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Report: Warriors believe Harrison Barnes worth $20 million next season

2016 NBA Finals - Game Three

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 08: Harrison Barnes #40 of the Golden State Warriors reacts in Game 3 of the 2016 NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on June 8, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Harrison Barnes effectively said he’d like to stay with the Warriors but it’s not his call.

It’s Golden State’s call.

With Barnes set to become a restricted free agent, the Warriors can match any offer sheet he signs. If they want to keep him, they will.

Sean Deveney of Sporting News:

Barnes is expected to receive and offer of at least $20 million per year
One source within the organization pointed out that Lacob and the Warriors owners have, indeed, said all along that he will pay to keep a winning team together, and that has not changed.
The one possible scenario in which Barnes leaves, the source said, would be if he approached the Warriors front office with a request to be elsewhere.

Barnes will command a max salary – projected to be about $23 million – in next summer’s cap environment. It shouldn’t have taken the Warriors’ front office long to figure that out.

The bigger question is how long it takes their players.

I’m not sure how well it goes over in the locker room if Barnes is the highest-paid player. Yes, it’s purely contextual. Yes, the union could’ve avoided the issue by accepting cap smoothing. But you tell that to Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry.

This is one of the reasons signing Kevin Durant is so appealing (besides the fact that he’s Kevin freaking Durant). Golden State would likely let Barnes walk to clear enough cap space and therefore avoid a potentially tense situation.

If the Warriors strike out on Durant and want Barnes back, Barnes has the leverage to get a max salary. He could take a discount, but it’s unlikely he’d accept less than the team-high $16,663,575 Thompson is due to make next season.

Again, paying Barnes more than $20 million is perfectly reasonable next summer from a roster-building approach. But for team chemistry, I’m less convinced it flies.

Then again, re-signing Barnes and dealing with a few bruised egos might trump letting a key contributor walk without having the cap flexibility to replace him.