Step 1 in rebuilding this franchise was obviously selling the team to Vivek. Step 2, had to have been the hiring of a new front office that would invest in player development, and Step 3 was moving on from the building block that was Tyreke Evans, to the new shiny building block that is Ben McLemore. Tyreke will put up better stats than McLemore this year, but the Kings needed to move on.
Step 4 has to be remembering that this roster is still highly flawed. Too many scorers who need a high volume of minutes and shots to be effective. You can't have Marcus Thornton, Isaiah Thomas, and Jimmer Fredette on the same team. At least 1 needs to go immediately, and the other by the end of next offseason. I love IT, but there is a reason no one will commit to Nate Robinson. It is hard to build with an undersized pg who doesn't make anyone else better and needs the ball all the time. Think Bobby Jackson as a starter vs. Bobby Jackson as a 6th man. And that is even more so for Thornton, he's too small and needs too many shots to make a mark on the game. Jimmer needs minutes, but who's minutes would you give him? The Kings have 3 guards right now that need to play. Greivis Vasquez needs to play so the Kings can be a unselfish team that moves the ball. He is trying to change the culture. Same goes for McLemore. He needs the time and leash to develop, and he gets more loose balls than any guard the Kings have had in years. IT is the most consistent scoring option on the team outside of Demarcus Cousins, so the other 2 guys need to go. Jimmer needs an opportunity, but he's not going to get anything from this Front Office. He was drafted because of old ownership trying to sell tickets. The new Front Office isn't having any of that. I was really happy for Jimmer that his contract wasn't renewed. Not because I want to see him go, but because he needs to go. It's not you Jimmer, its me. Sacramento needs to start anew, because building something shiny and new is impossible without knocking some other things down in most cases.
Jimmer will get a better opportunity somewhere else next offseason because he will be brought in by a team that wants him, and he is smart enough to pick the team that best fits him, for basketball reasons. Every rumor mill says that he is rumored to go to Utah. I don't think Jimmer wants that. He knows the pressure to be Jimmer from BYU is unrealistic. He's not a volume scorer in the NBA, he needs to be a role player that gains comfort and experience by being in put in positions to succeed, not in a position to be crushed by bad expectations.
Who in their right mind would want Thornton and his 16 million dollar contract over the next 2 years? Probably no one who didn't have something they wanted to get rid of also. Its unrealistic for anyone to think that a team under the cap would want him because he takes up way too much space and doesn't give you 8 million a year in value. Let's take a look at the bad contracts on teams. The Knicks are paying Andrea Bargnani 12 million a year for the next 2 years to shoot jumpshots from the PF position. They Iman Shumpert as a bargain making 2 million a year for the next 2. The Knicks want to deal Shumpert because he is an asset, and they wanted Bargnani because they thought another jump shooter would make them that more dangerous. Well, a team that needs has Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith does not need another starting rotation player who doesn't do the little things. Who they need is Jason Thompson, another guy who can do the little things like Tyson Chandler does so they aren't paper soft when Chandler isn't in the game. Amare Stoudamire is not a tough guy anymore. Package Thompson, and Thornton for Bargnani and Shumpert. The trade helps the roster makeup of both teams because Bargnani is a better fit next to Cousins than Thompson, and Thompson doesn't need plays run for him. He is 7 feet tall, cant rebound and doesn't play defense. But he does shoot it well. Shumpert was made expendable when the Knicks drafted Tim Hardaway Jr.
A roster for the Kings that has:
SF Mbah a Moute
Bench: Thomas, McCallum, Fredette, Shumpert, Salmons, Outlaw, Patterson, Landry, Hayes and Ndiaye
Shumpert would have a much bigger opportunity in Sac backing up McLemore and Moute than he would in NY trying to share time with Hardaway Jr. backing up Carmelo and JR Smith. That gives the Kings 2 shooters on the floor to stretch for Cousins and make up for Moute's lack of offense, and Vasquez's lack of shooting ability.
The Knicks would look more like
PG: Felton, Prigioni,
SG: Smith, Hardaway and Thornton
SF: Anthony, Peace
PF: Thompson, Martin
C: Chandler, Stoudamire
This is a much easier roster for the Knicks to handle. Hardaway is the wing they are developing, and if he has a rookie-esque spell, Thornton is a capable back-up who doesn't need any time developing. Thompson can shoot the midrange jumpshot a little bit so he gives that aspect in making up for Chandler's lack of shooting and he actually plays defense, which helps Chandler from being the only guy who is interested in defense. People are saying Kenneth Faried to the Knicks for Shumpert but I don't see how that would work for the Nuggets. They already have Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Randy Foye, and Evan Fournier as good wings. Fournier is a wing that they just drafted so I think they will commit to his growth.
That fantasy Kings roster isn't going to the playoffs though. Still too many old eggs that won't be hatching in the 916. Salmons, Fredette, Vasquez, Thomas, Hdiaye and Patterson will all be free agents this coming offseason. The only one I could see coming back is Vasquez, but that depends on a lot of things. If the Kings don't get a top 5 lottery pick Vasquez will be back. If they do, he will fall victim to Marcus Smart/Dante Exum, or be saved by Jabari Parker. There's no way the Kings get a top 2 pick, because the frozen envelopes would never allow that. So Julius Randle and Andrew Wiggins are out of the picture. But the Kings are a bottom 7 team for sure. I wouldn't mind an Aaron Gordon playing alongside Cousins in the future but that is too many scenarios to cover.
Imagine building from a roster than included:
PG: Smart or PG: Vasquez
SG: McLemore SG: McLemore
SF: Moute SF: Parker
PF: Bargnani PF: Bargnani
C: Cousins C: Cousins
The Kings will probably bring back IT this offseason because his value is more to us than it is to any other team. The other guys will probably all be gone though. Leaving the Kings with a bench of Vasquez or Moute + Outlaw, Shumpert, IT, McCallum, Landry, Hayes. Find another Center and I like where this could go.