Nuggets small forward Will Barton will not agree to a contract extension this offseason, thus officially joining the 2018 free-agent class, ESPN.com first reported.
Barton, 26, has been one of the NBA's best sixth men for the last few seasons. He's entering the final year of his three-year, $11 million contract. He has averaged 14.4 points and 13.7 points game during the last two seasons, respectively.
There are a couple reasons why Barton could have decided against the contract extension. First, he would probably like to find a team that will utilize him as a starter. Secondly, Barton in line for something along the lines of a four-year, $39 million extension, while last offseason the Trail Blazers matched a four-year, $75 million Nets' offer sheet to retain reserve guard Allen Crabbe and signed backup small forward Evan Turner to a four-year, $70 million deal. The Hawks also signed shooting guard Kent Bazemore to a four-year, $70 million deal.
Barton has arguably had a higher impact over the last couple seasons than those players, and could realistically match or surpass their current contracts.
Health will important for Barton's free agency stock next summer. He has only played one full season (2015-16) since being drafted in the second round in 2012.
Though Barton isn't considered a great shooter — 32 percent career from beyond the arc — he is a great ball-handler and slasher. He could be an ideal off-guard for a team trying to get over the hump.