The Boston Celtics look like they are getting things back on track. The NBA All-Star break came at a bad time for them, as they were riding a four-game winning streak and building some momentum as they climbed back up the Eastern Conference standings.
The Boston Celtics are one of the teams that could swing the playoff race if they can make a deal before the March 25th deadline. They have a huge trade exception created by Gordon Hayward signing with the Charlotte Hornets that will enable them to add to their core of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart without needing to send out matching salary.
The hard-cap of $138 million is the only obstacle they have to deal with. If they use the entire Hayward exception, they will have to send out about $9 million in salary to stay below the hard cap.
That gives general manager Danny Ainge some wiggle room. Boston has been connected to numerous players in trade rumors, with Nikola Vucevic and Jerami Grant as arguably the biggest names. Alas, those teams seem intent on holding onto their best players, meaning the Boston Celtics will have to look elsewhere. One name to keep an eye on is Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes.
The Sacramento Kings are having another difficult season. They are third to last in the Western Conference and have some work to do if they are to make it into the postseason. If they decide they are going to be sellers, Barnes will be a popular target for contending teams. The believed landing spot for him? Boston.
According to the prescription-based, The Athletic, many front office folks around the league believe that Barnes will end up with the Boston Celtics.
The former UNC product is averaging 16.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and a career-high 3.6 assists per game. He can knock down perimeter jumpers, connecting on 39.2 percent of his 3-point attempts, and is a steady defender. He would fit in well at the power forward spot in Boston, giving them versatility on both ends of the court. If Brad Stevens wanted to push it, he could probably have Barnes play small-ball center to match up with opponents.
Harrison Barnes would bring championship pedigree and tons of playoff experience from his early years with the Golden State Warriors. He knows how to win and is the perfect veteran complement to help get the Boston Celtics to the next level.