Even the Sacramento Kings’ local sports media has started to notice just how much the Boston Celtics’ fanbase and media have been coveting veteran Kings forward Harrison Barnes.
Barnes has been an increasingly popular trade target of both Boston analysts and their readers due to his championship pedigree as much as the career year he’s been having, but — as the Sacramento Bee’s Jason Anderson notes — the North Carolina product may not be available given the Kings recent spate of success. Having won seven of their last eight contests, Sacramento is squarely in position to make the postseason — would they really want to jeopardize that just to make a deal?
On one hand at age 28, the former Tarheel may no longer be the best fit for his current team.
This is clearly Rookie of the Year candidate’s Tyrese Halliburton’s timeline now, the first-year player exceeding expectations and a closer fit to the age curve of Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox (23) and Marvin Bagley (21) than Barnes.
On the other, if it isn’t broken — why fix it?
“Barnes might fit the bill,” notes Anderson, referencing Celtics team President Danny Ainge’s recent comments on looking for a player who has “shooting with size”.
“At 6-8 and 225 pounds, he has the size, strength and versatility to fill either forward spot. He has logged 52% of his minutes this season at small forward and 48% at power forward … Barnes is averaging 17.1 points and career highs of 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. He is shooting career-bests of 49.6% from the field and 41.7% from 3-point range.”
“He won an NBA championship with the Warriors in 2015 and a gold medal with Team USA at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro,” added the Kings analyst.
And even if Barnes is available, Boston may have to pay through the nose to convince Sacramento their trade package is worth more to their player’s development than a postseason run would.
That means multiple picks and a young prospect — as well as the salary ballast to get the team under the hardcap triggered by the Gordon Hayward sign-and-trade that created the traded player exception which would make this deal possible in the first place.
Too steep a price? Already a non-starter? Whatever the end result, it’s a possibility that has increasingly larger numbers of basketball minds entertaining the possibility.
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