The contract status (expiring vs. 2.5 years on a declining deal) is a major factor in favor of Barnes now vs. Barnes then. Is Nesmith and a first the best offer we're going to get for Barnes? Perhaps. Is it worth taking? Or are we better off just keeping Barnes in that case? When you're talking about a first in the 20+ range, there's a solid argument that two more years of Barnes is actually the best side of the deal. We can't come into this as if we HAVE to trade him just because another team wants him. Keeping him may well be the best move.
But we aren’t.
If we get Nesmith who many considered with our first, a low chance pick with something in the 20’s, ( Bagley, Butler, Springer, Boston ) and more ping pong balls into a loaded top 5, that return to me is more than worth it to me.
just to put numbers to it. The win against Houston dropped us from 5th to 7th which is a loss of 10% chance of a top 4 pick. Barnes is easily worth 3-4 wins.