To be be a Kings fan at this point in time is a happy place to be. Vivek and friends seem willing to make substantial investments, the draft picks although a little raw are exciting and the idea Demarcus having a distributor is filled with new possibilities. But possibly even more exciting then all those facts combined is the Kings have still not altered their biggest strength, many attractive tradable assets. The old regime of the Kings were a mess and Petries efforts as a GM left us as fans at times perplexed to what his goals were but if it was accidental or not the Kings have possibly the best tradable roster in the league. Much like Daryl Morey in Houston seemed to keep collecting attractive trade chips for years in hopes of flipping later on for a blue chipper all star, the trade eventually fell in his lap with James Harden who almost single handedly flipped the whole perception of his whole team. The kings have even more attractive pieces then Houston did last summer and the majority of them don’t seem to be in Pete’s long term plans. And with those assets comes the chance of the Kings sneaking a trade that could mean a blue chipper are a young player whose team cant retain. But with the Kings being such a exciting trade partner comes a very serious situation considering most likely only one blockbuster trade is doable and that is something the kings cant mess up. In connection to that bringing in a proven leader could also limit the Kings collecting young talent through the draft or signing proven role players. In my mind this is where Pete needs to show his true genius walking the thin line of cat and mouse of large scale NBA trades. Who he handles this could make or break the franchise for years or alter them as a future threat. But if he is looking for a veteran franchise face instead of putting his promise in a kid through the draft here are some ways he could go about it.
Captialize On The Idea That The Organization Was A Mess The Last Couple Years
Besides teams with lottery picks who are willing to trade them ( which there is almost non) the Kings are possibly the most attractive trade partner in the league and much of that enthusiasm is based on the majority of teams perception that there is more talent in Sacramento then what has met the eye the last couple of seasons. Bill Simmons was quoted saying that he would go for everyone on the Kings roster considering how much of mess the team has been on a franchise level. If true or not Pete would be very smart to capitalize on that perception and he has a roster full of young talent both on rookie deals in Jimmer Fredette, Isaiah Thomas, Grievis Vazquez, Patrick Patterson and nowRay McCallum, fairly attractive mid levels in Jason Thompson and Marcus Thornton and possibly Chuck Hayes as well as what’s basically a fairly large expiring contract in John Salmons. The Kings have assets that could both compliment a rebuild project with some of their rookie deals and Salmons’s Expiring Contract, complimentary pieces for title contenders who are looking for a little bit more bench power to which the Kings could offer players like Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Thornton and Jason Thompson who all could be great bench players on a title level team as well as being a good option for teams who are simply looking for a concellation prize to an expiring player who they reluctantly cant retain much like last summers Harden Trade. All those situations can offer something valuable in return but the kings would be smart to wait at least till the deadline to seek out valuable players who there respective teams cant retain. At this moment there doesn’t seem to be a Harden like trade that the Kings trade partner seems willing to give up a player but there is a handful of young talented teams who have players under team options who might want to get back something in return now then postpone the inevitable of not being able or interested in retaining their asset however much theyd like. On that list are players like Iman Shumpert, Kenneth Faried, Chandler Parsons, Maurice Harkless, Andre Drummond, Nikola Vucevic and many more who on paper look like their teams will all seek to retain them on the cheap but each GM is different and some might like a trade now then having to spend drastically to retain them down the road. Also you have situations like Harrison Barnes whose in the same boat with a team option this season. After the Signing of Andre Iguodala the assumed consensus is that Barnes development time and role will be on the bench. Golden State could look at that situation as that they have Barnes at least for an extra year at this point two more years still under rookie deals but they also might instead look at the situation in a way that they have a tradable asset whose role has been minimalized yet whose stock is hot. Right now they might think it’s a better idea to piece together a solid bench mob or a longer time then Barnes’s guaranteed two years. Granted the Kings rookie deals for the most part are expiring this year but considering how messy and inconsistent the majority of them have been teams might think it’s a smart investment even if they have to spend a little more right now. Teams might think that signing a player like Isaiah Thomas while he still has the sacramento stink might be a smarter investment now, long term.
The Kings could also flip their assets for a forthright top player if a deal presented itself. Much Like the recentPelicans Sixers trade the kings could possibly flip many of their assets for an skilled star talent with the bonus of not having to trade their draft pick. Teams that are in the middle of the pack as well as teams who are bad with a large all star contract would most likely look for any teams who would be willing to trade draft picks however based off the new love affair it seems every gm has with draft picks the Kings might be the best trade partner for those teams. It would be hard to craft a deal without picks for a franchise changing name but if Pete worked the Phones he might find some takers.
Wait till the Deadline
As I mentioned earlier I don’t see Pete trying to make a move with assets until the deadline and for a number of reasons that is the right plan. For starters this team is young and even if an all star came to Sacramento thorugh a trade this team is still raw. And with that Knowledge Pete would be smart with trying to protect a top 10 pick while still bringing in a top talent. If the Kings made a move for an all star assuming they are not injured the Kings could improve their record substancially however they could easily eliminate their chances at a Lottery pick for 2014, however conversely if they waited until the deadline to ship out their assets they would be able to tank for the majority of the season while still ensuring that their new piece could be accumstomed to sacramento before his first full season. Teams might be reluctant to work with the Kings assets at that point considering that a large amount of the rookies contracts would be expiring shortly after their arrival however alternately teams sometimes teams have an easier time signing an offer sheet right after a trade before they hit the market. The Kings best situation would be a second or third option player on title contender who has two years or so left but suffers a pretty significant injury before the playoffs. That team might make a panic move and look at strengthening their bench for a playoff push with the Kings assets instead of dealing with the injury. Conversely the Kings could insure to still be bad enough for a lottery pick as their new asset is injured while still adding a significant piece long term. That is a pretty in depth hypothetical but a situation will always happen to which a team can take advantage of another team. The kIngs have more chips to steal candy from a baby then almost anyone else in the league. The only difficulty is pouncing on that situation when it presents itself.
The fact is this team is still young and very raw and frankly new ownership and better coaches aren’t really going to change that fact. Moving forward the Kings should look at least garnering one more high level prospect through the draft before committing large amounts of money for the sake of throughing out money. In my mind the most important thing the Kings need to do this season is to truly figure out Demarcus Cousins if they decide to retain him prematurely or not, showcasing him and figuring out his weaknesses and strengths, as well as giving the ball to all the other expiring players as to see if they are long term answers and worth retaining come next summer. And protecting their 2014 draft pick full heartedly should be at the top of the list as well, but the ability for trading for a high level talent right now is laying in front of this franchise and if they played that hand right good things could come out of it. I just hope it doesn’t lift us into a Bucks like obscurity garnering 35 to 45 wins for years to come. You must crawl before you become the fastest sprinter alive. The truth is that even if Demarcus reached his full potential I think its still very doubtful he could be a top 5 player in this league. That is no nock on Boogie or his talents but with that being considered the Kings still need their go to player or at least a co lifter to that role. However great of a trade presents itself I doubt it could bring in a player of that stature. Let us remind ourselves that the goal is to win a title and distracting ourselves with any other objective is frankly pointless. Pete D'Allesandro has been given a specialist circumstance. Lets just hope he does something to help a future possible trophy then just a really good team.