July 26, 2016, 6:01 pm
Marc J. Spears of ESPN spoke with Harrison Barnes about his free agency and the changes that have gone on for him since the Warriors signed Kevin Durant.
In the story, Barnes discusses how he feels that the “decision was made for [him]”, which echoes what we’ve been hearing from him all off-season, and is also a fairly accurate description of what happened.
The fact is that Golden State clearly didn’t want to offer a contract to Barnes until after they had heard from Kevin Durant. It’s not hard to understand why this could be a tough thing to hear, especially after Barnes was an important part of the team during both trips to the finals.
An interesting note in this story is that while many point to the increased salary that Barnes got by rejecting the extension offer that the Warriors gave him last season, he also gained the ability to choose where he ended up this season. A trade certainly could have been on the table this off-season had he signed that extension, and not signing led to him deciding where he wanted to be most, if that wasn’t Oakland.
The other side of that is that Barnes may not have been traded if he had signed, and the Warriors may have held on to him for that amount instead of trying for Durant. It’s tough to know for sure, but deciding between Harrison Barnes on a max contract and Kevin Durant on a one year deal with a player option is not a tough choice. If you have Barnes locked up for what you deem to be a good value well below the max, then maybe you have to think more about trading him, especially after winning 73 games.
Barnes also discussed the fact that he sent personalized messages to his teammates through text after his departure. He still seems to have a close relationship with them, which was not a guarantee after reports came out that players from the Warriors have been recruiting Kevin Durant for a while now. This is always good to see, and you would hate for him to be on a team that he feels is trying everything they can to replace him, including his teammates.
For now, it may be best for Barnes to forget about how everything unfolded, and move on to his new opportunity in Dallas. Barnes is still a very young player that the Mavericks certainly hope can be a vital part of their franchise moving forward, and concentrating his energy and time on his new team and teammates may be the best move going forward.