Kevin Durant’s decision to join the Golden State Warriors didn’t just affect his new team and his old team. It affected the free agency of restricted free agent Harrison Barnes. The Warriors had the rights to match any offer sheet to Barnes, but as soon as Durant decided to head West, the team needed to cut bait with Barnes. They rescinded his qualifying offer and made him an unrestricted free agent. Shortly after, the Dallas Mavericks pounced on the opportunity to sign him without fear of an offer being matched.
They signed Barnes to a four-year, $94 million deal, but Barnes didn’t exactly feel like he was in control of his destiny during free agency. Despite the decision to look at Dallas and trust them with the next four years of his career, Barnes told Marc Spears of The Undefeated that Durant’s decision wasn’t a surprise to him based on how his former teammates were talking about the situation. And that his own free agency decision was basically made for him.
“You started to kind of hear rumblings,” Barnes said. “Guys were starting to feel like he was probably going to come that way. It wasn’t a surprise he was coming based on talking to the guys. It wasn’t like, ‘Boom, boom’ [after Durant’s decision].
“That’s where the story gets a little more confusing. It’s more so when that decision was made I texted my teammates and took some time to process it. I got on the phone with my agent and looked at Dallas a lot closer and then I made the decision.”
“The decision was more so made for me,” Barnes said. “I was not necessarily walking away from the situation. I wasn’t saying, ‘I don’t want to be here. I want to go there.’ But at the same time, I’m very excited about Dallas. It gives me an opportunity to grow.”
It’s not that Barnes wasn’t important to the Warriors but he understandably wasn’t their top priority. They had to make sure they could get Durant before they made a decision on Barnes. If Durant decided to stay in Oklahoma City or even go elsewhere that wasn’t the Warriors, Barnes would’ve been back with the team and likely the highest paid player in the locker room. He was their ultimate safety school decision.
Instead, they added one of the top players in the NBA and the Mavericks benefited from it too. They not only ended up signing Barnes but they traded for Andrew Bogut, as well. That adds a very good rim protector and rebounder to the mix and Barnes gives them the opportunity to grow him into a very good offensive weapon next to Dirk Nowitzki.
Courtesy: CBS Sports