For weeks, all signs have pointed towards the Sacramento Kings making some kind of splashy win-now trade to reshape its flawed roster prior to the Feb. 10 trade deadline.
Sacramento has been linked to just about every major name on the trade market. Multi-time All-Stars Ben Simmons and Domantas Sabonis have been seen as the two players Sacramento is most interested in acquiring.
It’s evident that the organization is willing to go to great lengths to turn this disappointing season around and somehow, someway put an end to the 15 season playoff drought.
However, it might be too late.
The team has lost eight of its last ten games and sits at 18-30, three games back of the 10-seed, and a berth in the play-in tournament. Not to mention the Kings just started a brutal road trip, meaning things could get a lot worse before they get better.
Sacramento is roughly as close to the bottom of the western conference standings as they are to the 10 seed.
The 10-seed in itself is hardly worth much as you would have to win two straight road games just to get the eighth seed and likely get swept in a first-round series.
FiveThirtyEight’s projection system has the Kings finishing the season at 29-53, the third-worst record in the west.
The Kings would have to go 23-11 just to reach the .500 mark. Is there a single trade out there this season that turns this roster into that level of a team? Even if you get a Simmons or Sabonis while surrendering the least amount of current value, it’s hard to see how that meaningfully changes your fortunes this season.
As painful as it is to Kings fans, it seems like the most prudent thing for the franchise to do would be to throw in the towel on this season and sell off veterans like Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield for future value and try your best to land a high-lottery pick. The franchise in the past has opted against this strategy, opting to gun for the latter half of the playoffs, which has arguably kept them in a similar spot in the standings year after year.
There could be a way that Kings’ general manager Monte McNair threads the needle between acquiring future talent and guys that can help this season, but it’s hard to see what move satisfies both goals.
The Kings are a bad team and failing to acknowledge that fact this deadline could have them remain a bad team for more seasons to come.
We will just have to see which direction McNair and company go come Feb. 10.