NBA Trade Rumors: Kings Plan to Keep Harrison Barnes at Deadline for Playoff Push

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 9, 2022

Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes (40) is shown in action against the Atlanta Hawks in the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
AP Photo/John Bazemore

The Sacramento Kings have indicated to teams around the NBA they're planning to keep Harrison Barnes through Thursday's trade deadline, according to NBA insider Marc Stein.

At 20-36, the Kings are three games out of the final play-in berth in the Western Conference, and Stein reported they want Barnes to remain and help catapult them into the top 10.

Barnes has a year-and-a-half left on his contract, and he's enjoying a productive season. The 29-year-old is averaging 16.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game and shooting 40.5 percent from three-point range.

For a team in selling mode, Barnes would be an obvious veteran to offload because he could yield a reasonably solid trade return.

After Tuesday, it's clear Sacramento isn't in selling mode.

Sending Tyrese Haliburton to the Indiana Pacers for a package headlined by Domantas Sabonis was a sign of the Kings' priorities.

Haliburton isn't even eligible for restricted free agency until 2024, at which point the Kings would've had a lot of leverage to sign him to a long-term extension. Sacramento exchanged that cost control for two-and-a-half years of Sabonis.

That's the move of a front office looking to end a 15-year playoff drought.

From the NBA's perspective, this is exactly why the play-in tournament is a good thing.

Under the old format, the Kings would be seven games out of a postseason berth, a difficult gap to close in the stretch run and one that might have the franchise shifting its focus to 2022-23.

Instead, Sacramento can talk itself into climbing into the play-in and thus potentially moving on to the postseason proper.

To that end, it would make little sense to jettison a proven performer such as Barnes. One can question the calculations general manager Monte McNair made, but he has made his bed. The Kings basically have to push all of their chips in to contend.