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Debrief: Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel, and Caleb Swanigan

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Assessing the short tenures of the now-traded Kings.

Kimani Okearah

The Sacramento Kings finalized a trade Tuesday to send Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel, and Caleb Swanigan to the Portland Trail Blazers for Kent Bazemore, Anthony Tolliver, and two future second round picks. The trade saves Portland some money this year, saves the Kings the cost of Ariza’s partial guarantee next summer, and nets the Kings two more second rounders. The Kings love second rounders. They almost have enough to field a football team.

While we all love to grade trades right away, Richard Ivanowski already wrote about that for the Bee. Instead, it’s worth taking a minute to reflect back and evaluate the acquisitions and careers of the Kings players leaving Sacramento.

Trevor Ariza

The marquee name that Sacramento send out, Ariza was signed to the Kings just six and half month ago. Ariza signed a two-year, $25 million contract with the Kings. Of the second year, only $1.8 million was guaranteed.

Ariza was expected to provide the Kings with wing depth and veteran leadership. Injuries to Marvin Bagley III and Bogdan Bogdanovic resulted in Ariza playing a larger role for the Kings than we would have expected. In an ideal world Ariza could have played sparingly and provided a few solid minutes off the bench each game. But the whole idea of depth is that your bench can play a bigger role when needed. In this respect Ariza was underwhelming, finishing his Kings career with averages of 6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game.

Wenyen Gabriel

Gabriel joined the Kings after going undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft. He played for the Kings summer league team and earned a two-way contract. He played no games for Sacramento in 2018-19, but played for the Stockton Kings and developed his game. This season he impressed the Kings enough to earn a promotion from his two-way contract to a full roster spot. Although he only appeared in limited minutes for the Kings this season, he was well-liked and was a fun success story for Kings fans.

I don’t know what the future holds for Wenyen in the NBA, but I’ll be rooting for him.

Caleb Swanigan

Swanigan came to the Kings last season from...the Portland Trail Blazers. Swanigan was sent to Sacramento in exchange for Skal Labissiere. Portland certainly got the better end of that deal, as Skal has been a useful part of the Blazers’ big man rotation. Swanigan never played more than spot minutes for the Kings. He seems like a good guy, but his time in Sacramento was mostly forgettable.

This trade is largely underwhelming, but it’s underwhelming because past moves didn’t work out. Gabriel is a nice story, but Walton didn’t provide him much opportunity to play. Ariza was a big name that joins a long list of veterans who underperformed after cashing in with the Kings, and Swanigan was a long shot roll of the dice that didn’t pan out. Perhaps Tolliver or Bazemore or some kid who gets drafted in the 2024 second round will prove more memorable in their contributions to the Kings.