- Nuggets Forward Will Barton has declined his $14.7M player option for the 2021-22 NBA season to renegotiate a new deal with Denver.
- Barton is the longest tenured Nugget and averaged 12.7 points per game last season.
- The Nuggets are tied wit h the 8th best odds to win the 2021 NBA championship at 25/1 at the BetOnline App.
Denver Nuggets forward Will Barton has declined his $14.7M player option for the 2021-22 NBA season to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Will Barton will decline his player option for next season to become an unrestricted free agent, league sources tell @ChrisBHaynes.
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) July 17, 2021
The 30-year old former 40th overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers has a one-year option to stay with Denver next season but is looking to negotiate a longer deal. But although Barton opted out of his deal, he is expected to negotiate with the Nuggets and there is a strong indication that Denver wants to keep him too.
Longest Tenured Nugget
Longest tenured Nugget with 7 seasons, Barton’s a top priority for Tim Connelly to keep long-term. He started 52 games and averaged 12.7 PPG. He lost several weeks with hamstring injury into start of playoffs, but finished with 25-point performance vs. Suns in elimination game. https://t.co/SV5HNDPmKK
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 17, 2021
Despite Barton opting out, sources are saying that there is a mutual interest between the team and player to negotiate a new deal once the free agency period opens in August. Nuggets president for basketball operations Tim Connelly has previously said that Barton will be a priority for Denver to keep long-term, and rightfully so. At seven years with the team, Barton is the longest tenured Nugget since coming over in 2015 in a trade for Aaron Afflalo. Barton has been a solid contributor as a starter during the last two seasons.
Denver is already over the salary cap with $114.3M in salaries for next season. That amount includes signing the team’s first round pick in 2021 plus the $7.6M option of JaMychal Green whose decision is due on July 26th. But because the Nuggets own Barton’s Bird Rights so they will be allowed to go over the salary cap to re-sign him which is the likely scenario here.
Barton averaged 12.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game this season. However, he suffered a hamstring injury and missed more than one month at the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs. He returned to play in Game 2 of the Nuggets’ second round series against the Phoenix Suns.
Nuggets’ 2022 Odds
— SportsTalkATL Alex (@GeauxSportsTalk) July 13, 2021
According to the BetOnline App, the Nuggets are tied with the Miami Heat for the 8th best odds to win the 2022 NBA championship at 25/1. Denver finished with the league’s 5th best record at 47-25 this season and they were the third seed in the Western Conference.
The Nuggets defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs but struggled in doing so with Guard Jamal Murray and Barton out of action due to injuries. Murray also missed the Suns’ series while Barton returned to play the last three games of that series and averaged 16.3 points per game.
With a healthy Murray next season, Nikola Jokic coming off an MVP-winning season, and Michael Porter Jr. emerging as a superstar, the future is bright for the Nuggets. However, Mike Malone will need veterans to hold the team together. With Paul Millsap also a free agent, re-signing Will Barton will be a key move for the team this summer.