On the surface, the signing of Eric Moreland and the expected signing of Omri Casspi (expected to be made official as early as Wednesday) are somewhat insignificant for the Sacramento Kings. Casspi is an underwhelming back-up small forward who was already on a very cheap contract and still cleared waivers. He brings some skills, and understands his role, but he certainly has his fair share of flaws. Eric Moreland went undrafted, and earned his opportunity based on a strong showing in Las Vegas Summer League. But Moreland is a specialist. A rim-protecting specialist is nothing to scoff at, but he represents yet another power forward on a roster already overloaded with them.
But the signings make a lot more sense when we re-examine the Kings after last year's trade for Rudy Gay. The Kings got the best player in the trade, and got a prospect in Quincy Acy. The Kings gave up nothing notable, trading away John Salmons, Chuck Hayes, Greivis Vasquez, and Patrick Patterson. All had underwhelmed with the Kings. The trade helped the Kings by bringing in Rudy Gay, instantly becoming the best Kings small forward since Ron Artest. But a lack of depth quickly became on obvious issue.
The Rudy Gay trade was a rare win-win deal in the NBA, as the castoffs from Sacramento found success as veteran depth for a playoff team. Salmons, Patterson, and Vasquez especially thrived. The trade worked for the Raptors because prior to the trade they were struggling with a lack of depth. The Kings and Raptors essentially traded problems, with the Kings gambling on a resurgence from Gay and the ability to add depth in other ways. The Kings had some time to address their depth issues. They weren't pushing for the playoffs like Toronto.
Now, the Kings once again find themselves wanting to trade a package of players in exchange for a big name. Josh Smith has been mentioned repeatedly, but the Kings are surely pursuing multiple targets of a similar profile. The Kings presumably want to unload some combination of Jason Thompson, Derrick Williams, Carl Landry, Jason Terry, and Travis Outlaw.
If Jason Terry gets dealt, the Kings have other depth at shooting guard. With Ben McLemore and Nik Stauskas, Jason Terry isn't a player the Kings would need to replace. Assuming one or two of Thompson, Williams and Landry are dealt (with Landry being the least likely, in my opinion), the Kings would need more depth at power forward. This is obviously dependent on who the Kings acquired, though. If the Kings acquired Smith and kept Landry, they would mostly just need Acy and Moreland as protection against injuries. If Outlaw was included in a deal, Casspi suddenly becomes much more important to the rotation.
More than anything, these moves are about having flexibility. Let's say a couple of our power forwards are traded away for a legitimate back-up center, and maybe Acy is included as a cheap yet promising young asset. Suddenly it becomes more important to have Moreland as a guy you might plug into the lineup. Being able to make trades without the concern of destroying your bench depth puts the Kings in a position of strength in negotiations.
On the surface, these moves may not be of significant impact. But as a precursor to additional moves, these signings could prove quite important.