The NBA silly season is set to begin. Your July 4th holiday is likely going to be full of cookouts, fireworks, and refreshing Twitter to see where some of the biggest names in the League will sign.
As part of that process, teams that originally had the contract with a player have been speaking with them and their agents to save them from going out into the wild. Two of these players are former Tar Heels, Harrison Barnes and Theo Pinson.
Barnes being a free agent was a slight surprise to most people, to put it kindly. During the season, Barnes was traded to Sacramento and had one year left on a deal that would have paid him $25.1 million. The year was his option, though, and on June 18th, Adrian Wojnarowski dropped one of the many bombs that we will see this summer:
Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes is declining his $25.1M player option and becoming an unrestricted free agent, his agent, Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports, tells ESPN. Barnes, 27, and Kings are open to exploring a new deal together this summer, sources said.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 18, 2019
Check out the responses to that tweet if you want to be entertained. It’s fair to say a lot of people didn’t understand why Harrison Barnes would decline $25 million.
It turns out, Barnes knew what he was doing. On Friday, word came down that, for a couple of million less, Barnes is going to get a lot more security:
I've heard the same as Sacramento's own @CarmichaelDave: The Kings intend to offer Harrison Barnes a four-year deal worth nearly $90 million when free agency opens Sunday at 6 PM ET https://t.co/SPrE4LDhhZ— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 28, 2019
The per-year does end up being a little less than the $25 million that Barnes opted out of, but the move gives him another four years in the league, in a city where things are starting to come together. As a founding member of the Warriors dynasty, there’s no doubt that Sacramento views Barnes as important experience as a young team starts to close in on playoff contention.
Meanwhile, across the country, another player was seeing his first contract come to an end in Brooklyn, and the Nets had to decide if they were going to keep him around for another year. Theo Pinson started the season in the G-League after being an undrafted free agent in 2018. He impressed enough to get multiple call ups to the big club, and by the end of the season the Nets gave him a full league deal.
As an undrafted free agent, Pinson’s contract immediately comes up for renewal, and word came today that the Nets would be fine with Pinson coming back for another year:
The Brooklyn Nets have extended a qualifying offer to Theo Pinson, making him a restricted free agent, league sources told @TheAthleticNBA.— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) June 28, 2019
The Nets have the right to take the offer back, as there’s a chance they’ll do for their bigger restricted free agent, D’Angelo Russell. That said, the act of putting this out there is a sign that Pinson has caught the attention of other NBA teams, and the Nets didn’t want to lose him without getting something in return. It means that one way or another, Pinson should be on an NBA roster next season.
Buckle up, as the silly season is just getting started.