It’s hard to believe, but the 2018 NBA Trade deadline is just four weeks away. The deadline was moved up this season to February 8th. As we get closer to the deadline, we’ll start to see a few deals happen but most action is usually reserved for the day before and the day of the deadline. Deadlines inspire action. But before we get too close to the deadline, let’s take a look at where the Sacramento Kings stand by answering a few questions.
1: Are the Kings a “buyer” or a “seller”?
While most fans would see the Kings as an obviously seller, the real answer might be “neither”. Sure, it would be great if the Kings could unload a veteran or two and get some draft assets or young players, but given the salaries of the Kings vets, I’m just not sure how likely a deal actually is. Let’s put it this way, I won’t be surprised at all if the Kings make a few moves, but I’d be even less surprised if the roster looks the same come February 9th.
2: What are the top tradable assets on your team’s roster and/or what players are “untradeable”?
Vince Carter is an $8 million expiring contract, a proven veteran, and obviously has enough left in the tank to be helpful for a team in the playoffs. That said, I don’t believe the Kings will be eager to move Vince unless he expresses an interest in joining a contender. George Hill is the best veteran talent, but his contract makes a move tricky. Garrett Temple and Kosta Koufos are two vets who could help a team’s bench, but both have player options for next season that could hamper a team’s flexibility beyond this year. As for Zach Randolph, I wouldn’t get your hopes up that anyone is going to take on his salary.
As for the untouchables, it’s most of the youth movement. De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic are as untouchable as they come. I wouldn’t expect the Kings to move on from Willie Cauley-Stein yet. Among the youngsters, Malachi Richardson seems the most likely to be traded.
3: What holes do you think your team would try and fill at the deadline?
Ideally the Kings would find a big man or a small forward who fits both the timeline and the existing talent, but I really can’t emphasize enough how much I doubt this happens via deadline trade. The other big hole for the Kings is a first round draft pick in 2019.
4: What’s your “dream trade”?
Kings acquire first round draft picks and salary filler for George Hill, Garrett Temple, and Kosta Koufos, or manage to buy low on a player like Justise Winslow or Stanley Johnson.
In case it wasn’t abundantly obvious, I don’t think the Kings are going to be major players at the deadline this year despite the wishes of the fan base. The Kings have preached patience and, right or wrong, seem very happy with their young players. I don’t think the Kings will do anything that could disrupt the locker room chemistry or the development plan of the kids.