In the NBA Draft, it’s tough not to take the best player available when you’re in the lottery, and the Kings did that when they drafted Davion Mitchell, a national champion guard out of Baylor.
The problem with picking a guard is there wasn’t expected to be a ton of playing time for Mitchell behind De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Delon Wright, and Terence Davis. As a result, Sacramento is clearing out one of the players in front of Mitchell by reportedly trading Delon Wright to Atlanta.
The Kings will send guard Delon Wright to Atlanta in the three-team trade, source tells ESPN . https://t.co/cNYL77jJ63— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 30, 2021
Can confirm @wojespn: Hawks are trading Kris Dunn, Bruno Fernando and a 2023 2nd round pick for Tristan Thompson. Hawks get a backup center with Onyeka Okongwu out for a few months to start the season.— Chris Kirschner (@ChrisKirschner) July 30, 2021
Being the fifth guard isn’t a clear path to playing time, but it’s certainly better than being sixth. One has to assume that the Kings also aren’t done looking for trading partners for Hield after getting so close to sending him to Los Angeles.
In the process, the Kings have also secured some insurance at the center position. Without knowing if Richaun Holmes will be returning in free agency — and given that the team was unable to clear cap space for Holmes with a Hield trade — Sacramento got a competent backup center in Tristan Thompson. Thompson is a veteran with championship experience who should be a good presence in the locker room, and he can help Damian Jones, Chimezie Metu, and Neemias Queta learn the position. Thompson also only has one year left on his contract, so this isn’t a long-term investment.
The Kings were able to shift their roster imbalance by adding a big instead of a guard. Whether Thompson is a better player than Wright is unclear, but he fills a bigger need for the time being.