Denver Nuggets sixth man Will Barton becomes an unrestricted free-agent this offseason after turning down his four-year, $42 million contract prior to season end. Barton told ESPN’s Chris Haynes he wants to sign with a team where he’ll “have a bigger role.”
Barton, 27, had his best season as a pro in 2017-18 averaging a career-high 15.7 points along with 5.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 33.1 minutes per game off Denver’s bench. Barton provided a spark off the pine with his improved play on both ends of the floor. In the final 13 games of 2017-18, with the Nuggets desperately chasing a playoff spot and Gary Harris injured, Barton stepped it up as a starter, averaging 19.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.5 three-pointers per game while nailing 40.0% of his three-pointers.
“I think the biggest things I’m looking for is respect, honesty and a team that’s going to be real aggressive and show that they really want me,” Barton said of where he’ll end up in free-agency. “I want to be where I can be able to showcase my entire game on a regular basis, somewhere they really believe in me and are ready for me to have a bigger role.”
Barton desires to go to a team where he will become a starter and make an impact.
Three teams who should sign the high energy guard…
3. Philadelphia 76ers
Rumors say the Philadelphia 76ers will go after superstars LeBron James and Paul George this offseason with money to spend this offseason. Though that may be true, secondary options in players like Will Barton or Tyreke Evans may suit them better.
With sharpshooter J.J. Redick becoming an unrestricted free-agent this summer with uncertainty if he’ll return, Barton could be his replacement. Like Redick, Barton would provide a spark and would lighten the scoring load from Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
Philadelphia signed Redick to a one-year, $23 million deal a season ago. Barton’s could be similar to that if they decide to go after him.
2. Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns are in the midst of a rebuild but have young talent in Devin Booker and Josh Jackson to entice free-agents with and currently have the highest odds to land the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Though Phoenix likely won’t be contenders next season, Barton could fulfill that “bigger role” he desires with Phoenix. Sure, the Suns have Booker, Jackson, and T.J. Warren, but Barton’s defensive prowess can potentially give him a starting job.
"I'm done not making the playoffs. I'm serious. This is probably my last year ever not making the playoffs." — Devin Booker as the @Suns wrapped up the season and look ahead to a big offseason. pic.twitter.com/QB9gW8HMdC
— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) April 11, 2018
Barton, a high-energy guy, likely would love Booker’s vision of never again ending a season in April. Barton hasn’t reached the postseason since his second season as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers in 2013-14.
1. Denver Nuggets
Despite having the desire to move elsewhere, Will Barton’s best option may be to re-sign with Denver. Sure, he wants to be more of a focal point for a team, but he still did average 33.3 minutes per game in 2017-18 despite playing behind the up-and-coming star duo of Gary Harris and Jamal Murray.
The Nuggets finished just 1.0 games behind Minnesota (lost to them in the final win-or-go-home game of the season to miss playoffs), good for 9th in the Western Conference.
Denver will likely be a playoff contender again next season. If Barton wants an even balance of a “bigger” role and winning, the Nuggets is the best option.
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