Trade Talk: The Celtics ‘Want’ Former NBA Champ, Says Analyst

Celtics want Harrison Barnes

Getty Harrison Barnes #8 and Kyrie Irving #10 of the United States talk on the court during a USA Basketball showcase exhibition game against Argentina.

We’ve all heard the rumblings of the Boston Celtics eyeing the likes of Nikola Vucevic and Jerami Grant ahead of the March 25th trade deadline. Well, guess what – it’s all B.S. – or at least that’s what it appears to be in the eyes of NBC Sports Boston’s Brian Scalabrine.

Sorting through trade rumors on Celtics Pregame Live, the former NBA veteran warned listeners, “don’t listen to all the smoke and mirrors.” Instead, Scalabrine believes these recent rumors are simply a ploy to deter attention away from the team’s true No. 1 target, Harrison Barnes.

“Let me translate what’s been going on here,” Scalabrine said. “The Celtics want Harrison Barnes. They think Harrison Barnes is the type of guy that can come in here and make a difference. All the fact of, ‘They’re talking to Detroit, they’re talking to Orlando, they’re even talking to Sacramento,’ all of this is so eventually Sacramento will eventually say, ‘OK, what can we get done with Harrison Barnes?'”

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Harrison Barnes to Receive Heavy Interest at Deadline

It seems like every week there is a new player atop the Celtics’ wish list. At one point, that player was widely perceived to be Barnes. Problem was, at the time the Kings were making waves in the West, pushing towards a .500 record and even topping the Cs in a matchup back in February. By most accounts, Sacramento had no desire to move off of Barnes at the time. However, the team has since nosedived down the standings, sitting at 13th-place in the Western Conference thanks to a 2-11 record over their final 13 games heading into the All-Star break.

With the Kings staring down the barrel of mediocrity yet again, the idea of moving the soon-to-be 29-year-old for an array of draft capital and young prospects likely becomes far more intriguing. If the team does decide to shop Barnes at the deadline, they’ll find themselves no shortage of suitors, as The Athletic’s Shams Charania has reported that the former NBA Champion will “receive interest” if made available.

Despite Sacramento’s recent shortcomings, Barnes is currently in the midst of the most prolific statistical season of his nine-year career. Through 33 games, the versatile forward is averaging 16.7 points on 49.2% shooting from the field to go along with 6.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists, all of which either tie or mark a new career-high. Furthermore, he’s knocking down 39.2% of his three-point attempts.

Celtics Also Interested in Barnes’ Teammate

Barnes isn’t the only Kings player seemingly catching Boston’s eye. Shams has reported that big-man Nemanja Bjelica has “received interest” from the Celtics as well as the 76ers, Heat, Warriors and Bucks.

Bjelica, 32, checks in at 6-foot-10-inches and is a competent passer (nearly 3.0 assists per game in 2019-20), who had shot better than 40% from beyond the arc for three straight seasons entering 2020-21. To add to his resume, Bjelica carries an ever-intriguing expiring contract.

Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley recently mustered up a trade package to ship Barnes and Bjelica to Massachusetts. In return, the Celtics would be cutting ties with the likes of two youngsters, some draft capital, and their lone player with a Championship pedigree.

Here’s the hypothetical trade package in its entirety:

  • Boston Celtics receive: 
    • Harrison Barnes
    • Nemanja Bjelica
  • Sacramento Kings receive: 
    • Romeo Langford
    • Tristan Thompson
    • Carsen Edwards
    • 2021 first-round pick (top-10 protected)


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