Welcome back to the Sactown Royalty Mailbag! Will is currently scouting Zion Williamson in North Carolina, so I’m taking on the mailbag as a solo artist. Let’s dive in!
From Aykis16 via the comments (in response to my Greg fan fiction): What drugs were used in the making of this article?
Tim: This is the version of Babygiraffe you get when the Kings are winning. Now we must ask ourselves, would we rather the Kings continue to succeed and the stories to continue, or everything to fall apart and the fan fiction end?
From For Kings and Country via the comments: Who is the starting small forward for the Kings next season and how are we acquiring that player?
Tim: This is a fascinating debate as there are several trade targets, free agents options, and in-house possibilities for the Kings. I do believe Vlade Divac will seek to upgrade the small forward position prior to the deadline, so I’ll submit Otto Porter Jr. as my answer. Washington’s salary situation is beyond messy and they need to deal someone, and the Kings can offer a combination of immediate cap space and decent young players, so a potential deal just makes too much sense. As far as who is traded:
WAS: Cauley-Stein, Randolph, however many 2nd rounders the Wizards want
SAC: Porter Jr.
If it isn’t a Porter deal, there are some other options at wing for the Kings prior to the trade deadline: TJ Warren, Trevor Ariza, Kent Bazemore, Tim Hardaway Jr, Andrew Wiggins
From ryanfunkycold via the comments: Provided WCS continues this level of play and finishes the season on the Kings roster, what type of contract would the Kings be looking to offer him?
Tim: At this point, I’m not particularly interested in bringing Willie Cauley-Stein back to the team. After a hot start to the season, he’s fallen back into his old ways, and Willie’s lack of rim protection and interior defense continue to hurt the team. He’s 1 of only 3 NBA centers whose opponents shoot a higher accuracy within six feet of the rim when guarded by him. The other two? Deandre Ayton and Mo Bamba, both rookies. His number one benefit to the team is his gravity in the pick-and-roll, but Marvin Bagley should be able to replicate that production once Dave Joerger allows him to assume that role. To fully answer the query, I’m ready to start Marvin Bagley at the 5 and Nemanja Bjelica at the 4, so unless WCS is willing to come off of the bench for less than $10 million per year (and he won’t be), I’m letting him walk to another team.
From smoothsactown via the comments: At what point would it be worthwhile to make a playoff push, in terms of trades?
Tim: If the Kings are over .500 at the end of January, they should consider themselves to be a true playoff contender. Assuming that’s the case, sacrificing the long-term on the altar of the immediate would be a mistake, but making a deal that benefits both this season and future years could very well be feasible. The Front Office would need to seek a player who is before or just entering his prime, likely 27 or younger, who is locked up for multiple seasons, and whose contract isn’t a complete albatross. They also need to avoid upsetting the minutes balance on the roster, so guards and big men are mostly out of the equation, with the small forward slot eligible for an upgrade. As far as players they should absolutely avoid: Kevin Love, JR Smith, Robin Lopez, and Hassan Whiteside should be avoided at all costs.
From Arcthunder via the comments: What are your expectations now for the Kings to have a good season?
Tim: I predicted 26 wins coming into the season, so obviously I’m thrilled with the current results. Right now, the Kings are on pace for 45 wins which feels both possible and unlikely, although that may be my pessimistic nature speaking out. Due to the fast start to the year, 32 wins feels disappointing, as that would mean Sacramento finished the season just 17-38, so I’m going to say 38 wins will feel really good and anything above 40 should be considered a huge accomplishment. If the Kings do somehow slip into the playoffs or just miss out, Dave Joerger should finish in the top-3 in Coach of the Year voting.