Boston Celtics rumors: Widespread belief team will trade for Harrison Barnes

Jan 17, 2021; Sacramento, California, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes (40) is introduced before the start of the game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Coming out of the NBA All-Star Break, Boston Celtics rumors continue to suggest that there’s going to be a blockbuster trade ahead of the March 25 deadline.

For a while now, reports have suggested that general manager Danny Ainge is looking to upgrade the Celtics’ underperforming roster. Despite ending the unofficial first half of the 2020-21 NBA season with a four-game winning streak, Boston has struggled big time.

In fact, it sits at 19-17 and just a half game up on the New York Knicks for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. That’s shocking in and of itself.

Most of the rumors in Boston have surrounded Ainge and Co. going after a forward to replace the production it saw from Gordon Hayward prior to his departure in free agency this past offseason. That could now include an underrated forward from the Sacramento Kings.

Read More: 4 intriguing Boston Celtics trade scenarios before NBA trade deadline

Boston Celtics looking to pull off Harrison Barnes trade

Boston Celtics rumors: Harrison Barnes trade
Jan 20, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes (40) is guarded by Los Angeles Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. (8) as he drives to the basket in the first half of the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, “so many front office folks around the league believe (a Harrison Barnes trade) could be coming.”

The fact that Barnes is on the block ahead of the March 25 NBA trade deadline is not too surprising. He’s morphed into a darn good three-and-D wing for the Kings.

The former Golden State Warriors’ top-seven pick is averaging 16.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists on 39% shooting from distance.

He’d slide in at the three with Jayson Tatum moving to the four. Barnes’ ability to play both forward positions could loom large, too. Celtics rumors have suggested that they are looking for that type of flexibility. It also doesn’t hurt that Barnes is playing under a team-friendly deal that will pay him just $20.18 million next season and $18.35 million in 2022-23.

Read More: NBA trade rumors: Latest updates leading up to the March 25 deadline

Boston Celtics rumors: How might a Harrison Barnes trade look?

Kristaps Porzingis trade to the Celtics for Marcus Smart
Jan 30, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) passes against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first quarter at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Boston has a league-record $28.5 million trade exception stemming from the Gordon Hayward sign-and-trade with the Charlotte Hornets. It could simply use that exception, enticing the Kings with a young player and huge cap savings moving forward. That seems to be the most-realistic scenario.

  • Celtics get: Harrison Barnes
  • Kings get: Robert Williams, future second-round pick

Again, this would help Sacramento save a nice amount of cash moving forward — enabling it to be active in free agency over the next couple summers. Said savings would amount to $34-plus million over the next two seasons.

However, there’s another scenario in play that suggests the Kings will look for real assets while Boston saves the above-mentioned trade exception for the summer.

Harrison Barnes to the Boston Celtics trade scenario

  • Kings get: Marcus Smart, Grant Williams, Jeff Teague, future second-round pick
  • Celtics get: Harrison Barnes

Any Celtics rumors involving a deal that doesn’t include the trade exception would likely force them to move off defensive stalwart Marcus Smart. It’s the name of the game with these Celtics hard-capped.

As for the Kings, they could turn around and flip Smart to a contending team for a first-round pick. Acquiring a first-rounder, second-rounder and young big in Grant Williams would be a coup.

Either way, this is certainly something to keep an eye on with the 2021 NBA trade deadline now about two weeks away. The Celtics are going to be active. Will that include making a move for Barnes?

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