Lets assume that our 3 big man rotation will return with the signing of Dalembert. The starting SF position is the biggest question mark going into next season. I think we will see alot of Tyreke at the 3 playing next to Beno and Thornton, but probably not the featured lineup. With Tyreke, Thornton, and Cousins all dominating the ball, the SF has to be our primary wing defender and hopefully the leader the Kings have been searching for, but he probably wont be asked to do much offensively outside of hit of the open 3 and run the floor (Casspi at his best). So what are the options?
Most people believe that the team is too young and adding more youth is the wrong way to go. So outside of Derrick Williams, I dont think the SF is in the draft, at least not right away. Maybe one of the Euros becomes that guy, but it would be years down the road. I will also remove Wilson Chandler, Aaron Afflalo and Michael Pietrus from the list. They are all solid defenders and upgrades, but too young in my opinion.
Three names that I have heard from alot of people are Andre Igoudala, Danny Granger and Trevor Ariza. Trust me, I would love to have any of them, but I just dont see any reason why their respective teams would want to trade them. All three teams are young and rising, and trading these guys is a step backwards. All three teams are in solid cap shape and dont have to make a move for cap reasons. Ariza is the Hornets best wing player, Iggy is the Sixers best all around player, and Granger is the Pacers centerpiece. So dealing any is a step back to simply add youth, assuming Casspi/Greene and our lottery pick would be the our primary pieces in a deal. And I dont think Granger is a great fit either. Hes a great scorer, but look at the playoff teams, you cant win if you cant defend. So adding Granger is great for the offense, but not filling the primary needs at the 3 in my opinion. So Ill cross those 3 off my list simply cause it makes little sense for their teams to trade them.
I think the CBA is gonna be the key for a trade for a veteran SF. If a hard cap is put in place, there will be several playoff teams in need of shedding cap and also looking to get younger. So a team like the Kings is in a great position to be the beneficiary of teams that cant afford to stay intact for next season. After checking the teams that would be in salary cut mode, here are the prime candidates that fit my criteria for the SF.
Shawn Marion- Dallas
Marion is a very good perimeter defender. He doesnt need the ball too much and Dallas is gonna be way way over the cap.
Concern- I dont know if Marion is a great leader. He basically forced his way out of Phoenix to be the guy in Toronto, and then fell on his face.
Trade- Im guessing Casspi/Greene and possibly swapping 1st rounders. Is that worth it? Im not sure
Gerald Wallace- Portland
Wallace is ideal for this spot. Hes a beast and Sacramento would welcome him back with open arms. Not sure hes an elite defender, but hes a leader for sure and demands his teammates play hard. Portland is going to have to cut salary, no doubt, and alot of the other contracts arent very tradeable.
Concern- Portland just gave up alot to get him, and Im sure dont want to trade him, its a longshot
Trade- Obviously our lottery pick and Casspi/Greene, and probably more. Maybe another future 1st rounder
Ron Artest- LA
This one makes some sense to bring Ron back to the Kings. The Lakers will be in cap hell with the new CBA and I dont think hes wanted there or wants to be there. He would become the primary perimeter defender and might embrace a role of the veteran leader
Concern- Ron being Ron. He still can lose it at any moment. He has lost a step, but how much does he have left and has his offensive game become so bad that it hurts the team even as a 4th option.
Trade- Im sure LA would do it straight up for Casspi or Greene. But its a huge risk to gamble that either of those guys becomes a star as a Laker
The other route is to add a veteran free agent. But after re-signing MT and Sammy, adding another free agent at small forward makes a wide roster even wider. My fear with Westphal is that adding more players without clearing some out, is almost an impossible situation. Its like an alcoholic living next to a bar. If we do stand pat and dont hit the lottery, I would hope we lean towards a lottery pick that is not expected to play right away, one of the Euros or Boyombo. Sacramento will not be an ideal destination for most free agents. The losing, the location, and the uncertain future makes overpaying almost a necessity, and I dont see that happening with the Maloofs.
Can we make it work with Casspi, Greene, Garcia, and a free agent SF, and a draft pick? Im dont think so and I dont have a way to clear house without the above trades. Maybe trade Garcia and his contract to a team that wants Casspi or Greene for a mid to late 1? I think Chris Singleton has a chance to be an elite defender in that scenario. But I really really think we need to trim the roster one way or another. Heres my favorite FA options that fill the criteria.
I like AK 47's game. He plays D and is unselfish on O. Im not sure how signable he would be and if he has any interest in playing in Sacramento.
Battier is a perfect fit, but again, would he want to play in Sacramento? Im sure Memphis will do everything in their power to re-sign him
Tayshaun fits most of the needs, but hes not at the top of my list. I never saw him as a leader in Detroit, and his game may have declined. But, he may be the most signable of the top 3
This is my sleeper. Hes 38, but not that old in basketball years. He played 4 years at Duke and lost 5 years to injury. By comparison Kobe is 32 and has 1300 NBA games played to Hill's 1000.
Hill is a great leader and very good perimeter defender. Also, hes now hitting the 3. The most of his career in the last 2 seasons.
The final 8 man rotation
Evans, Thornton, Vet SF, Cousins, Dalembert
Bench- Udrih, Casspi (clear role, no starts, no DNPs), JT
round out the 12 with any combination of Pooh, Whiteside, DBlock, draft picks, Garcia (if hes still here, but clearly out of the rotation)
My favorite scenario is the deal for Wallace, but its the biggest longshot. But lets hope the new CBA forces Portlands hand and they like somebody where the Kings will be drafting.
Grant Hill is my 2nd favorite, then trading Garcia and Casspi/Greene for a late 1 and drafting a few prospects that dont see much action this season.
Shaun Marion is my 3rd option, but I think our 1 is overpaying, and Casspi would not be enough.
Of course if we get the 1 or 2 pick or we dont re-sign Thornton and/or Sammy then scrap all of this