For the first time in a long time, the Sacramento Kings don’t appear to have any glaring holes in their roster entering the NBA season. Even the most overzealous of bloggers are struggling to concoct hypothetical trades that make sense for this franchise.
But today I am going to push that envelope slightly, because the need for change is always closer than it seems in professional sports. With that said, I’m going to have to set up a few scenarios in which to frame the trade ideas.
A few of these scenarios are unlikely. Some will even contradict each other. One or two might not even make sense at all. In truth, I’d prefer to see the Kings stick with what they have. But just as an exercise, I’m going to let my imagination run wild.
A trade that works today
Sacramento gets: Chandler Hutchison
Chicago gets: Caleb Swanigan, DET 2020 2nd, MIA 2020 2nd
Chandler Hutchison has really struggled since being picked in the late first round, and the same can certainly be said of Caleb Swanigan. Hopes were a bit higher for Hutchison, but after hitting only 29% of his field goals in his second summer league, the Bulls may simply be out on him. After adding Otto Porter as the everyday small forward in Chicago, getting two second rounders for a guy buried on the depth chart could be seen as a win for the Bulls at this point.
For the Kings, taking on a project at the small forward position actually makes sense. Sacramento has done a good job adding pieces at the three, but none of them are particularly young or inexpensive. Hutchison is both, and the loss of the second rounders will feel like a drop in the bucket considering the Kings own four in the 2020 draft and another three in 2021.
A trade of consolidation
SAC gets: Andre Roberson
OKC gets: Nemanja Bjelica, Yogi Ferrell, Caleb Swanigan
The Kings still don’t have their lockdown defender on the wing. Harrison Barnes and Trevor Ariza can hold their own, but Roberson was on a different level before his injury. Of course, this deal would be completely dependent on Roberson’s health. He hasn’t played in an NBA game since January of 2018. However, if he returns to action and looks like his old self, he could be the perfect piece to round out Sacramento’s rotation.
The theory of this move would be to take one of the five rotation-level big men and one of the five rotation-level guards on Sacramento’s roster and turn them into another wing with size. While Sacramento is deep, they’re still a little light in the middle. If Bjelica and Ferrell end up as the odd men out in terms of minutes, it would make sense to move on from them. Roberson is also the same age as Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes, which means he could stick with this team for a while as they continue to grow.
A trade for a playoff push
Sacramento gets: Danilo Gallinari
Oklahoma City gets: Trevor Ariza, Nemanja Bjelica, Yogi Ferrell, SAC 2020 1st (lottery protected)
If the Kings are truly in the mix for a playoff spot at the trade deadline, giving up their 2020 first rounder to lock up their first playoff spot in 14 years makes perfect sense, and making it lottery protected leaves very little downside. Danilo Gallinari is the perfect type of player to target in a playoff push type of move. He has All-Star level talent and is on an expiring deal.
We already know that Oklahoma City is in the business of collecting first round picks, so why not let them add to their stockpile. They could even flip Ariza, Bjelica, or Ferrell in smaller deals. If the Thunder struggle early and accept a complete rebuild, they could be an ideal trade partner at the deadline.
A trade for if the playoffs are out of reach
Sacramento gets: Kent Bazemore, POR 2020 1st (lottery protected)
Portland gets: Trevor Ariza, Nemanja Bjelica
This scenario is no fun to think about. But if we’re exploring all the types of trades that could happen this year, we at least need to consider the more pessimistic side of things. The Western Conference is as strong as ever, and the Kings are not favored to get into the playoffs. For a trade like this to happen, Sacramento would have to be completely out of the mix by February. It would probably take a series of injuries or something else unforeseen for them to get there, but crazier things have happened.
Portland is the type of team that could be buyers at the deadline. The Trail Blazers are so thin on the wing that a player like Trevor Ariza could step in as their savior for a decent playoff seed. Since Ariza is 34 years-old and has only one year of guaranteed salary, he’s the most obvious piece to move for draft capital. Bjelica could also help Portland by giving them another floor spacer, and his salary would allow the Kings to take back the expiring deal needed to add a first round pick.
A trade for the darkest timeline
This is a trade so dark I hesitate to even speak it’s name. Sadly, any speculative roundup of trade possibilities has to at least acknowledge the Bogdan Bogdanovic situation. While I would be very much in favor of re-signing or extending both Buddy Hield and Bogi, there is some merit the the idea that spending upwards of $50 million on the shooting guard position has the potential to be problematic. Luckily it won’t be a real issue until De’Aaron Fox gets his max deal in two years, but at that point spending two-third of your salary cap on guards may not be sustainable.
I will not suggest a trade here, or even throw out hypothetical targets, unlike some other writers on this site. But I will say that if I did, they would be more reasonable than this:
So while trade talks always seem to devolve into anger and vitriol, we can be thankful that there are some things that we can all agree on. First, that the Kings are in a good spot right now and don’t need to shuffle their deck. Second, that if a trade needs to happen at some point, that the Kings have the pieces to find something that works. And third and finally, that Tim Maxwell is an absolute madman.