There’s no two ways about it. Nuggets swingman Will Barton is in the midst of one of his best years as a pro. His 15.3 points per game are the most since he entered the league in 2012, and he’s doing it on the most efficient shooting percentages of his six NBA seasons.
In short, he’s living up to the massive expectations he put on himself last summer when he apparently declined a rather generous offer from Denver. According to a new report, Barton reportedly turned down a four-year, $42 million contract extension in order to gamble on himself.
Barton will become an unrestricted free agent after this season, and the versatile, athletic wing is hedging his bets that his improved play will ultimately land him the massive payday he’s looking for this summer.
Via Chris Haynes of ESPN:
“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. “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.”
“But I love Denver. I really want to stay with the Nuggets. This is where I got my shot, and I’m so thankful.”
It’s certainly an admirable move on Barton’s part, and an impressive one at that given how he’s performed this season. But unfortunately, the market simply may not be there. NBA teams already were already proceeding more cautiously last summer after the 2016 free agent free-for-all landed several teams in salary cap trouble, a trend that is expected to continue this offseason.
Still, Barton could potentially end up finding what he’s looking for, whether that’s in Denver or elsewhere. The only way for him to find out was to roll dice, and so far he’s definitely holding up his end of the bargain.