WASHINGTON — As he enters his 11th year as an NBA player, the stars may have aligned for Will Barton. A Baltimore-native, it has always been his goal to play for the nearby Wizards. Thanks to a trade between the Wizards and Nuggets, he is getting that chance, and still in the midst of his prime.
He’s reunited with Wes Unseld Jr., whom he was close with in Denver before Unseld Jr. was hired as Washington’s head coach. He’s joining a team with a starting spot available at the position he plays. And all of these elements are converging as he enters a contract year.
Barton feels that it’s his time and he even has a nickname for it.
“I call it the ‘Golden Stage;’ not too young, not too old. I’m just in a good place mentally, physically,” he told NBC Sports Washington. “I’m a veteran, I’m poised, there’s nothing that can rattle me. I feel like as far as knowing the game, this is the best stage of my career. I’m still athletic enough to do it. It’s the golden age. I’ve still got a lot of great basketball left.”
The first order of business is gunning for the starting small forward job. Unseld Jr. called the competition “wide open” in a preseason press conference, though Barton is the most experienced player in the mix. One of the other likely candidates, Deni Avdija, also entered camp with a…