Potential Trade Targets for Sacramento Kings to Upgrade Roster
It’s incredibly difficult to tell what the Sacramento Kings are doing currently, or what the long-term plan is. The frontcourt is dealing with a logjam, the wings are incredibly young, and Darren Collison is slated to be the starting point guard.
Rarely do such bad teams approach the luxury-tax line, but that’s where Sacramento is right now. This is far from an ideal situation currently, and so trading pieces on the roster to gain flexibility or upgrade the talent makes plenty of sense.
Considering the Kings have a few good but not great frontcourt options (Carl Landry, Jason Thompson, Derrick Williams, Quincy Acy) in addition to DeMarcus Cousins, consolidating a bit and acquiring a legitimate starter to grow with Cousins makes sense.
Let’s take a look at a few different trade options out there for the Sacramento Kings to explore.
Although the thought of Rudy Gay and Josh Smith jacking up mid-range jumpers is terrifying, this could be a potential acquisition for the Sacramento Kings.
Here's Marc Stein on ESPN.com on the Josh Smith rumors:
The Detroit Pistons and the Sacramento Kings have resumed trade discussions on a deal that could send Josh Smith to Sacramento, according to sources with knowledge of the talks.
Sources told ESPN.com the Kings have continued to express interest in Smith and the parties are on the hunt for a third team that could help facilitate the deal.
While Gay would probably make more sense as a small 4 for Sacramento, bringing in a defender like Smith who has the potential to be elite would help the Kings tremendously. This is a lifeless defensive team, and for all of Smith’s warts, he can defend multiple positions and help protect the rim from the forward spot.
Would this work offensively? The spacing would be worrisome, but Cousins can step out a bit and Gay has expanded his range some recently. Smith pretty much is who he is, but you can always dream that he’ll stop shooting so much and use his keen floor vision to create for others more often.
Maybe the best part about this potential trade is that the Pistons may just be looking to dump Smith's salary. Future draft picks would almost certainly have to be involved, but this is a good opportunity to get an impact player on a discount while also potentially shedding the deals of a guy like Jason Thompson or Carl Landry.
Again, the Kings wouldn't necessarily be helping their spacing offensively, but it's hard to deny the talent upgrade Rajon Rondo would represent. Darren Collison isn't a starting point guard in the league, plain and simple, and Rudy Gay has a long-standing friendship with Rondo that could help bring him West.
It’s hard to talk to [Rondo] because he is always saying, ‘We need you over here. We need you over here'...So it’s not easy talking to him. But he’s being a friend, just telling me about keeping everything together and he makes you feel like you are still valuable.
Friendships often get overvalued in situations like this, but it makes sense for one of the few teams without a legitimate starter at point guard to push hard for Rondo, who always seems to be involved in rumors throughout the year.
There’s a risk in acquiring a player who can become a free agent after the season, but those are the kind of moves the Kings have to make in order to pull down stars. At least for the time being, it worked with Gay, so perhaps it would with Rondo as well.
It would be a fascinating experiment if nothing else, especially with Rondo running pick-and-roll with Cousins. The main thing to consider here is that the price for Rondo is most likely very high, and so Sacramento would have to be willing to forfeit future draft picks and potentially a young player like Ben McLemore or even Nik Stauskas.
What do the Philadelphia 76ers need with Thaddeus Young now? This is a clearly rebuilding team, and Young certainly doesn’t seem to fit with the future plans.
With that in mind, perhaps Sacramento could exercise some leverage and acquire Young for an expiring deal like Derrick Williams and draft picks. Philadelphia seems to always be looking for draft picks, so perhaps this would be a good match.
Young is an interesting fit with Cousins, as he provides some mobility and pretty strong defense in every area. Offensively he gets most of his offense around the rim which might interfere with Cousins, but you could argue he’s a better fit than Landry or really any of the other potential starters at the 4.
By acquiring Young, Sacramento could at least get closer to competing. The Kings would need the young wings to come along and turn into stars, but that’s what you expect from high draft picks.
After the Charlotte Hornets signed Lance Stephenson, perhaps swingman Gerald Henderson would be available for the right price.
When you consider that Charlotte may not be ready to roll with the young combo of Noah Vonleh and Cody Zeller at the 4 all year when they’re competing for a high playoff seed, moving Henderson for the frontcourt depth Sacramento has could be a good fit.
The only real fear here is that Henderson would steal minutes away from Ben McLemore and Nik Stauskas, which is obviously not what you want at this stage. The Kings of course could go small and play a combination of two of those players together, as the 2 and 3 are the most interchangeable positions in the league.
Henderson is a strong team defender who can score from mid-range, but his lack of a consistent three-point shot is troublesome on a team that already has Rudy Gay. He may not fill a need, but if Sacramento wants to shift some of their depth from the frontcourt out on the wing, this could be an option.
Honestly, this might be the best fit on this list.
After drafting Jabari Parker, it’s possible that the Milwaukee Bucks would be open to moving John Henson, especially if the plan is to keep Ersan Ilyasova. There are only so many minutes to go around.
Henson should be particularly appealing to Sacramento for a few reasons. The first is that he’s an excellent shotblocker who can help DeMarcus Cousins a great deal defensively, and he’ll also clean the glass. His length would be quite the asset next to a skilled power big like Cousins.
The price could be right, too. Because Henson is still on his rookie deal, the Kings wouldn’t need to ship out multiple unattractive salaries and cover them up with draft picks. The Bucks may be open to taking a single first-round pick, which would be a steal so long as it was a heavily protected one.
Henson is the type of player Sacramento should be identifying in a trade. He’s young, cheap, has potential and should be a great fit next to the franchise star.