Sacramento Kings: John Salmons The final veteran residue of one of the most depressing trades in recent league history — the Kings-Bucks-Bobcats three-team shrug on draft day 2011 that sent Stephen Jackson, Corey Maggette, Beno Udrih, and Salmons flying around the league until each of their new teams, respectively, decided they didn’t want the players they received anymore. The Kings were the undisputed losers in that deal, having acquired the player with the longest contract (Salmons) in order to move three spots down in the draft and select Jimmer Fredette. Seriously, this was a masterpiece of terrible trading by the Kings. This is Geoff Petrie’s Guernica. The Kings are right at the edge of the cap after dealing a second-round pick (and swap rights on another) to Milwaukee for Mbah a Moute and splurging on a four-year deal for the very solid Carl Landry. They could have kept Tyreke Evans, much younger than either of those players, for about the same money they will pay them combined, or they could have paid none of the three and gone into tank mode. That’s a dicey move for a new ownership group seeking to fill its current arena while negotiating for a new one and re-earning the loyalty of a fan base that has seen far too much losing. Mbah a Moute will bring defense and maturity to a roster in desperate need of both, and Landry will compete for minutes in a crowded big-man rotation while turning each member of that rotation (save DeMarcus Cousins) into a trade chip. The Kings still won’t be very good, and on balance I’d rather have the second-round pick, more in-season cap flexibility, and a shot at Andrew Wiggins. But the Kings are working under a lot of competing pressures. They’ll need more than what they have now to be remotely competitive in the Western Conference, and more than what piddling room the exception can get them. Amnestying Salmons opens up a midlevel salary slot.