2021 NBA Trade Deadline: 4 teams primed to make moves

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3. Sacramento Kings

There was an earlier point in the season when it looked like the Sacramento Kings had a growing shot at the play-in tournament. They were 12-11, good for eighth in the Western Conference.

Things have spiraled since then and with that Sacramento’s playoff hopes have diminished significantly. Losers of 10 of their last 13 games, The Athletic’s Sam Amick noted last week that the Kings have begun leaning towards selling at the deadline, a mindset likely intensified after Marvin Bagley III suffered a fractured left hand, further denting whatever sliver of playoff hopes they had left.

With a core that includes Bagley along with the budding backcourt duo of De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton, it would behoove the Kings to focus more on the coming years. They can do that by trading players other teams are looking to have help them in the present.

Harrison Barnes is having one of the best seasons of his career, averaging 16.6 points per game while posting career-highs in rebounds (6.2), assists (3.5), and field goal percentage (49.4). He can guard either forward spot and space out to the 3-point line with two years left on a deal that declines in salary.

Nemanja Bjelica has also garnered some trade traction as a 6’10” big sporting a career 38.8 3-point percentage.

At 28 and 32, respectively, neither Barnes nor Bjelica aligns with the timeline Sacramento has imposed on itself, but either could be exactly what’s missing on a playoff contender. If the Kings play it smart, they could leverage that desperation into a deal that would help them when they eventually need it.