The Kings will probably be looking to make some decent-sized moves this summer in order to get the team out of the cellar. This front office and ownership have shown a willingness to take risks. Some have panned out, others have not,. Because the Kings are a small market team without too much cap space, one of the go-to avenues for improving the team is through trades. As such, we'll take a look at Sacramento's current players and assets and try to rank them by their theoretical value.
Note: I am not including players currently on the roster that are set to be free agents this summer as the Kings can't trade them directly.
1. DeMarcus Cousins
Cousins not only ranks as the best trade asset the Kings have, he might just be one of the most valuable trade assets in the entire NBA. Cousins is a legitimate two-way force and perhaps the best center in the NBA. Best of all he's locked up for three more years and will be just 25 years old next season. Of course, these are all reasons for the Kings to not trade Cousins, and it's incredibly unlikely that they do so for anything less than a godfather type offer.
2a. 2015 Lottery Pick (Lands in Top 3)
Sacramento's lottery pick on the other hand, is much more available, and particularly valuable if it lands in the top three. The Kings should be hesitant to trade such a pick for anything less than an established star and possibly more. The last time the Kings had a top three pick, they ended up trading it for a young Mitch Richmond. GMs are a lot smarter now, so it's unlikely the Kings could pull such a heist again, but they still shouldn't give it up lightly. These players can potentially be under a team's control for 8 years, and on a very affordable contract for the first four of those years.
2b. 2015 Lottery Pick (Lands in 6, 7, 8)
If the Kings don't jump up in the lottery (which is the greater mathematical possibility), the pick is still valuable, but not as much. The Kings could potentially use this pick and combine it with some dead salary like Carl Landry to acquire a solid player and get more cap space. However, this is again a risky trade, as there still can be very good players available in this range. Just because Sacramento hasn't had the best luck in finding those players in the last few years, doesn't mean they shouldn't keep trying. We don't want a situation like in which the Wizards traded the #5 pick for Mike Miller and Randy Foye, or even worse, repeating something like the John Salmons trade.
3. Rudy Gay
For all his supposed faults, Rudy Gay is still a very good player and one of the most talented offensive players in the NBA. Gay is also on a much more affordable contract than he was when the Kings acquired him, and is also coming off of two straight career-years. Teams will always need great scorers, and Rudy's also a great teammate by all accounts.
4. Ben McLemore
Of all of Sacramento's young players, Ben McLemore has the most value, especially after his improvement this past season. McLemore has the potential to be a two-way player and will be in just the third season of his rookie deal. That potential, combined with his affordability, makes him an intriguing prospect for any team.
5. Darren Collison
One of Sacramento's better decisions last year was acquiring Darren Collison on a cheap mid-level deal. Collison provided great value to contract and would be valuable addition looking for consistency from their starting PG or quality from their backup. I'm sure the Clippers are regretting letting him go to sign Spencer Hawes at this point, given their lack of bench depth.
6. Nik Stauskas
Stauskas' ranking has to do more with potential than actual production. His rookie year was atrocious, although he was able to hit a shot with some consistency under George Karl. Three point shooting is a commodity in today's NBA and will continue to be. Given how much of a mess the Kings were last season, I'm sure there are other teams out there who view Stauskas' potential highly.
7. Ray McCallum
McCallum is not as big of an asset as Sacramento's other young guards, in part because his contract runs out after next season and he also hasn't proven to be much more than a scoring guard with some defensive potential. Ray's also a little bit older for a young player given his four years in college.
8. Jason Thompson
Thompson doesn't stretch the floor or protect the rim. He's not a particularly modern NBA big man but he's a decent defensive player and can run the floor well. His contract isn't particularly appealing but it's also not super overvalued. Nonetheless, it likely won't be easy to find a taker for Thompson.
9. Carl Landry
Landry's signing was one of the first things the new regime did and it's proven to be a huge mistake, especially considering that it ended up costing them valuable cap space that could have been used more efficiently. Landry is not the same player as he was in Golden State or New Orleans, having lost some mobility. He's still a decent post scorer and jump shooter but he doesn't offer defense or rebounding.
137. The rights to Alex Oriakhi
Those are my rankings. Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments.