Sam Yam ,a Sactown Royalty member, has a great retrospective up on recent sign-and-trades in the NBA. Just last week the Kings sent Tyreke Evans packing but added the savvy yet turnover prone Vasquez in a sign-and-trade. Which got me thinking about the Kings moves this offseason. Specifically how each of these moves is dynamic in many ways.
Kings management stated they would be aggressive and have backed up that claim thus far by either engineering some great value adds [Vasquez, Landry] or at least a bit player in the conversation [Iguodala, Calderon]. Pete D’Alessandro and his group are impressing players that shunned the previous ownership.
It’s a promising shift that could yield some big names in the future. There are still issues of course that need to be addressed. Whether or not to amnesty Salmons is one, what to do with the power forward situation is another. Do you flip Cousins to power forward and try to make a deal for Thompson or Paterson? Or separate deals for one or each of those players? What will Jimmer’s fate be? And what if anything will Pete do with the ‘Bayou Bomber’ Marcus Thornton’s contract?
Some of these trades or moves may play out in the next few days, while others may not be addressed until mid-season or next but one thing is stunningly clear. The new Ranadive ownership has its front office, players and coaching staff enthused about this new journey.
The Kings lead the league in season-ticket sales and clearly the fans are excited about this new chapter. Getting the best players into camp and keeping everyone on task is a lot easier when players want to work. And I think when training camp starts; you’ll have 15 Kings looking to put in work.
So let’s grade Pete’s moves thus far.
Drafting Ben McLemore: A+
You know the story, inner city struggle propels basketball prodigy to walk onto the big stage with a prestigious Kansas basketball team and shines. It’s a movie studios dream right? McLemore’s story has similar overtures to Cousins’ upbringing. However harrowing his story, McLemore is a star. The numbers are stout and without question the ownership plans to keep him as a King for the foreseeable future. The knock on McLemore is that he’s unproven and at times a malcontent. But this is a new regime. Reggie Theus [thankfully] isn’t holding the clipboard, Mike Malone is. This team is building on the future and giving a star a national spotlight to live out his boyhood dream. At 7th in the draft McLemore is a steal and the new ownership hits it out of the park on their first draft.
Tyreke Evans Sign-And-Trade: B+
This one has been debated, lauded and loathed, often all at once. Tyreke Evans will do good things in New Orleans, a team that is also rebuilding. The Pelicans get a player that could match or best numbers posted in Sacramento. Tyreke could thrive in a talented yet crowded backcourt but of more importance is the fact it looks as though his plantar issues are behind him. With that said I’m extremely pleased with the fact we got a pass-first point –guard instead of just letting Tyreke go for nothing. I will gladly take Vasquez’ nine assists per game and his league leading assists tally this season over anything that Tyreke did this year. Greivis is not the answer at point but he is a solid stopgap for the time being. [And an inexpensive one at that] Getting his services in return instead of just letting Reke walk? That’s a slam-dunk.
Carl Landry Signing: B
Listen, Landry is still a serviceable role player and in that role he will bring intangibles that the Kings desperately need. One of them being smarter play on-court and a grind it out mentality with his relentless hustle. Landry is not the long-term answer and he doesn’t fill the glaring need at small forward that the Kings covet but he is a valuable addition to a team that’s rebuilding, and let’s be honest, Carl Landry should have never been shipped away in the first place. Landry who was sent to New Orleans for Marcus Thornton in 2011 had fond memories from his Sacramento days. "I remember the fans and the support I got," Landry told the Sacramento Bee adding "Not just in the arena but around the city." Why would you ever trade this guy? That’s what happens when you have the owners from Major League running your team. Thankfully, it’s a new era in Sacramento.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute: C-
Not the help we need at small forward and for two second rounders in 2016 and 2018 respectively? It’s a bit steep but it’s a good move. I only say that because I would have liked to see just one second round pick go to Milwuakee, Luc is one of those role players you need on a team like this. His career average of 46% are OKAY for a reserve player, though his numbers over the past few years have fluctuated so any debate would have a shaky basis. Although he is a tad undersized at 6’8 for a power forward, he’s a guy I’ve always thought the Kings needed and I’m glad he’ll be sporting the purple and black this season.
Of course, there are some grades for the moves D’Alessandro chose NOT to make as well. Pulling the Iguodala contract was a good move because it would have handcuffed the team financially for the next few years. Signing Artest to a modest one-year deal would be a much more feasible option. I doubt Calderon was all that interested in coming to Sacramento but the fact he actually met with executives signals that the Kings are here to talk business not hot air.
In the Maloof era free agents and rookies avoided Sacramento like the plague but all that has changed. These guys mean business