Celtics Notes: Barnes, Trade Deadline, Starting Lineup, Stevens

With the Celtics slipping under .500, a major move may be necessary before Thursday’s trade deadline to solidify Boston’s playoff chances. One of the hottest rumors surrounding the team has been a deal for Kings forward Harrison Barnes, and Jared Weiss and Jason Jones of The Athletic examine what a potential trade might look like.

The Celtics are in the market for a wing player with size who can improve the team’s defense. Barnes handles the toughest wing matchup for Sacramento and may be able to provide some minutes at center in small-ball lineups. Weiss notes that would enable Boston to explore moving Tristan Thompson, who is under contract at $9.72MM for next season.

Weiss proposes a deal sending Barnes, Nemanja Bjelica and Hassan Whiteside to the Celtics in exchange for Thompson, Grant Williams, Javonte Green, an unprotected first-round pick this season, and a partially protected first-rounder in 2023.

Sacramento played the Celtics on Friday, and Barnes was asked about the possibility of a trade. “Obviously Boston’s a great franchise, but for the time being I’m with the Kings and that’s where my focus is — my teammates in the locker room, going out there, putting it on the line every night and trying to win games,” Barnes responded.

There’s more from Boston:

  • Without breaking up their core, the Celtics only have modest assets if they decide to become sellers rather than buyers before the deadline, according to Brian Robb of MassLive. Robb projects that Thompson, Semi Ojeleye or Daniel Theis would only bring second-round picks or unproven bench players in return, while Jeff Teague and Green have virtually no trade value.
  • Bruce Castleberry of The Boston Herald believes immediate changes are necessary for the Celtics to turn their season around. He proposes putting Robert Williams and Payton Pritchard in the starting lineup in place of Theis and Kemba Walker. Castleberry states that Williams is Boston’s best big man, while a reduced work load could help Walker be fresh for the playoffs.
  • Brad Stevens has no intention of returning to college basketball, even though his name has been floated for the vacant Indiana job, according to Jeff Borzello and Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
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