Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield, two of the Sacramento Kings' top three scorers, could reportedly be on the move ahead of the 2022 NBA trade deadline on Feb. 10.
Sacramento is struggling to keep pace in the playoff race with a 17-27 record, which ranks 11th in the Western Conference. Even if it sneaks into a top-10 spot and the play-in tournament, the chances of making a serious run toward a championship are minuscule.
So it doesn't come as a major surprise to hear general manager Monte McNair may move key veteran assets ahead of the deadline with an eye toward the future.
Hield is no stranger to trade rumors with his name being bantered about rather consistently in recent years. The 29-year-old sharpshooter would be a nice target for a contender that's seeking a player who's proved he can make a significant impact off the bench.
The University of Oklahoma product is averaging 15.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.5 threes and 2.0 assists across 44 appearances this season, 38 of which came as a reserve.
In November, McNair confirmed to Sam Amick of The Athletic they discussed trading the guard over the summer but couldn't find the right offer.
"And yeah, we had some [trade] conversations over the offseason," the Kings GM said. "I don't want to go into too much detail there, but [the approach was to] treat Buddy like the adult that he is and I think he appreciated that. He does the same with me."
Meanwhile, Barnes has embarked on a productive career since the Golden State Warriors selected him with the seventh overall pick in the 2012 draft. The North Carolina product has averaged 14.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.3 threes across 709 regular-season contests.
The versatile 6'8" forward is capable of playing and defending multiple positions and, like Hield, wouldn't have much trouble carving out a niche on a contender.
Sacramento probably doesn't want to enter a full-scale rebuild since franchise cornerstone De'Aaron Fox is just starting a five-year, $163 million contract and the goal was likely to emerge as a threat in the West at some point during that deal.
That said, dealing both Hield and Barnes could help accelerate the roster reconstruction by bring in a fair number of future assets in the form of younger players and draft picks.
It makes the Kings one of the teams to watch leading up to the deadline next month.