A rumor the Kings might swap picks with Detroit while sending Andres Nocioni to Motown for Tayshaun Prince has been gaining steam, especially in light of all the reports Sacramento might be looking to trade down and pick up Greg Monroe or Hassan Whiteside.
Let's side aside the actual pick swap. There are questions as to whether Detroit will execute the trade if DeMarcus Cousins is off the board. Heck, there are questions as to whether Sacramento will execute the trade if DeMarcus Cousins is on the board. (Both those items can't be true; otherwise, there is no rumor here.) Let's assume for a second the Kings either have decided against Cousins or the Pistons are still open to moving up to No. 5 even if Cousins is gone.
Does the Nocioni-Prince swap make financial sense?
Prince makes $11.4 million next season, and then is a free agent. Nocioni makes $6.8 million next season and $6.6 million in 2011-12. So said trade would slice into the Kings' cap space this summer by about $4.6 million, but opens up an extra $6.6 million the following summer. The Kings would have about $15 million in cap space this summer after this trade. No one has any clue what the 2011-12 salary cap will look like, so there's little use estimating that.
If the Kings really are waiting for the summer of 2011 to make a big free agency move, this move would help. But don't forget that both Carl Landry and Spencer Hawes will be free agents that summer, and will cut into the cap space. The new collective bargaining agreement will likely cut into the cap space. But it will also likely make players cheaper. If the Kings want to roll the dice on the CBA, this trade makes sense. If the team is looking to make a splash this summer, it's best to be avoided.
The impact of Sacramento acquiring Prince on punny headline writers, however, cannot be measured.