Are Celtics zeroed in on Harrison Barnes as top trade target?


We've heard a lot of scuttlebutt about the Boston Celtics as the NBA trade deadline approaches.

Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant reportedly is one of their "top" trade targets. Orlando Magic big man Nikola Vucevic and Sacramento Kings veteran Nemanja Bjelica supposedly are in their sights, as well.

But if you ask Brian Scalabrine, there's one player atop Boston's wish list.

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"Let me translate what's been going on here: The Celtics want Harrison Barnes," Scalabrine said Thursday on NBC Sports Boston's Celtics Pregame Live, as seen in the video above. 

"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?'"

After flirting with .500 earlier in the season, the Kings have taken a nosedive, losing 11 of their last 13 to drop to 13th in the Western Conference at the All-Star break. That means they could be sellers at the deadline, and the 28-year-old Barnes arguably is their top asset.

"Sacramento is in a tough way right now. They're trying to rebuild," Scalabrine added. "Harrison Barnes would be the perfect fit, so don't listen to all the smoke and mirrors about all these other guys. The Celtics are trying to fast-forward their timeline and try to get a guy like Harrison Barnes here."

Barnes is making $22.2 million this season, but the Celtics can absorb his contract using their $28.5 million player exception. The nine-year veteran is averaging 16.7 points on 49.2% shooting (39.2% from 3-point range) with 6.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game, and our Chris Forsberg has detailed how Barnes would fill Boston's need for a solid wing scorer it lost when Gordon Hayward went to Charlotte in the offseason.

Forsberg: Why Barnes would be an ideal TPE target for Celtics

Scalabrine spent two years in Golden State with Barnes as a Warriors assistant coach in 2013 and 2014, so there's reason to believe he knows what he's talking about.

But whether the Celtics pull the trigger on a Barnes trade may come down to Sacramento's asking price: Will the Kings ask for a key rotation piece like Marcus Smart, or would young players like Romeo Langford and Aaron Nesmith and draft picks be enough to get a deal done?

We have until March 25 to find out. Check out Scal's full comments below.

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