Will Barton Reportedly Re-Signs with Nuggets on 2-Year, $32M Contract in FA

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2021

Denver Nuggets guard Will Barton (5) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The Denver Nuggets are reportedly bringing back wing Will Barton on a two-year, $32 million contract, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.  

Barton declined the $14.7 million player option in his previous four-year, $53 million contract with the Denver Nuggets to become an unrestricted free agent during the 2021 NBA offseason.

The 30-year-old University of Memphis product averaged 12.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.8 threes across 56 appearances for the Nuggets in 2020-21. He shot a lackluster 42.6 percent from the field but did knock down 38.1 percent of his three-point attempts.

He rated 34th in ESPN's real plus-minus among qualified small forwards thanks to a strong defensive rating (1.71) that ranked 12th at the position.

Barton joined Denver in a February 2015 trade after spending the first two-plus seasons of his NBA career with the Portland Trail Blazers, who selected him in the second round of the 2012 draft.

Injuries have become a critical part of his story in recent seasons, which is why he described the past two years with the Nuggets as "tough for me, physically and mentally" at season's end.

"And that's just how it goes, sometimes," Barton told reporters in June. "But I just want you to know that's who I am, right? Just someone that keeps fighting and makes no excuses. No excuses."

The Maryland native added he wanted to sign where he'd "be appreciated," whether it was Denver or elsewhere.

Sticking with the Nuggets always made sense for Barton, who's been a starter in recent years but also proved himself an effective player off the bench earlier in his tenure. So he can provide versatility in both position and role based on how the roster shapes up when next season gets underway.

For now, pencil him in as Denver's starting shooting guard while waiting to see whether the front office makes any blockbuster moves to upgrade the supporting cast around Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr.