The February 23rd trade deadline will be here before you know it, and ever since December 15th’s all those players you signed in the summer can now be traded deadline passed, the NBA rumor mill has been... churning? Whatever the appropriate verb is, trade rumors have been flying around left and right. Yes, of course the Kings have been involved.
Enter The Vertical’s Chris Mannix, who revealed the details behind a potential Goran Dragic - Rudy Gay swap that almost happened earlier in the season.
Dragic is open to a trade, league sources told The Vertical, and Miami has pursued that option. An early season swap with Sacramento for Rudy Gay fell apart when the Heat sought Darren Collison, sources said, and teams that have probed Miami about Dragic have found the Heat open to offers.
More on Goran Dragic in a minute, but in addition to Mannix’s report, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst went on Zach Lowe’s excellent podcast and talked about the Kings’ season long interest in Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight.
It’s hard to read Sacramento. Sacramento talks a lot but then never does anything, so Sacramento’s very frustrating to people,” Windhorst said. “I know that Sacramento has been talking to Phoenix about Brandon Knight since the summer. Will that ultimately get done? I don’t know, but it’s out there.
I am significantly less interested in the Kings acquiring Brandon Knight than I am Goran Dragic, but to me Knight represents a last-minute Rudy Gay swap if the Kings can’t do any better. Would you rather have Knight locked up at $13.6 million next season, or $13.6 million of cap space? The Suns might be asking themselves that exact same question.
Knight has struggled off the bench for the Suns this season, and it would be fair to question just how much of a point guard Knight is considering how much time he’s spent off the ball in his career thus far. I don’t hate the idea of targeting a struggling young player on a decent long-term contract, though. He has talent. He just turned 25. His contract really isn’t bad considering where the salary cap is going.
Mannix’s Goran Dragic report is a lot more juicy. It was really nice of him to give us a fake trade to argue over.
Rudy Gay and Darren Collison for Goran Dragic. For the sake of discussion I’ll pretend that was a real offer, but I would imagine that there would probably be some sort of young asset going to Miami in addition to what Mannix reported. Unless Miami has some indication that Rudy Gay and / or Darren Collison will re-sign this summer, I don’t understand why Miami would consider giving up Dragic on what will amount to two expiring contracts.
I think dealing an assuredly-leaving Rudy Gay and Darren Collison for Goran Dragic is a no-brainer, and if that was in any way on the table, I can’t imagine how the Kings are planning on finding a better offer for Gay elsewhere.
Unless, of course, Vlade Divac is going to try and blow this thing up, and would rather deal Gay and Collison for young assets. I can get behind that plan, but if you’re going young, DeMarcus Cousins has to be the next to go. I don’t think you can roll Rudy Gay and the Kings’ other veteran assets into young players or draft considerations and keep DeMarcus Cousins. It has to be one or the other. Either you’re trying to win with Cousins or you’re starting another youth movement. You can’t have it both ways.
We’ll have to wait and see how things play out as we inch closer to that February 23rd deadline, but Dragic and Knight are certainly two names to keep an eye on.