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Report: Nuggets and Will Barton agree on four year, $54 million extension

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Denver will lock in their sixth man and possible starter at small forward for the foreseeable future

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Philadelphia 76ers John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

According to Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports, the Denver Nuggets and Will Barton have come to terms on a four year extension worth $50 million.

The 27-year-old Barton is one of the longest tenured Nuggets on the roster, acquired at the trade deadline in February of 2014. Since then, he has grown into Denver’s most consistent bench scoring presence, averaging 15.7 points, 4.1 assists, and 5.0 rebounds, career highs in the former two. His playmaking in a reserve role has been vital in Denver for a number of years, and after signing a three year, $9.4 million deal prior to 2015-16, it was time for Barton to cash in.

Four years and $50 million sounds like a lot, but the average annual value of $12.5 million isn’t at all absurd for his services. Of all of the players to average 15 points and 4 assists last season that weren’t on rookie contracts, only Kemba Walker, Lou Williams, and Tyreke Evans made less than $12.5 million. Even coming off the bench, it’s a fair contract for his services.

Now, Denver must figure out the rest of their roster. With Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Paul Millsap, and Nikola Jokic locked in as starters for the foreseeable future, Barton will either reprise his role as sixth man or slide into that fifth starter slot. Either would be fine for the Nuggets, who figure to improve via internal improvement. What’s more interesting is Barton’s cap hit, which will likely increase Denver’s salary cap sheet to around $145 million after his and Jokic’s contracts are official.

How does Denver improve beyond this move? How can they shed salary and get closer to the luxury tax line so their impending bill isn’t atrociously high? Can Denver find a starter at small forward so that Barton doesn’t leave the bench, which would turn to shambles without him?

There are still a number of questions regarding this Denver team. Barton re-signing answers one of those, but it raises others. That being said, Barton was a positive player last year, one of the few on Denver’s roster. Retaining him was important. And who’s to say he doesn’t improve beyond his current standing? He has improved every single season, and he’s unlikely to stop now. His game should age like fine wine, which will only help the Nuggets as they look to break through the playoff picture. He’s also a perennial Sixth Man of the Year candidate. There are only so many of those.

Great things are in store for this Nuggets team. It’s nice to see Will Barton will be along for the ride.

Also, Zach Lowe approves. That’s encouraging.

UPDATE: Four years, $54 million with a player option in the fourth year

Chris Haynes of ESPN brings a new set of terms to the deal. $54 million is a lot to pay for a sixth man, so it’s likely Denver will give him an opportunity to earn the starting small forward job next year. The final year being a player option hurts Denver, but it is what it is. The contract went from being a bargain to being about neutral value that way (in my opinion).

Poll

Is 4 years, $54 million a good deal for a perennial Sixth Man of the Year candidate?

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  • 59%
    Yes
    (509 votes)
  • 40%
    No
    (340 votes)
849 votes total Vote Now