The Charlotte Hornets are unlikely to keep swingman Matt Barnes after acquiring him with Spencer Hawes in the trade that sent Lance Stephenson to the Clippers, thus making Barnes a probable free agent by the end of the month.
“It is unlikely Charlotte keeps Barnes, who’ll become a free agent,” wrote Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who initially broke news of the trade.
Barnes would be owed $3.5 million for the 2015-16 season should the Hornets keep him, but only $1 million of that total salary is guaranteed if Barnes is waived by July 1. For the Hornets, the primary motivations for the deal appear to be financial relief from ditching Stephenson’s contract, so they’d like the extra savings.
Barnes is 35 years old — which could make him an awkward fit on a non-contender such as Charlotte — but he remains a solid perimeter defender. Additionally, shooting percentages of 44.4-percent from the field, 36.2-percent from behind the arc and 77.9-percent on free throws were all near career bests for Barnes, who averaged 10.1 points and 4.0 rebounds in 29.9 minutes per game. It would certainly seem logical for a contender to see him as a viable role player, albeit likely in a smaller role than the one given to Barnes in recent years by the depth-challenged Clippers.
That said, Barnes also remains a lightning rod for controversy — like when he drew a $50,000 fine for his comments directed at James Harden’s mother during the 2015 playoffs. So any interested teams would likely need a strong locker-room presence to help keep the veteran forward in check.
Charlotte could keep Barnes through the NBA Draft on June 25, in case they need him as salary filler in a trade. But if that doesn’t happen, his release seems inevitable, and the line of suitors can form.
NETS SHOP MASON PLUMLEE IN HOPES OF MOVING UP IN DRAFT
The Nets are shopping big man Mason Plumlee in hopes of moving up in the NBA Draft, reports Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
Despite barely making the playoffs in the weak Eastern Conference, Brooklyn now holds only the No. 29 selection in the June 25 draft because of a pick swap they agreed to in 2012 with the Atlanta Hawks when acquiring Joe Johnson. As a result, they’d certainly like to move higher in hopes of acquiring a young building block as they attempt to retool their veteran-laden roster.
Plumlee was a first-round pick himself in the 2013 draft, and he put up a respectable 8.7 points and 6.2 rebounds in 21 minutes per game last season. But after starting off well following a strong offseason with the US national team and his former college coach Mike Krzyzewski, Plumlee gradually saw his production taper off and eventually found himself on the fringe of Lionel Hollins’ rotation in Brooklyn.
At just 25 years old and entering only his third NBA season, the former Duke product still has some upside. And given the dearth of quality big men in the NBA these days, that should help Brooklyn GM Billy King move up in the draft, if that’s what he wants. The question is how much.
OTHER NEWS FROM AROUND THE LEAGUE
New Denver coach Michael Malone was introduced to the media in a press conference Tuesday, and he made it clear that he expects changes to his team’s roster over the coming summer.
“The roster we have today will not be the roster we have in training camp,” Malone said in comments captured by BSNDenver.com.
After winning 57 games in the 2012-13 season and finishing as the West’s No. 3 seed, the Nuggets have dramatically declined since, winning 36 and 30 games, respectively, in the past two seasons.
Point guard Ty Lawson and power forward Kenneth Faried were given big contracts to be the team’s cornerstones moving forward, but both are said to be on the trading block this offseason as Denver looks to remake itself. Considering the comments from Malone, those rumors could further heat up as free agency approaches in the coming days.
The Los Angeles Clippers are set to unveil a new logo and new uniforms this week, reports Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles.
“Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is expected to formally make the announcement as early as Thursday,” Markazi wrote. “The Clippers have already begun the process of switching out the old logos at the team’s training facility in Playa Vista, California.”
The Clippers are also adding black as a new color, including a new black alternate uniform, according to several reports. Several images have been already been leaked of the alleged new design, including the three jerseys with the primary colors (but not the black one).
Ben DuBose is a veteran sports reporter who has followed the Houston Rockets and the NBA since Hakeem Olajuwon was Akeem Olajuwon. He writes for both SheridanHoops and ClutchFans, an independent Rockets blog. You can follow him on Twitter.