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The Kings Are Leaking That They'll Only Trade Harrison Barnes And Buddy Hield If They Are "Blown Away"

Innnnnteresting. As everyone knows, we're in prime lying season on the NBA calendar. This time of year is all about leverage. Especially if you're going to be a potential seller at the deadline. That obviously is important for a team like the Kings, which is why that quote is interesting. I get their owner wants to be competitive, but at 16-24 that isn't exactly what I would call competitive. The Kings are in a weird situation where they don't have to trade either of those guys. Both are under contract for the foreseeable future. But this was also a team that was 31-41 last year, so how much of this season is because of weird covid issues and injuries, and how much of it is just who the Kings are? He may not want to tank, but it does the franchise no good to be stuck in the middle. Sure maybe adding a high lottery pick this year will help next season, but how far away are the Kings from truly being competitive? 

Is competitive making the play in? Being a top 6 seed? Because remember, Memphis will eventually get Jaren Jackson back, the Warriors get Klay back and a potential top 5 pick, the Spurs are never going to die, so who are the Kings going to leap? The West is absolutely stacked and that's not changing anytime soon. 

That's why it makes sense that they would make sure to get this narrative out there, in an effort to drive up the price as high as possible. What does he have to lose? Everyone knows guys like Ainge have an interest in Barnes, so you squeeze him for everything he has. Any smart team would do that. Here's where things get tricky though. For someone like Harrison Barnes, his value might not be higher than it is right now. The longer they wait to maybe move him, the fewer years he has left on his deal, the more leverage they lose. 

The reality is, that blow away offer might not really be out there. Not a lot of teams can take on $22M in salary or have good enough players to make that money work that the Kings might want. That's why things like the Hayward TPE is potentially enticing. Not really from a player return perspective, but because it can be a trade focused mostly around picks and future assets. 

The tricky part for opposing teams is the Kings are operating with all the leverage. They hold all the cards and don't need to be in a rush to do anything. I just wonder how much of this is posturing with 1 week to go until the deadline and how much is their owner truly believing in this roster moving forward. 

So for any fellow Celts fans out there, I would probably cross Harrison Barnes off your list. Not just for the deadline, but the offseason as well. Things can always change but all the smoke surrounding SAC for the last few weeks has been they aren't budging when it comes to unloading their main guys. Someone like Bjelica? Sure. But who cares about him.