Celtics Trying To Facilitate 3-Team Swap For Kings Forward: Report

Getty Images Harrison Barnes of the Sacramento Kings is congratulated by Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley III

We’re less than 24 hours away from the NBA trade deadline and Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is reportedly scrambling in an effort to land one of his premier targeted players.

The latest buzz tells us the Celtics have eyes for Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon and Sacramento Kings forward, Harrison Barnes, among others.

SI’s Mannix On Potential Marcus Smart Trade: ‘The Magic Could Acquire Smart, Look To Re-Route Him’

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix says Boston is prepared to use some or all of its $28.5 million traded player exception but trading with Orlando for Gordon could get tricky for the Celtics.

“Boston has appeared motived to use some or all of its $28.5 million trade exception, per rival execs,” Mannix wrote via Sports Illustrated. “The Celtics have swapped offers with Orlando and have shown a willingness to deal All Defensive team guard Marcus Smart. It’s unclear how much interest the Magic have in Smart, in part because Orlando has no interest in winning, in part because Smart may chafe at joining a rebuilding team.

“The Magic could acquire Smart and look to re-route him in a three-team deal that brings more draft compensation back.”

Smart’s interest in playing for the Magic, long-term is, of course, significant, given Marcus will become a restricted free agent in 2022. This could very well be another reason why the Celtics aren’t as reluctant to move Smart.

Report: Celtics Pressuring Kings To Move Harrison Barnes Via Trade Talks With Magic

Depending on how things play out within the next year, Boston may not be able to offer Marcus a significant pay raise.

But if the Celtics aren’t able to trade with the Magic, straight up, for Gordon, Ainge will turn to a third team to help facilitate any proposed deal, according to Mannix.

“There’s chatter that the Celtics pursuit of Gordon could be a way to pressure Sacramento to come to the table,” Mannix wrote. “Boston covets Harrison Barnes but there has not been any traction in talks between the two teams. Kings GM Monte McNair has been empowered to rebuild the franchise, but rival execs don’t believe Kings ownership favors any deal that moves key players for draft picks — not with Sacramento, which has not made the playoffs since 2006, still within 3 1/2 games of a spot in the play-in tournament.”

ESPN’s Zach Lowe: ‘It’s Going To Take A Lot To Pry Away Barnes’

Barnes’ name has also been tied to the Denver Nuggets, this week, as a potential suitor.

However, various media outlets, including ESPN and Sports Illustrated — in three separate reports — believe the Kings plan to hold onto Barnes for, at least, the remaining year.

“The Kings are open to listening on everyone aside from D’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton, but it’s going to take a lot to pry away Barnes and Richaun Holmes, sources said,” Zach Lowe wrote, via ESPN. “Both are in the meat of their primes — Holmes is 27, Barnes 28 — and the Kings are telling teams they don’t consider themselves that far from being a real playoff team, sources said.

“They are not in as much of a rush as you might think to deal good, in-their-prime guys for prospects and picks.”

The NBA trade deadline is on Thursday, March 25 at 3 PM EST.

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