Rajon Rondo, Josh Smith, Kevin Love...it goes on and on.
The Kings are actually being tied to big-name players and making noise. The franchise now has a vision with the cash to back it up. This is all still relatively new territory in Sacramento.
During the offseason last year, fresh off the transfer of ownership, it was all so new, not to mention rushed for the new Kings regime. They were scrambling to piece together a front office in time for the draft and head coach Michael Malone was running pre-draft workouts almost by himself.
The Andre Iguodala hunt showed that the Kings brass was serious, and that has only become more and more true over the last year.
With a season under their belt and currently dribbling the 8th pick around the gym, Pete D'Alessandro and company are now putting in some serious work. The Kings have been involved in numerous rumors after publicly making their pick available on the day of the NBA Draft Lottery, and they reportedly have three potential trades lined up right now.
They can keep the pick and draft Marcus Smart, Aaron Gordon, or whomever may be there, or trade it for a veteran and a later-round pick. Momentum seems to be on the side of trading the pick. What ends up happening will be analyzed and combed over, but beyond that is the fact that it is all giving the fans more and more reasons to believe this franchise is on the brink of finally turning the corner. The front office wants to win, and they aren't just saying, they are doing.
They locked up DeMarcus Cousins to a max extension before they truly needed to, dealt for Rudy Gay and are now dishing out $19.3 on him next season with potentially more beyond that. And they are rumored to be interested in Josh Smith and Rajon Rondo.
Gay has been a prime example of the approach this front office is going to continue to take: buy low and recruit hard. When they traded for Gay last season, it turned some heads and folks around NBA began looking at the Kings a little differently. And now he has agreed to stay next season (yes, $19.3 million played a large part in that) and it looks like he might be willing to negotiate a long-term deal. This and the flurry of rumors swirling around the team just gives more credence to the fact that they are remaining aggressive and aren't going to stop any time soon - all with the playoffs in their cross hairs.
In some ways, this is what we were all waiting for as the 28-win season grinded along in March and April. The Kings were finishing out the season with the players they had and would use this offseason to retool.
In Adrian Wojnarowski's piece over the weekend about Gay's decision to exercise his contract option next season, he mentioned how impressed the small forward has been with Vivek Ranadive's devotion to building a contender.
Things like that almost...almost...make you forget where this franchise was just two seasons ago. The uncertainty. The silence/sleepiness around draft time and the deals for cash. The mind-numbing complacency, which came down to finances. That comparison should never be too far from the mind of Kings fans because it was a moment in time that was quite perplexing and now provides a stark comparison to the new era.
The Kings are acting like a legitimate franchise again with the money not only to help the city build a new downtown arena, but also put a winning product on the floor.
This momentum all becomes null and void if money is spent and the wins don't start piling up, of course. In other words, will there come a time when the excitement turns out just to be excitement and the results continue not to show? Maybe. But the determination of Ranadive seems to have a life of its own at the moment and there are more reasons than not to believe things are about the change for the better.
So as the rebuild continues and we prepare for more rumors and draft day, let's all take a minute to enjoy what is happening in Sacramento, because it has been a long time coming.