Yes, the Kevin Durant fantasies are still lingering. It’s fun to speculate, lord knows we do our fair share on this site. But the Warriors have to know it’s probably not happening.
With that in mind, they’re just going to keep the gang together. There’s really no reason not. They just won 73 games. Basketball teams literally have never been better than that. Why mess with that over a fantasy?
So Barnes will hit the market, sign an offer sheet, and the Warriors will match. Same goes for Festus. That’s 100% going to happen. At this point it’s just a matter of figuring out where those offer sheets are going to come from.
The big team to watch for with Barnes is the Lakers. Luke Walton is going to want to bring a Warrior or two with him to Los Angeles, and the Lakers have more than enough cap space to max Barnes out without denting their long-term flexibility. Minnesota might jump in the race as well, but the Lakers seem like the early favorite.
Festus is a much tougher nut to crack. He’s a great defender at his best, but he’s very rarely actually at his best. He’s had injury issues, but more than that he’s just inconsistent. His offense ranges from bad to unplayable and there’s not much rhyme or reason to those swings.
He’s young and has plenty of upside, but no reputable contender is going to look at him. It’s going to be a younger team with cash to burn and other options at center should Festus fail. Boston might sniff around. Minnesota could as well if Tom Thibodeau thinks Karl Anthony-Towns is a power forward (he isn’t, but still). Dallas is a fit if they want to start moving towards the post-Dirk era. Even Chicago is an option.
But there’s not a clear favorite here. In fact, the likeliest scenario is that Festus misses out on the early bonanza and some team comes to him as a plan B or C. They’d know that the Warriors would match, but hey, there’s no reason not to try and they could at least foist a bigger tax bill upon Golden State. In any case, both remain Warriors, just in a higher tax bracket.
Barnes Likely Contract: Four Years, Max
Ezeli Likely Contract: Four Years, $64 Million