Report: Sixers to make run at restricted free agent Harrison Barnes
After his Finals performance a lot of people are going to say “are you $&@$(% kidding me?!?” But Harrison Barnes is about to get paid. Like near the max of $22 million paid.
Golden State has his rights and can match any offer, but there is a sense around the league that they are looking at a retooling on the fly — targeting Kevin Durant or Al Horford — and they might let Barnes go. Teams are going to try and poach him.
One of those is Philadephia, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
The Sixers plan to be serious suitors for Golden State restricted free agent Harrison Barnes at the start of free agency, league sources say— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 28, 2016
The Warriors would have to shed Barnes if they're fortunate enough to win the Durant Sweepstakes; Barnes has made it clear he hopes to stay.— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 28, 2016
This makes sense for the Sixers. They are loaded with young talent up front — Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid — and Barnes fits in with that age group, can play the three or the four, hits threes, and comes with the kind of experience young players often lack.
The free agency signing moratorium plays into the Warriors’ hands here. By July 9 when Barnes can formally sign a contract — either an offer from another team or re-signing with Golden State — the Warriors will know whether they landed Durant or Horford or swung any other big moves. If they did, they let Barnes go, if they don’t they bring him back regardless of price.
Barnes averaged 11.7 points a game, shot 38 percent from three, is active off the ball, and he is long and defends fairly well. His development seemed to stall out last season, but teams are betting that was more due to his role on the Warriors than anything else. It’s a risk to take a role player (even a talented young one) and thrust him into a new situation, but some teams — including the Sixers — will bet that his stock is still on the rise.