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The Kings should try to call Boston for the #1 pick

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Markelle Fultz is the star point guard Sacramento needs.

Washington v UCLA

As detailed yesterday by Akis, the Celtics and the 76ers have entered deep negotiations to send the #1 overall pick to Philly, while the #3 and other pieces, including an additional first rounder, would move to Boston. Every major NBA source is reporting that these talks are serious, but nothing has been completed as of yet.

If the #1 overall pick, presumably point-guard stud Markelle Fultz, is truly available to be dealt, the Kings need to pick up the phone and try to worm their way into these discussions. Whlie It’s absolutly true that the Sixers have many, many more assets than Sacramento, and Vlade Divac can’t compete with Bryan Colangelo if a bidding war opens up, there are other factors at play that give the Kings long shot hopes at landing their future star.

The Max Contract Factor

With a plethora of high-octane free agents available this summer, and an already solid core, the Celtics are going to be vying to sign either Blake Griffin or Gordan Hayward come July. There’s only one problem however; Boston doesn’t have enough room to sign either one of them. According to cap guru and Celtics writer Keith Smith, even if Danny Ainge renounces all of his free agents, he’s still going to come up several million dollars short of enough space, hence the Celtics-Sixers trade.

Here’s the catch, even if the Celtics renounce all of their free agents, don’t sign anyone, and swap the #1 overall pick ($5,855,200) for the #3 overall pick ($4,704,500), they are still going to be short $690,506. While that may not seem like a lot of cash, the Celtics would have to move one of their young players for something without a salary attached, like a future pick (of which they already have almost too many) and they probably wouldn’t receive fair value back. For example, Terry Rozier would be the most likely to be moved, but nobody’s giving up a first round pick for Terry Rozier, especially to help Boston sign a max-contract free agent. Instead Boston might be saddled with a couple of second rounders, which they already have four of this year and nine owned between now and 2020.

On the flip side, the difference in salary between the #3 and #5 first round picks is $863,500, just enough to slide in a max contract without giving up young players to clear room.

Obviously, the #5 selection isn’t going to get it done. The Kings would need to add in additional assets to help close the gap between the Philadelphia and Sacramento offers.

The Chicago Factor

Here’s a look at Boston’s future picks if Philadelphia were to send the #3 pick, the 2018 LAL first rounder, and the 2019 SAC first rounder in a deal to move up.

That is absolute insanity: eight first round picks in a three-year span, nine second round picks in a four-year span, and while this proves that Danny Ainge is a master at obtaining future draft considerations, it doesn’t mean that it’s viable to keep all of these goodies. Boston is eventually going to turn into a dog trying to pick up too many toys in its mouth at once, too many shiny things and not enough room for them all. There’s simply no way that Boston can afford to, or have the roster spots for eight first round selections between now and 2019, especially with their win-now roster.

Now, you may say to yourself that the Celtics can use all of those picks to acquire a star player, and while that’s the obvious strategy, it would still leave Boston with too many young players to handle. Let’s pretend that Chicago were to receive the 2018 Brooklyn first, the 2018 L.A. first, and the 2019 Sacramento first in a Jimmy Butler rebuild deal. That would still leave Boston with five first round prospects in the next three seasons. There’s only so many star players that can be obtained through that path.

Sacramento, on the other hand, can offer Boston a similar high first rounder(which may actually help them more due to salary constraints) as well as a young, affordable impact player like Skal Labissiere or Willie Cauley-Stein. Instead of Ainge hoarding more and more and more future first rounders, he can build a win-now team to challenge LeBron in the Eastern Conference. The wild-man, all over the court hyena that we saw in the second half of last season in Cauley-Stein will certainly help the Celtics compete with the Cavaliers more than a future, unknown pick or Skal Labissiere could turn into the perfect compliment to Al Horford.

Of course, that may not be enough, and that’s why the Kings should also be involving themselves in any of the conversations between Boston and Chicago. Everyone knows that Jimmy Butler was dangled to other organizations during last year’s draft and there’s no reason to believe he’s not similarly available right now.

All of the factors between either a Philadelphia-Boston-Chicago 3-team deal or a Sacramento-Boston-Chicago 3-team deal are too complex to debate in detail, but the Kings may have more to offer the Bulls, depending on what they’re seeking.

If Boston wants to send picks for Butler, but also wants to win now, and Chicago prefers their picks sooner rather than later, the Kings could facilitate all of that. Cauley-Stein, the #5, and Butler could all head to Boston to enable them to continue their best attempt at a super-team, the #10, the 2018 Brooklyn pick, and another first rounder, as well as Avery Bradley could jump start Chicago’s rebuild, and Markelle Fultz could head to Sacramento, satisfying all parties involved.

Is any of this likely to happen? Absolutely not. Fultz is headed to Philadelphia to workout for them, and a deal this far done usually isn’t reversed, but we’ve seen kookier things happen around the NBA this time of year.

The point is this, the Kings have a lot of nice, young assets, but no star to build around, and if the number one overall pick is for sale, Vlade Divac and Scott Perry should be calling Danny Ainge to see if a deal can be done. The front office cannot become enamored with one player, like De’Aaron Fox, when a possible franchise cornerstone can possibly be acquired. Pick up the phone, make a call, and see what comes of it.