I think that was the right move, because there’s a good chance Barnes will get more as a restricted free agent next summer. He might even draw a max deal, projected to be worth more than $120 million over five years with Golden State or more than $89 million over four years elsewhere.
So, it was on the Warriors to increase their offer before Monday’s deadline if they truly wanted to extended Barnes.
Apparently, they won’t do that to a satisfactory level.
Diamond Leung of Bay Area News Group:
This actually might be to the Warriors’ advantage. Barnes will count just $9,683,495 against the cap next summer until signed or renounced. That’s about $11 million less than if he’d signed a max extension (less than if he’d signed the $64 million extension, too).
So, Golden State can complete other moves and then exceed the cap to re-sign Barnes. Plus, because he’ll be a restricted free agent, there’s no risk of him unilaterally leaving.
However, because the Warriors project to be over the cap regardless, that extra flexibility probably won’t mean anything. They’re in line to have the mid-level exception and no cap space to add free agents either way.
On the other hand, Jason Thompson and Shaun Livingston have partially guaranteed salaries for 2016-17. Andrew Bogut‘s and Andre Iguodala‘s contracts expire in 2017, and they might be movable. If Golden State wants to trim salary and make a big splash – looking at you, Kevin Durant – Barnes’ lower cap hold could prove crucial.
This is obviously a risk on Barnes’ part. If he gets hurt or his production regresses, he could get less than $64 million next summer. But with the salary cap skyrocketing under the new national TV contract, I like his chances.