The Golden State Warriors could eventually let go of Harrison Barnes, when the fourth-year forward becomes a free agent after the 2015-16 NBA season.
Barnes, who was the seventh overall pick of the Warriors during the 2012 NBA Draft, will become a restricted free agent this summer and is expected to get a lot of attention on the market.
The Warriors still hold an ace because they can match offers to keep Barnes, but Golden State could eventually lose the former North Carolina standout if he gets a lucrative offer elsewhere.
And according to Warriors center Andrew Bogut, Barnes can actually receive a max or a near-max contract in the offseason from another team.
"Somebody's going to give him the max," Bogut said of Barnes via CSN Bay Area. "Let's be honest: Someone's going to give him close to the max. There's always a small-market team that would love a guy like Harrison as their No. 1 or No. 2 option."
Barnes reportedly turned down a four-year, $64 million contract extension from the Warriors last season, as he is determined to gauge his value in free agency. The 23-year-old and his camp feel that they can get a deal worth around $20 million a year due to the impending increase in salary cap for next season.
However, Barnes is not helping himself this season, as he has been inconsistent all season long. He is averaging just 11.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in 30.5 minutes per game this season, but Bogut thinks that Barnes' numbers this season will not matter this summer.
"We're winning, a lot of guys are sacrificing numbers and minutes and roles on this team. And that's why we're a great team," Bogut said. "Harrison's had great games. He's had bad games, just like everybody else on this roster. So I don't anticipate it affecting his contract situation."
NBA insider Tim McMahon of ESPN reported earlier this month that the Dallas Mavericks could be one of the teams who will express strong interest in signing Barnes.
According to McMahon, the Mavericks could play Dirk Nowitzki at center and Chandler Parsons at power forward next season, which will force them to sign a two-way small forward. Aside from Barnes, Charlotte Hornets small forward Nicolas Batum was also mentioned as potential target for the Mavericks.