Is former UNC basketball star Harrison Barnes available on trade market?

Former UNC basketball program star Harrison Barnes was listed as a potential trade block candidate leading up to the NBA Trade Deadline.
Toronto Raptors v Sacramento Kings
Toronto Raptors v Sacramento Kings / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

Former UNC basketball star Harrison Barnes had a solid season with the Sacramento Kings in 2022-23. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 15 points, two assists, and five rebounds while playing in all 82 games for the Kings last season.

Barnes has received the same number of minutes per game to start this season, but his production has regressed. He's averaging 11 points, one assist and three rebounds in 34 games in 2023-24 for Sacramento. The lack of production makes some around the league think that the Kings will listen to trade offers for the 31-year-old veteran prior to the February deadline.

Barnes has been a member of the Kings since the 2018-19 season and was a part of their first playoff appearance since the 2005-06 season last year. Sacramento traded for Barnes at the 2019 trade deadline to provide mentorship for their young core of De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, and Marvin Bagley III. The team went 39-43 that season and just missed out on the playoffs by finishing ninth in the Western Conference.

The Kings slightly regressed in the COVID-shortened season in 2019-20, finishing with a record of 31-41 and finishing 12th in the Western Conference. They finished with the same record the following year but brought in talented rookie point guard Tyrese Haliburton from Iowa State.

Haliburton's ability to facilitate well helped Barnes average 16 points per game on 40% shooting from three. The duo would only play together for a season and a half before Haliburton was dealt to the Indiana Pacers for power forward Domantas Sabonis. Lots of NBA experts thought this was a poor trade for the Kings as they finished 30-52 in 2021-22.

Things finally changed for the Kings in the 2022-23 season. Sacramento finished with a 48-34 record and was the third overall seed in the Western Conference. The trio of De'Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes, and Domantas Sabonis worked well together and engineered the team to their first playoff berth in 16 years. It was short lived, however, as they were eliminated in seven games by the Golden State Warriors.

Sacramento followed up their playoff appearance with a 21-13 start to the 2023-24 season. They are currently fifth in the Western Conference and are second in the Pacific division. Barnes being listed on the trade block should not come as a surprise to many, as the Kings are looking for a superstar scorer that can get them over the hump.

Barnes is not the only player being talked about as a potential trade candidate, as he is joined by sharpshooter Kevin Huerter and defensive star Davion Mitchell on the potential trade block as well. It will be interesting to see if Barnes is moved to a contender or is used to help the Kings make a big splash before the deadline.

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