On the second day of NBA free agency, the Kings are continuing to make moves, but this time they’re doing so on the trade market. Sacramento is sending Mo Harkless, Justin Holiday and a lottery-protected first-round pick in 2024 to the Atlanta Hawks for promising young shooting guard Kevin Huerter, according to multiple reports.
The Kings are sending a 2024 lottery-protected first-round pick to the Hawks for Huerter, sources tell ESPN. Pick becomes Top 12 protected in 2025, and top 10 protected in 2026.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2022
The first-round pick the Hawks received is lottery-protected in 2024, top-12 in 2025, top-10 in 2026 and then turns into two seconds if it hasn’t conveyed yet.— Chris Kirschner (@ChrisKirschner) July 1, 2022
Huerter is entering year 1 of a 4 year $65M rookie extension he signed last October.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 1, 2022
Harkless ($4.6M) and Holiday ($6.3M) are both on expiring contracts. https://t.co/3FuLZ0ad5R
Kings wanted to get better and more versatile on the wings and do that with Huerter and free agent Malik Monk. Both will play next season at 24 years old and fit into the age timeline with Domantas Sabonis and De'Aaron Fox.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2022
Our sister site, Peachtree Hoops, writes that “Huerter signed a four-year, $65 million extension with Atlanta last offseason, but was effectively bumped out of the starting lineup by the Dejounte Murray trade earlier this week,” so for Atlanta, this may have been an attempt to get value while clearing out a glut in their backcourt.
For the Kings, Huerter — a 37.9% career 3-point shooter — will provide even more shooting to go along with their acquisition of Malik Monk on Thursday. Huerter averaged 12.1 points, 2.7 assists and 3.4 rebounds in 29.6 minutes per game last season while shooting 38.9% from three. Huerter said after the season that he wants to shoot even better than that moving forward.
“A goal of mine is to shoot 40% from three and I came close to that. Got hot at the end of the year, almost got that benchmark so that’ll be a goal of mine going into next year,” Huerter said.
In the last two days, the Kings have addressed and possibly fixed a major need. With Monk and now Huerter, Sacramento has the firepower from three they so desperately needed. Huerter, who stands at 6-foot-7, has the size and ability to create his own shot as well as be a reliable catch-and-shoot option. In Sacramento, Huerter will be in a great position to reach his goal of shooting 40% from deep. With most of the defense focusing on the Fox and the Ox, he will get ample opportunity to let it fly.
Not only was this a trade that makes Kings fans happy, but it answers the question of why they let go of Donte DiVincenzo so easily. Huerter is more consistent offensively and has the length to help him shoot over taller defenders. After an off-season with Mike Brown, Huerter might also become more effective on defense if he learns to use his length to his advantage.
Where does this put the Kings in their hunt for the playoffs?
The Western Conference is a scary place to be for a team without a superstar. There are at least eight teams with a legitimate superstar they will have to contend with in the regular season. But with the current additions of Huerter and Monk, along with Keegan Murray and Keon Ellis, the Kings have added wing depth, shooting, and a little bit of defense. Something all playoff teams have. If Mike Brown can improve Sacramento’s defense the way he did in Golden State, and bring in a winning mentality, Fox will finally have the pieces around him to become the player Kings fans have been waiting for. If he blossoms into an All-Star, and the rest of pieces perform to their max potential, the Kings should be able force their way into the play-in tournament.
This breaking news story may be updated with more information and analysis as it continues to develop. Do you like what the Kings have done so far in free agency? Let us know in the comments below.