gets injured or his production drops, come next summer he could be getting offers for significantly less. However, there is also a high reward, as the salary cap is going to be increased and teams will have more money to spend. Lets say Barnes has an All-Star type season, teams will definitely be trying to go after him with big-buck offers.
Last year, head coach Steve Kerr inserted Barnes into the starting lineup and did very well for himself on this deep Warriors team. But for Barnes, that is in the past, as he is already making plans for the summer.
He was a key piece for the Warriors in their Finals run so management will do what they can to keep him around for a long time. Like stated earlier, the salary cap is projected to go up next summer, so more teams will have spending cash which could be a good thing for a guy like Barnes having a “prove-it” type season.
As far as a prediction, I can see the Warriors trying to shed out some contracts and doing what they can to keep Barnes. If he does not have one of his best of seasons, he could end up with offers way less than the original $64 million that was on the table.
Bottom line, I do see Barnes on the Warriors for quite some time, but in the NBA things can change. I would not be surprised if he waits it out come free agency and certain teams with small forward needs (looking at you Portland, Phoenix, and possibly Charlotte) make a run at him. Again, this is way too early in the year and those teams mentioned are just my guesses. Barnes is an interesting free agent and anything can happen from now until July.