Celtics Trade Rumors: Harrison Barnes, Jerami Grant Drawing Interest from Boston

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2021

Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Jan.11, 2021. The Kings won 127-122. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

The Boston Celtics have shown interest in Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes and Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant ahead of the March 25 NBA trade deadline, according to Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Saturday that Grant was one of Boston's "top trade targets." However, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic reported days earlier that "Detroit appears to have no interest whatsoever in trading Grant."

Sitting fourth in the Eastern Conference at 19-17, the Celtics have a pressing need for reinforcements. Their position in the East belies the likelihood of them making a serious title push with their roster as currently constructed.

Thanks to the $28.5 million trade exception the team received as part of the Gordon Hayward sign-and-trade, general manager Danny Ainge has a lot of flexibility in terms of making the finances work.

Grant would be a great addition amid his breakout with the Pistons. Through the first half, he's averaging 23.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists while shooting 36.3 percent from the floor.

As Edwards outlined, the likelihood of actually landing the 26-year-old is probably slim.

Barnes figures to be much more attainable. The 28-year-old is on pace to set a career high in field-goal percentage (49.2), and his 39.2 percent clip from beyond the arc is his fourth-best so far. With a 16.7 scoring average, the North Carolina product would be a solid complementary scorer behind Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

B/R's Zach Buckley floated a hypothetical trade between the Celtics and Kings involving Barnes. Nemanja Bjelica would also be going to Sacramento, while Boston would receive Romeo Langford, Tristan Thompson, Carsen Edwards and a 2021 top-10 protected first-round pick:

"Barnes is better than casual fans think. His contract has been a point of contention, but the criticisms don't match the eye test. He offers both flexibility on defense and loads of production on offense (16.7 points on 49.2/39.4/82.2 shooting, plus a career-high 3.6 assists). He also has four playoff trips on his resume and a championship ring in his jewelry collection.

"Nemanja Bjelica is an obvious trade candidate as a veteran on an expiring contract playing for a club well outside of the playoff picture. If the Celtics could bring him in, they'd be getting a 6'10" career supplier of 3.0 assists and 2.0 threes per 36 minutes."

However, Mannix downplayed the Celtics' desire to capitalize on their trade exception right now, writing of "mixed feelings" inside the front office.

It stands to reason Ainge might be able to find a better deal with the benefit of going into part of the offseason, though that might doom the Celtics to an earlier postseason exit than they would've hoped after reaching the conference finals in 2020.