Between bringing in prospects for draft workouts, working on shoring up their roster and looking at potential trades, the team figures to have a lot going on. So while the offseason may officially be upon us, this is anything but downtime for the Kings and their front office.
With so much going on, let's look at some of the prominent rumors surrounding the Kings and how they'd potentially affect the team going forward.
More Players in to Work Out for the Draft
The Kings hold the No. 8 pick in the draft, and as such, they're hosting a series of draft workouts to learn more about the prospects in this class. According to Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops, a few of those players recently came to Sacramento to work out for the team at its practice facility:
Sacramento Kings will work out C.J. Fair, JaKarr Sampson, Xavier Thames, Joe Jackson, Kyle Casey and Jarell Eddie tomorrow. #NBADraft— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) June 14, 2014
Some Kings fans may be familiar with Xavier Thames, as the point guard grew up in neighboring Elk Grove. After starring at San Diego State, he's hoping to make a career in the NBA.
Thames, like the rest of the players Sacramento hosted in this workout, is likely to be a second-round pick, if he's selected at all. That's interesting simply for the fact that the Kings don't possess a pick other than their No. 8 selection.
C.J. Fair is a small forward from Syracuse who played four years of college ball, averaging 16.5 points and 6.4 rebounds. However, his shooting range is limited for a small forward, as he only shot 27.6 percent from three-point land last season.
At 6'4", 187 pounds, Thames has above-average size for a point guard. However, his skill set translates more as a 2-guard, averaging only 3.2 assists in 30-plus minutes with the Aztecs last season. Yet, with his .372 three-point percentage and ability to get to the free-throw line (6.5 attempts per game last year), he could be an intriguing prospect for the Kings if they can acquire a pick in the second round.
Not to mention it'd be a fun story to have a local product on the Kings. As for that, Thames admits that he'd like a chance to play for the hometown team:
Sacramento native Xavier Thames said his preference is to play in his hometown for the Kings. #NBAKings— Sean Cunningham (@News10Sean) June 14, 2014
Kings Looking to Deal No. 8 Pick
While the Kings do own the No. 8 pick in the draft, there are indications the team is willing to move the pick in the right deal, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe:
The Sacramento Kings are shopping their first-round pick, realizing they don’t need another 19-year-old on their roster if they are planning to win soon. They also have to encourage Rudy Gay not to opt out of the final year of his contract at $19 million and stay a King. While he has been maligned in previous stops in Memphis and Toronto, Gay is a legitimate scorer and gives the Kings a chance to be competitive next season. The organization has grown fatigued with rebuilding plans.
From the Kings' perspective, shopping the pick makes perfect sense for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, there's no harm in gathering information and seeing what's out there. Even if the team had no intention of moving the selection, it should see what type of market value the pick has.
In this case, it sounds like it's more than just a fact-finding mission. The Kings seem to have interest in dealing the pick, not just finding out how much they could fetch for it on the open market.
The overall logic adds up...that if the Kings want to win now, they have no need for another 19-year-old. Of course, that's assuming Sacramento can actually get a player capable of making an impact next season in exchange for its first-rounder.
However, if Gay returns to the team and the Kings find a way to keep Isaiah Thomas, there will be limited opportunities for a rookie to get playing time, especially depending on the player. If Sacramento can get someone who impacts the game in ways other than scoring or possessing the ball—like perimeter defense or protecting the rim—there could still be some rookies who could help out from the get-go.
Yet, if it's about adding a player whose primary attribute is scoring, then trading the pick might be the way to go.
Pete D'Alessandro, Chris Bratz and Chris Mullin Meeting with Players in Chicago
While the players the team recently hosted at its practice facility are intriguing, none of them figures to be selected near the top 10. That means the Kings also need to focus on scouting prospects who could be realistic options at No. 8.
It makes sense, then, that general manager Pete D'Alessandro, assistant GM Chris Bratz and advisor Chris Mullin are currently in Chicago meeting with Nik Stauskas and Doug McDermott, as reported by Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee:
Kings GM Pete D'Alessandro, Mike Bratz and Chris Mullin meeting with prospects Doug McDermott and Nik Stauskas right now in Chicago.— Ailene Voisin (@ailene_voisin) June 16, 2014
Both McDermott and Stauskas are players projected to go in the No. 8 range.
McDermott, the Creighton product, would provide the Kings with a capable long-range shooter and likely the most NBA-ready prospect in the draft.
The 22-year-old played four years of college ball, was a three-time All-American (2012, 2013 and 2014) and won the Naismith College Player of the Year Award this past season. Not to mention his dad was his coach at Creighton, lending to McDermott's high basketball IQ.
As for his fit with the Kings, a lot of that would depend on what happens with Gay. If Gay returns, McDermott would assuredly come off the bench as a rookie and provide scoring and much-needed three-point shooting.
The team meeting Stauskas, on the other hand, is noteworthy because there's reportedly interest there. According to Adam Zagoria of NBA.com, Stauskas is one of the players the Kings are targeting with the eighth pick:
Some NBA Draft intel I've heard...Utah loves Dante Exum at 5, Sacramento likes Nik Stauskas at 8 & Charlotte likes McBuckets at 9— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) June 12, 2014
As a shooting guard, the team's regard for Stauskas is somewhat puzzling after Sacramento drafted 2-guard Ben McLemore last season. However, according to ESPN's Chad Ford (subscription required), there's a chance Stauskas can also man the point.
If that's the case, his fit in Sacramento is more logical. Stauskas can light it up from deep, and Ford's talked to some evaluators who think he's the best pure shooter in the draft. With Sacramento in dire need of an outside shooter, the Kings could do worse than nabbing the Michigan product.
As with any report regarding who a team is targeting, we must take this one with a grain of salt, but the Kings' interest adds up.
If you want to talk Kings basketball, hit me up on Twitter @SimRisso.