Despite losing four straight games, the Sacramento Kings are in the playoff hunt as we approach the NBA season’s midway point. The Kings are trying to end their league-high 14-year postseason drought.
General manager Monte McNair will need to make some difficult decisions in the coming weeks. Sacramento is only a half-game out of a play-in spot and just 2.5 games behind the Golden State Warriors for the No. 8 seed.
McNair alluded to maintaining financial flexibility after he was hired last offseason and could look to move some veterans like Harrison Barnes or Buddy Hield to free up some cap space. Of course, trading Barnes or Hield for future assets will cause the team’s playoff hopes to take a hit.
Another Kings player who could be available is Nemanja Bjelica. The big man is making $7.15 million this season and is due to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. According to Jason Anderson of the Sac Bee, two Eastern Conference teams are doing their homework on Bjelica.
“One of those teams is the Miami Heat, a club that can absorb Bjelica’s contract using its $7.6 million trade exception, a league source told The Sacramento Bee. The Philadelphia 76ers also “are known to be among the teams who are considering the 32-year-old forward,” according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick.”
Bjelica averaged career-highs in points (11.5), rebounds (6.4), assists (2.8) and 3-point percentage (41.9) during the 2019-20 campaign but has failed to crack head coach Luke Walton’s rotation this season.
With Marvin Bagley III, Richaun Holmes and Hassan Whiteside ahead of him on the depth chart, Bjelica has only played in 13 games this season, putting up 6.9 points and 3.8 boards per contest.
The Kings’ net rating is 1.4 points better per 100 possessions with Bjelica on the bench. However, his -6.7 net rating ranks above both Bagley and Whiteside, per NBA.com.
What do you think would be a fair trade for Bjelica?
On to some links:
With the Kings in the thick of the playoff race, should they look to move some of their established players? Morten Jensen of Forbes does a deep dive on if McNair should move Barnes or Hield before the deadline.
With the deadline just five weeks away, which NBA teams have room to make some deals? ESPN’s Bobby Marks gives a nice breakdown of each team’s situation.
De’Aaron Fox was a big reason why Sacramento went 7-1 before its recent skid. Fox has been one of the most clutch players in the NBA this season as he tries to lead the franchise back to the postseason. (Kings.com)