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Jan 6, 2021; Sacramento, California, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes (40) during the second quarter against the Chicago Bulls at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com

As the NBA trade deadline approaches (March 25), it appears shooting is Danny Ainge’s main focus. Two weeks ago, there were reports the Celtics had discussed a J.J. Redick trade with the New Orleans Pelicans. Now, a new report is linking them to another perimeter-focused wing.

In his ‘NBA Trade Talk’ column for The Athletic on Friday, Sam Amick as potential sellers, and that one of their more veteran stars may have caught the Celtics’ attention.

“Harrison Barnes is playing some of the best basketball of his career and is known to be on Boston’s radar (and likely several others),” Amick writes. “The Celtics, as has been widely reported, are on the lookout for ways to make good use of the $28.5 million trade exception they created in the Gordon Hayward sign-and-trade with Charlotte.”

This news comes just days after a Kevin O’Connor report that many around the league believe that “the Celtics are up to something” and are “searching for upgrades to bolster [their] wing and big man position.” Speaking with Toucher & Rich last week, Ainge mentioned he views the trade deadline as “the sweet spot” to use the Hayward TPE.

MORE: Danny Ainge’s update on Jaylen Brown’s knee 

Barnes has indeed been having a near-career year so far in 2021. The 28-year-old is shooting 49.1 percent from the floor an 41 percent from three – both career-highs. In 24 games, he’s averaging 16.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per contest.

The issue in acquiring Barnes is his contract. He’s currently in year two of a four-year, $85 million contract. Any team that acquires him will be on the hook for $20.2 million next season, and $18.3 the year after that.

If he is moved, it likely won’t be right away. Amick mentioned that “to this point, sources say teams have been given the impression that the Kings have no interest in moving Barnes.” That could be the truth and they see him as part of the future, or it could just be a bargaining tactic to try and fish out a better offer.

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.