(Ed. Note: Shortly after this article was written, news broke that Chris Paul agreed to opt-in to his deal and was traded to the Houston Rockets for Sam Dekker, Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams and a 2018 1st round pick. The original article appears in its entirety below and still applies if the Rockets want to open up cap space for another free agent.)
While the Kings won’t be in the mix for the Chris Pauls of the world this summer, they are in a prime position to help out teams who are. ESPN’s Marc Stein reported last night that the Houston Rockets have become serious contenders to sign Paul, but in order to do so, they need to clear up a bunch of space as they don’t have enough room right now to get under the cap.
Here’s where Sacramento comes in. From Stein:
The fastest way for the Rockets to dramatically increase their cap space is to find a trade taker for Anderson, who is on the books for $19.6 million next season and is owed $61.3 million through the 2019-20 season. Sources say Houston has been focused on trying to find a team with cap space to take on Anderson -- such as Sacramento -- in hopes of potentially creating up to $28.5 million in room under the cap.
Whether the Kings are actually interested in Ryan Anderson or Stein just uses Sacramento as an example of a team with cap space is unclear. But the Kings have pursued Anderson on multiple occasions before, most recently last summer before he chose to sign a 4 year, $80 million deal with the Rockets. Anderson also fills in a position of need as a stretch-four, and one of the best in the league at that. He also happens to be a Sacramento-native who’d instantly be a fan favorite.
Should the Kings still be interested in Anderson, they’re in an optimal position to both acquire him and something else in return. Young forward Sam Dekker is an attractive asset at a position of need, and the Rockets own all of their own first round picks going forward. The Rockets could also look to move Point Guard Patrick Beverley instead of Anderson, or maybe even in addition to him. Beverley was just named to the All-NBA Defensive 1st Team and would be a good mentor for someone like De’Aaron Fox.
These are exactly the kind of situations the Kings need to be taking advantage of, and we’ll see what kind of maneuvering happens once free agency officially begins and player intentions become a bit more clear.