But Barnes isn’t getting an extension, and neither is Ezeli.
Monte Poole of CSN Bay Area:
There’s a decent chance this was a package deal.
A Barnes extension would’ve raised his initial cap number next offseason from $9,683,495 to the starting salary of his extension – a jump that could have decimated the Warriors’ flexibility. I think they would have done that to lock Barnes into a reasonable deal, but they were incentivized to play hardball.
So, once Barnes wasn’t signing an extension, cap flexibility became more of an imperative. An Ezeli contract extension also would’ve surely raised his initial cap number from $5,021,870. If the Warriors had extended Barnes and had no chance of cap room, having even less cap room wouldn’t have hindered them. But with a chance to be under the cap, Ezeli probably would’ve had to accept substantially less than the market rate.
Golden State can make Barnes and Ezeli restricted free agents, and there’s a decent chance both return. But by going this route, the Warriors give themselves a chance to look around – maybe at Kevin Durant.