At age 26, Barton has blossomed into one of the league’s top sixth men, averaging 13.7 points per night and shooting 37% from 3-point range in 60 games this year. He will make a little more than $3.53MM in 2017/18 in the final season of a three-year contract.
The Nuggets expected Barton to test free agency and try to land a big contract in the prime of his career, Haynes adds.
The new collective bargaining agreement allows players on three-year deals to receive extensions starting on the second anniversary of the signing. Barton could have gotten a new deal starting at either 120% of his salary for 2017/18 or the average salary for next season, which is projected at about $9MM. Given 8% annual increases, Barton’s extension would have been valued at about $39MM over four years.
Haynes notes that Barton could be looking at much more, considering the contracts that were handed out to similar players last summer. The Trail Blazers matched a four-year, $75MM offer for Allen Crabbe and gave Evan Turner $70MM over four seasons. The Hawks re-signed Kent Bazemore for four years at $70MM. Barton has outscored each of them over the past two seasons.