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Report: Kings believe Harrison Barnes will be ‘key piece’ to playoff run next season

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Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix says the Boston Celtics have been checking in on the veteran.

Sacramento Kings v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

The Sacramento Kings play the Atlanta Hawks in their final game before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, and the team could look different come Friday.

General manager Monte McNair is working the phones and looking to make some deals to acquire some young pieces or future assets. So far, it’s been reported that the Kings are open to moving Marvin Bagley III, Hassan Whiteside, Nemanja Bjelica, and that they’re getting some interest from around the league for Richaun Holmes.

Another veteran NBA teams have been checking in on is Harrison Barnes, who seems to be at the center of any trade rumor involving Sacramento. However, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated says the Boston Celtics’ hopes of making a deal for Barnes is fading as the Kings don’t want to sell low on the forward.

The 28-year-old Barnes is averaging 16.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists while shooting 36.9% from deep this season. His presence on the court makes the Kings better. Sacramento’s net rating is 7.9 points better when he’s in the game, per NBA.com.

The Celtics have been linked to Barnes for months now, but nothing has materialized. It seems like McNair’s focus is on trading away players on expiring deals and possibly finding a new home for Bagley.

Barnes is a glue guy for the Kings, who has two years and roughly $38.5 million left on his contract. With key building blocks De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton in place, Barnes’ presence and playoff experience are valuable to the franchise as it hopes to end its league-high 15-year postseason drought sooner than later.

Unless a team offers Sacramento a godfather offer, it’s tough to imagine McNair pulling the trigger on a Barnes trade. The Kings are being patient in rebuilding their roster and will need some proven talent around their two young pieces if they want to get back into the playoff hunt next season.

What would you be willing to trade Barnes for? Do you think it’s the right decision to keep him in hopes of making a playoff run next season?