The Golden State Warriors could sign Harrison Barnes to an extension of his rookie contract anytime between now and Halloween.
Will they is another question. Maybe the better question is can they agree on a price? The Warriors already have five guys on the books making more than $11 million in the 2016-17 season (when Barnes’ extension would kick in) — Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut, Andre Iguodala and Stephen Curry. Barnes started all 103 regular season and playoff games the Warriors had in their championship run, and during the season he averaged 10.1 points a night shooting 40 percent from three, plus pulling down 5.5 boards a game. His versatility fits perfectly with what they do. How much is that worth?
Know this, Barnes wants to stay in Golden State. Here is what he told Diamond Leung of the Bay Area Media Group:
“I mean, we just won a championship,” Barnes said. “Of course I’d love to keep this group together for many years to come, you know what I’m saying? So that’s obvious….
“(Warriors co-owner) Joe Lacob has been obviously very vocal about keeping the team together, so therefore I’m not really too concerned about how it’s going to shake out.”
You have to be impressed with how GM Bob Myers and the Warriors front office put this roster together, not just on the court but financially. Every time someone is due to get paid, a big salary comes off the books. In Barnes case, it will be Gerald Wallace (who is supposed to be coming West in the David Lee trade expected to be finalized Monday). Beyond that, when Curry’s deal ends and they look to max him out, both Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala’s salaries come off the books. They may be able to retain Bogut and/or Iguodala, but likely at more reasonable prices.
What this means is the Warriors have the money to potentially give Barnes, but what is he worth? Green just got five-years, $82 million ($16.4 million average) while Klay Thompson got four-years, $69 million last summer ($17.25 average). Barnes should make less than those guys, but in the eight-figure range? Probably.
Another question is, will Barnes take much less? If the two sides don’t reach an agreement, Barnes becomes a restricted free agent next summer when more than two-thirds of the league will have somewhere close to max money to offer (thanks to the television deal revenue flooding in). It’s a situation ripe to see Barnes get a big deal the Warriors may not want to match.
Barnes wants to stay a Warrior, and the Warriors want to keep Barnes. But that may not be enough to get a deal done. Just something to watch.