The Sacramento Kings are a mess, and such disarray can lead to a team selling at the NBA trade deadline. If the Kings, who recently fired coach Luke Walton, embark on such move, forward Harrison Barnes is a prime candidate to get shipped.
The 29-year-old forward continues to be a quietly productive scorer. Barnes is in the midst of the best offensive season of his career, averaging 19.3 points on 40.0 percent from beyond the arc while adding 7.4 rebounds per game. He’s an efficient shooter who can get points off the dribble and defend at a competitive level.
Barnes is in the third season of a four-year, $85 million pact with the Kings. In the coming months, that contract won’t look as daunting, especially given his impact on both ends of the floor. Barnes offers NBA contenders a player who’s accustomed to playoff basketball, as well as someone who can be a versatile glue guy. All the while, he can net the Kings a reasonable trade haul.
Here are three ideal midseason trade destinations for Harrison Barnes.
- Pacers receive: Harrison Barnes
- Kings receive: TJ Warren and Jeremy Lamb
What’s the Pacers’ future? Our guess is as accurate as theirs. The Pacers have a precarious standing, as they have a talented roster but remain a sub-.500 team. In the scenario that they pick up steam in the coming months and they have a firm conviction that they can be a hassle in the NBA Playoffs, a midseason move for Barnes would be a viable option.
Barnes would give the Pacers a proven and ever-improving frontcourt. Serving as another perimeter and isolation scoring option alongside Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert, Barnes would add more size alongside Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner.
If the situation calls for such a five-man grouping, coach Rick Carlisle can go with Sabonis as the center and Barnes as the power forward with LeVert and rookie Chris Duarte out on the perimeter.
As for the trade itself, Warren and Lamb likely have no futures with the Pacers. Furthermore, the team should be able to move Barnes’ then-expiring contract in the offseason if he doesn’t perform up to par. From the Kings’ perspective, they get to see if Warren and Lamb fit next to their young guards in De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, and Davion Mitchell.
What could stop a trade from taking place, however, is the Pacers not wanting to add any more considerable contracts for the 2022-23 season.
- Timberwolves receive: Harrison Barnes
- Kings receive: Taurean Prince and Josh Okogie
The Timberwolves keep holding out hope that Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell will get them to the NBA Playoffs while Anthony Edwards blossoms into a star. While competitive, the 8-9 Timberwolves, who have been mostly healthy this season, are yet to showcase that potential. With their continued belief in their three key guys in mind, a midseason trade for Barnes would do a couple of positives.
For starters, Barnes would boost coach Chris Finch’s offense, whether it be in the form of starting or coming off the bench. If he gets the starting nod, Barnes can reap the benefits of the attention that Towns, Russell, and Edwards attract, scoring at an efficient level and getting clean looks. Barnes also improves their defensive rotation as a whole.
Barnes’ arrival gives the Timberwolves a better chance of getting to and possibly past the play-in tournament. Concerning what they surrender for the veteran forward, Prince and Okogie have been inconsistent in recent memory. Barnes bypasses their volatile play and growth in general.
If the Timberwolves are going to be a legitimate team in the Western Conference, they have to be willing to take chances on players in their prime like Barnes.
From the Kings’ perspective, Prince and Okogie immediately enter their rotation and get to showcase themselves for the team’s future. All that being said, the factor that could get in the way of this trade taking place is the Timberwolves wanting to make a blockbuster trade for a star scorer.
- Mavericks receive: Harrison Barnes
- Kings receive: Maxi Kleber, Dwight Powell, and Josh Green
The Mavericks have the talent to be a force in the Western Conference, but as last postseason showed, you can never have enough talent. The Mavericks were too reliant on Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr. in the 2021 NBA Playoffs. Reuniting with an old friend in Barnes makes sense for the win-now Mavericks (he played for the team from 2016 to 2019).
Barnes would presumably take Dorian Finney-Smith’s starting spot, although the former could still make a difference in the scoring department off the bench. Regardless of the way the tide takes Kristaps Porzingis’ role in coach Jason Kidd’s offense, Barnes improves the squad on that end of the floor. He provides them with a Mavs-esque scorer, that being someone who’s adept at draining shots from the perimeter but also capable of scoring off the dribble.
A roughly $20 million salary is hefty, but it’s only a year and a half commitment for the Mavericks. In the meantime, Barnes gives them more ammunition and frontcourt scoring options at the end of games. Depending on the opponent, the squad can go small with a trio of sturdy forwards, Barnes being one of them.
Contenders in both conferences are going to make deadline moves to enhance their squad. The Mavericks are one of the first teams that should be on the phone looking to deepen their rotation.
In getting Barnes, the Mavericks don’t surrender anyone they can’t replace given their surplus of big men and Green not having a role in the rotation. Meanwhile, Green can get some run with the Kings, Kleber can stretch the floor for their guards, and Powell can either back up Richaun Holmes or be flipped for more assets.