With the trade deadline fast approaching, the last few weeks have warmed the seat of Sacramento Kings General Manager Monte McNair, as he’s reportedly been pressured to make a big splash come February.
On Wednesday, NBA Insider for The Athletic, Shams Charania, broke news that the Kings are not looking to move off of De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton and would rather build a core around the budding backcourt.
The news comes fresh off of contrasting information from the Philadelphia 76ers’ brass, who have mentioned Fox as a trade target in what could be the finale of the Ben Simmons saga. A newer, but more realistic trade parter came this morning in the Indiana Pacers, who have bounced around the idea of a Sabonis-Fox swap come deadline.
Shams reported that despite all of the trade discussions going on amongst the league and the Kings, Fox and Haliburton will remain untouchable:
“The Kings have informed Fox and his representation, Chris Gaston of Family First Sports, that they do not want to trade him and want to center the team around him and Haliburton.”
It’s hard to know exactly how to separate smokescreen from signed, sealed and delivered. McNair has obviously been online, seen the media attention these deals are attracting amongst fans and front offices alike and made an executive decision to stop entertaining the trade machines for a good while. However, we’ve seen this before in the Kingdom where a promise to keep a franchise player is followed up by the announcement of their departure.
Squashing the Sixers/Pacers rumors completely, Charania also stated that contrary to this morning, the Kings have no interest in a Sabonis for Swipa trade:
“Team sources said any potential deal around Fox for Pacers center Domantas Sabonis will not happen.”
And while Sacramento ‘still sees a pathway to Simmons’ without the departure of Haliburton or Fox, the trade to acquire both the outcast Philly guard and Tobias Harris is not of any interest to this iteration of Kings’ brass.
So where does this new information leave us? Frankly, in the same position that we began in. Until the deadline has come and gone, there really is no telling of what McNair and the basketball operations in Sactown have planned beyond the rumors and sources and insights being given by national media.
As it stands at this moment in time - a trade surrounding Fox or Haliburton is dead in the water. Should there be an enticing trade on the table for a GM feasting to swing for the fences - there would not be no surprises if the goal posts get moved and the tandem is split.