BOSTON (CBS) — Just two weeks ahead of the NBA trade deadline, the Sacramento Kings are shifting into “seller” mode. And when the Sacramento Fire Sale ends, NBA executives believe that Harrison Barnes will be a member of the Boston Celtics.

According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, a number of front office folks are expecting Barnes to land in Boston this trade season. The underperforming Celtics (at just 19-17 on the year) need to do something to keep pace in the Eastern Conference, and Barnes is an ideal candidate to give Boston a much-needed jolt.

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It helps that Danny Ainge has that massive TPE to utilize this season, as it’s the only way that the cap-strapped Celtics can acquire Barnes and his salary. Ainge wouldn’t have to send any contracts back to Sacramento to pull of the deal, though the Kings are going to want a little something in return for their talented small forward.

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Barnes would bring a veteran presence and championship pedigree to Boston, which he earned during his time with the Golden State Warriors. He’s also a solid defender who is having a career-year on offense, averaging 16.7 points and 6.1 rebounds in 33 starts for Sacramento this season.

The 28-year-old Barnes is signed for two more years after this season with $30.6 million remaining on his contract, so he wouldn’t be a one-year rental for Boston, though adding Barnes now may force Ainge to get creative this offseason.

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We’ll likely hear a lot more about Barnes and the Celtics leading up to 3 p.m. on March 25, as we have for much of the season thanks to that TPE that Boston received when Gordon Hayward left via free agency. But now it appears the Kings are willing to finally join the conversation.

CBSBoston.com Staff