Matt Barnes is coming off one the best seasons of his career and he will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, so it's no surprise that the 33-year-old swingman says he is "definitely looking for a salary increase" in his next contract.
Barnes, who scored a career-high 10.3 points per game in 25.7 minutes per contest for the Clippers this season, recently spoke with Arash Markazi of ESPN about his free agent future. Barnes made a potential pay increase a point of emphasis in the discussion:
"I'm going to sit down and talk to my family and see where the market's at," Barnes said. "I've been one of those guys the last three or four years that's always been a great bargain. I've played for the mid-level and have played well but have yet to see a pay day. Not to say that I'm asking for the world, but I'm definitely looking for a salary increase."
"I had a great season with the Clippers and my family is very comfortable here in L.A.," Barnes said. "So the Clippers are going to be one of my top choices, but we're looking for a pay increase."
Barnes has bounced around the league and played for eight different teams during his 10-year NBA career. He's never banked more than $3 million in salary for a single season. He signed a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum last summer and quickly flourished with the freedom provided by head coach Vinny Del Negro.
Barnes hit his threes at a solid clip (34.2 percent), scored efficiently (56.6-percent true shooting percentage) and disrupted opponents on defense for over 80 games with the Clippers. He provided an excellent value for L.A. as a bench player this season -- the Clippers outscored opponents by 6.8 points per 100 possessions with Barnes on the floor -- but this may be his last chance to sign a big deal. He has earned just $11.35 million in salary over his NBA career, according to Basketball-Reference.
Plenty of contenders will put in a call for Barnes. He's a versatile player who's comfortable coming off the bench, and he's capable of making a big impact on the floor, but this time he may not be prepared to offer his services at a discount. It would be hard to blame a veteran guy like Barnes for chasing some guaranteed money this offseason.