When the Sacramento Kings signed Harrison Barnes to a four-year, $85 million in the summer of 2019, it was widely viewed as an overpay for a starting-caliber player they wouldn’t have been able to keep otherwise.
While there may have been some truth to that at the time, Barnes is living up to his contract this season and, as a result, is drawing some interest from at least one team in the NBA. According to a report from Sam Amick of The Athletic on Friday, the Boston Celtics are interested in using their trade exception to acquire the former NBA champion:
Harrison Barnes is playing some of the best basketball of his career and is known to be on Boston’s radar (and likely several others). The Celtics, as has been widely reported, are on the lookout for ways to make good use of the $28.5 million trade exception they created in the Gordon Hayward sign-and-trade with Charlotte.
Barnes would be a tremendous midseason pickup for the Celtics, who have struggled to find consistent production on the wing outside of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. This season, Barnes is averaging 16.7 points on 49.1% shooting from the field and 41% shooting from behind the arc while also averaging 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.
Additionally, Barnes’ contract descends in monetary value after this season. Next season, he’s owed $20.2 million and the following season, he’s owed $18.3 million. At his current pace, that’s excellent value.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, the Kings reportedly aren’t in any rush to ship him out of Sacramento for many of those same reasons:
To this point, sources say teams have been given the impression that the Kings have no interest in moving Barnes.
Given where the Kings are in the standings, that’s hardly a surprise.
With just one game separating them and the No. 8 seed Golden State Warriors, the Kings are in prime position to snap their 15-year playoff drought. That could change between now and the March 25 trade deadline, but their current situation suggests they’ll need Barnes for the remainder of the season, both on and off the court.