The Golden State Warriors extend qualifying offers to Barnes and Ezeli

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The Golden State Warriors players may still be smarting from their NBA Finals loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the front office is determined to move on by making plans to reclaim the title next year. 

Immediately after the game seven defeat at the Oracle Arena, Warriors owner Joe Lacob was asked what was next for the team, to which he firmly replied, "All I can say is I will be very aggressive." 

It appears the owner has stuck to his word as the franchise will be busy in free agency which begins tomorrow. 

The Oakland-based outfit has already secured a meeting with Kevin Durant, the best free agent on the market.  They are believed to be meeting the 2014 MVP on July 1 and will make a pitch to him to take his talents to the Bay Area. 

As well as incoming players, though, the Dubs are also keen to keep the free agents on their roster and bring most of their band back together. 

They have now shown their intentions by extending qualifying offers to forward Harrison Barnes and center Festus Ezeli.

The moves were made on Wednesday and mean that the duo will become restricted free agents in July, thus allowing the Warriors to match any offer sheet they sign with another team. 

The move for Durant, if successful, will have to see the organisation part with multiple players to create cap space and Barnes and Ezeli are likely to be among the players sacrificed.

HB averaged a career-best 11.7 points to go with 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists last season and recently named to the U.S. Olympic team. 

The 24-year-old struggled badly in the last three games of the Finals and was one of the reasons why the team collapsed and lost a 3-1 lead. 

Despite that, however, the small forward is still expected to attract interest from several teams, with the latest reports suggesting the Philadelphia 76ers are extremely keen to make a move for him. 

26-year-old Ezeli also set career-highs this year with seven points and 5.6 rebounds per game and was a valuable member of the record 73-win team. 

The Nigerian, though, is one of the most attractive big men on the open market and could receive a big offer with the salary cap due to rise to approximately $94m. 

Two players whose futures with Golden State are in doubt, however, are Ian Clark and James Michael McAdoo. Unlike Barnes and Ezeli, the team decided not to extend qualifying offers to the pair, making them unrestricted free agents.

There are an interesting few weeks ahead for the 2015 champions as the front office takes the necessary decisions to go in pursuit of the Larry O'Brien trophy once again.

Stephen Curry
Golden State Warriors
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Klay Thompson
Harrison Barnes

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