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NBA Trade Season: Sacramento Kings need to make a change

Breaking down the Sacramento Kings trade possibilities as we enter the true trading season of the NBA. Greg and Akis team up to tackle the issue.


Is your team a buyer, seller or both (please explain)?

In an ideal world, one in which Geoff Petrie is conscious and the Maloof Family had the financial capital necessary to properly maintain and run an NBA franchise, the Kings would be buyers because simply put, they need talent on this team. They would also need to be sellers, to get rid of a hodgepodge of unnecessary contracts (John Salmons, Travis Outlaw) or redundant players (Aaron Brooks).

If buyer, what are the needs?

As far as buying, the Kings needs are many. Ask any Kings fan who has been around the last four years however and you'll get an almost instantaneous response of "We need a Small Forward". Since Ron Artest was traded in the summer of 2008, Sacramento has seen a multitude of failed experiments at Small Forward. Here's a list of the players Sacramento has used at Small Forward since Artest's departure:

  • Francisco Garcia
  • Donté Greene
  • Andres Nocioni
  • John Salmons
  • Jason Thompson (Yes, that's how desperate our coaches have been to find a solution here)
  • Omri Casspi
  • Desmond Mason
  • Dominic McGuire
  • Ime Udoka
  • Antoine Wright
  • Travis Outlaw
  • Tyreke Evans
  • Terrence Williams
  • Tyler Honeycutt
  • James Johnson
Of that group, Tyreke Evans probably had the most success, even playing out of position, mainly because he's one of the few players of the group who are legitimate NBA talents. This year the Kings have had some success with veteran John Salmons, but Salmons is merely a stop-gap solution who isn't nearly enough of a consistent shooter. Shooting is what the Kings really need from this position, especially if they continue to build around DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans. Spacing is absolutely key, and a knockdown shooter would fit right in here.

While that's the biggest need, it's definitely not the only one. Sacramento's big man rotation looks pretty decent on paper, but what they really lack is a rim protector, one with legitimate size. DeMarcus Cousins is probably best suited at the PF spot, and Jason Thompson as first big off the bench. Thomas Robinson and Chuck Hayes are both undersized for their position.

Point Guard is another area where the Kings need an upgrade/solution. Currently the team employs and plays three of them in Aaron Brooks, Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette. All of those guys are primarily scorers first and distributors second though.

....what specific players should your team target?

As far as specific targets the Kings should go after, I wrote a piece a couple weeks ago about a few of my favorite potential trade targets. Easily at the top of my list in terms of non-star possibly available players is Jared Dudley, who I think would be a phenomenal fit for the Small Forward spot thanks to his good shooting touch and hustle on both ends of the court. He's one of the best value contracts in the league in my opinion, and just entering his prime.

Sacramento might also be interested in Toronto's Andrea Bargnani considering their interest in Ryan Anderson this summer. Bargnani would allow the Kings to add spacing at an unconventional position, and it might work well with DeMarcus Cousins... at least offensively. Defensively that pairing has problems.

Milwaukee also has a guy that would seem to be a very nice fit next to Cousins in Larry Sanders. Sanders is an extremely athletic big man who blocks an absurd amount of shots and rebounds at a high rate as well. I'm not so sure the Bucks would be too keen to trade him though.

The Point Guard market isn't all that exciting but I'd also try to engage the Clippers in talks for Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe has been fantastic in limited minutes but limited minutes is all he will see for years to come if he remains behind Chris Paul.

If seller, what are the objectives in potential moves?

In terms of selling, the Kings should look to shed some unnecessary contracts and reduce redundancy. The biggest redundancy to solve would of course be the current Point Guard situation. Aaron Brooks is currently starting, but on a per minute basis, he's probably performing the worst of both Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette. Both those guys are potential building blocks, while Brooks is not. Getting rid of Brooks and his affordable contract will open up time for both young players and hopefully give them some much needed consistency.

The Kings should also try their hardest to rid themselves of John Salmons' contract. It was a mistake to bring him back in the first place, but again, Sacramento had been desperate to get a Small Forward (and yet chose to pass on Kawhi Leonard and Harrison Barnes in consecutive drafts). Another contract to lose is Travis Outlaw's. Outlaw isn't eating up too much cap space, but he's locked in until 2014/15 and has played abysmally so far in both his years with the Kings.

...what players are available?

If it were up to me, every single player on this team would be available, including DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans. They have the highest value on the Kings and would thus be the only guys you could send out that would allow real assets in return.

But I'm not sure the Kings are ready to give up on either of them quite yet. Tyreke Evans is probably more available than DeMarcus Cousins, if only because Evans is due for a payday this summer and quality young big men are much harder to find. Another factor that makes them difficult to trade is the simple fact that the Kings would be selling low on both.

Everyone else is definitely available.

What are your top three trade ideas (please specify traded assets and briefly explain justification for each side)?

Until new management is in place, I don't see the Kings doing something truly transformative with their roster. The following three trade ideas take that into account.

  1. James Johnson to Charlotte for Reggie Williams: Kings and Bobcats swap disappointing Small Forwards. Kings get one that can shoot the ball while the Bobcats get one that can defend.
  2. Aaron Brooks to Houston for Carlos Delfino: The Rockets get a backup Point Guard to Lin that they're already familiar with while Sacramento gets a SF who can shoot the ball. Both teams open up more playing time for their young guys in the process.
  3. Aaron Brooks and Travis Outlaw to Utah for Marvin Williams: Utah gets to save some money while getting a backup PG and Sacramento gets a SF who is good but not great and frees up some playing time for Isaiah and Jimmer.
These next three trades take reality on a date and never call it again.
  1. Chuck Hayes, Jimmer Fredette and Isaiah Thomas to Los Angeles for Eric Bledsoe and Lamar Odom: The Kings give the Clippers two guys to develop as backups to CP3, as well as a phenomenal post defender in Chuck Hayes, which will help in the playoffs. Sacramento gets their PG of the future and loses a bit of long term money in Hayes' deal.
  2. DeMarcus Cousins, Francisco Garcia, and Aaron Brooks to Phoenix for Marcin Gortat, Jared Dudley and 2013 1st Round Pick from Minnesota: This is all about proclaiming the rebuild starting in earnest. Sacramento gives up the most exciting player in the deal in the talented but surly DeMarcus Cousins. They get a couple of starters in return as well as a pick.
  3. Tyreke Evans and Thomas Robinson to Utah for Derrick Favors and Alec Burks: The Kings give a very talented wing and young potential big man for the perfect pairing next to DeMarcus Cousins as well as a wing that they showed definite interest in prior to the 2011 draft.

For a look at what other team's are talking about this trade season, check out SB Nation's NBA Trade Season Group.