Less than 24 hours before the NBA’s Thursday noon Pacific trade deadline, rumors are circulating that the Golden State Warriors are shopping second-year forward Harrison Barnes.
The 21-year-old was taken seventh overall in the 2012 NBA Draft by the Warriors out of North Carolina and is averaging 10.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists on 41.6 percent shooting (40.9 percent from 3-point range) in 29.2 minutes a game.
That compares to 9.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists on 43.9 percent shooting—35.9 percent from deep—in 81 starts and 25.4 minutes a game as a rookie last season.
Ric Bucher, NBA National Columnist for Bleacher Report, wrote Tuesday that Golden State would like to upgrade without blowing up what it already has assembled.
“Don’t close the door on a possible return of Jarrett Jack, one source said, suggesting that the Cavs would help their campaign to retain Kyrie Irving by acquiring Harrison Barnes, who Irving stumped for before the draft. Knowing the familiarity between (Warriors owner Joe) Lacob and (Boston Celtics general manager Danny) Ainge, I’d be surprised if a (Jeff) Green-for-Barnes-centered swap wasn’t at least broached as well,” Bucher wrote.
ESPN Insider Chad Ford, meanwhile, touched on a similar topic in reply to a question in a chat session Wednesday. Ford’s reply to a question about whether the Warriors would move Barnes and the trade exception they received for Richard Jefferson for Luol Deng:
“That’s a good question. The Warriors want to win now and Barnes has struggled coming off the bench. Not sure who would go to the bench in that scenario. I’ve been told that preferably the Warriors find a big time power forward—Kevin Love is the ideal. But it’s doubtful they can get him for a combo of Barnes and David Lee. Would probably take Klay Thompson as well and that’s probably too high a price for the Warriors. But a number of younger players like the Pistons’ Greg Monroe, the Sixers’ Thaddeus Young, the Cavs’ Tristan Thompson, the Nuggets’ Kenneth Faried, the Bucks’ John Henson and the Raptors’ Amir Johnson all intrigue the Warriors. They are telling Barnes and everyone he isn’t available, but they aren’t exactly hanging up the phone when GMs have called.”
At least one Cleveland-based sports site ran with the Jack-for-Barnes talk, but it was quickly debunked by Grantland.com’s Zach Lowe, both in the Twitterverse:
Cavs are close to a deal with the Warriors for Harrison Barnes. They would give up Jarrett Jack
— CLEsportsTalk.net (@CLEsportsTalk) February 19, 2014
Am told reports of Dubs and Cavs being “close” on a Harrison Barnes-centric deal are not accurate. At least for now.
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) February 20, 2014
I’d be surprised if the Warriors moved Barnes—certainly for as little in return as Jack—but if an offer that can’t be refused were to come down the pipeline, that would be something else.
Deng isn’t interested in signing a long-term extension prior to testing free agency this summer, according to a report from Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, making a trade for Deng unlikely.