When Nuggets wing Will Barton opted out of his contract for next season, it seemed like he could be headed elsewhere.
That was never the case, Barton said in his first press conference since re-signing with the Nuggets. Barton planned all along to stay put, calling it a “simple decision,” Mike Singer of the Denver Post writes.
Barton declined his $14.7MM player option in mid-July with the hopes of getting more in free agency. He received slightly more money and an added year of security, signing a two-year, $30MM contract. He’ll make $15.6MM in year one and $14.37MM in the second year, along with approximately $1MM in unlikely bonuses each season.
Barton stayed in touch with several Nuggets teammates before agreeing to the contract.
“All the guys wanted me back,” he said. “They knew I wanted to be back.”
Barton has been on the Denver roster longer than any current player and didn’t want to leave his comfort zone. The contending team was also comfortable with him being one of its rotation wings.
“I always knew the interest was mutual,” he said.
The key now is for Barton to be more of a postseason contributor. The 6’6″ wing averaged 12.7 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 3.2 APG during the regular season while shooting 42.6% from the field, 38.1% from 3-point range, and 78.5% from the free throw line. However, he only appeared in three playoff games due to a hamstring injury. During Denver’s postseason run in the Orlando bubble last summer, Barton didn’t play due to a leg injury.
“I feel like the only thing I haven’t done is perform at a high level in the playoffs, and that’s been because of basically, either injuries or not being available,” he said.