Warriors extend qualifying offers to Barnes, Ezeli

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[June 30, 2016]    (Reuters) - The Golden State Warriors extended qualifying offers to forward Harrison Barnes and center Festus Ezeli on Wednesday, making them restricted free agents.

Warriors forward Harrison Barnes (40) and center Festus Ezeli (31) go for a rebound against Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) and forward James Jones (1) in game three of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports -

The move, which needed to be made by Thursday, means the Warriors can now match any offer made to the pair by other teams.

The Warriors, however, are expected to pursue Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, who could potentially take Barnes' small forward position and force him to exit.

Barnes, 24, averaged a career-high 11.7 points last season but struggled in the NBA Finals where Golden State lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Ezeli, 26, has primarily been a backup center for the Warriors and recorded 7.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.

The Warriors were not the only team to be tinkering with their roster on Wednesday with Orlando acquiring shooting guard Jodie Meeks in a trade with the Detroit Pistons.

Orlando sent a future conditional second round pick in exchange for Meeks, who was injured for much of last season and played three regular season games.

He averaged 11.1 points for the Pistons in 2014-15.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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