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Report: Kings Open to Trading Down in Draft for Proven Player

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix reported early this morning that the Sacramento Kings would like to move back in the draft if they can acquire a proven player in return.

Trading back in the draft for a proven player and a pick in the teens sounds great in theory, but that sort of trade rarely happens, and when it does, they rarely move the needle.

In 2012, the Houston Rockets traded up from 14 to 12, and gave up Samuel Dalembert to do it.

In 2011, the Kings notoriously completed a three-team trade with the Charlotte Bobcats and the Milwaukee Bucks in what amounted to the acquisition of John Salmons to move from 7 to 10.

These are flawed examples, admittedly, but that is because examples of trading down from the top-10 to the teens with a valuable player attached don’t exist. I went back over every transaction in the last five NBA drafts, and none of them provided an example of what Mannix is suggesting the Kings are trying to do.

When teams trade up or down, it’s usually for multiple or future draft selections. Otherwise, they just trade out entirely. I’m not saying it’s impossible, I’m just saying it’s unlikely.

With that being said, the Kings have been working out some legitimate ‘trade down’ targets. They talked to Trey Lyles at the Chicago combine; they saw Myles Turner in Las Vegas, they worked out Cameron Payne, Sam Dekker, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and will be working out Frank Kaminsky today.

The Bucks are under new ownership, so using any of their history to predict what they’ll do in the future is largely pointless, but that is one team with a history of trading up and down in the draft. They also have the 16th pick, and a young, athletic, rim protecting power forward in John Henson. Maybe the #16 to #6 jump is enough to grab Henson. Maybe the Kings can convince Milwaukee to take a contract off the Kings books. Maybe.

Would the Houston Rockets consider Terrence Jones and #18 for #6? Without history to support what kind of haul the Kings should expect back, it’s hard to say what a trade down of this kind is worth.

I think the strategy Chris Mannix reported on is one of many scenarios Vlade Divac and the Sacramento Kings are considering, and I’m sure every potential move is predicated on who is on the board they are on the clock.

For example, if Willie Cauley-Stein is on the board at #6, would I trade back? No, I wouldn’t. I’d happily take Cauley-Stein and address the rest of my roster issues in the offseason, but if Cauley-Stein, or whomever the Kings are targeting at #6 isn’t available, it’s nice to have other options at your disposal.