With ten days left until the NBA trade deadline, much of the focus on the Celtics’ TPE front has been on the Kings’ Harrison Barnes. The 28-year-old is having another solid season in Sacramento, but Kings are 15-23 and losers of seven of their last ten games. Shedding Barnes could make sense for the rebuilding team and bringing in younger pieces to fit De’Aaron Fox’s timeline makes sense, but The Athletic’s Sam Amick is reporting that internally, the Kings may not be as motivated to move Barnes as most of the league believes:
While this is most assuredly a “gap year,” as we wrote about recently, the combination of Barnes’ play, his professionalism and his declining pay ($20.2 million next season; $18.3 million in 2022-23) is such that it will take a significant offer to pry him away. And the Kings’ ability to remain competitive, it seems, will be a factor in the decision.
Translation: A combination of late first-round draft picks and young players like the ones wearing green in Boston, it appears, likely wouldn’t be enough to get it done. The Kings are clearly still pondering the possibility of adding the kind of impact piece that they believe would put them in the playoff mix.
Last week, Amick reported that many front offices believed that a Barnes-to-Boston move “could be coming,” but it sounds like that’s changed over the last week.
Amick also reports that the Celtics are also interested in Barnes’ teammate Nemanja Bjelica and his $7 million expiring contract along with the Warriors, Bucks, and Pacers.