De'Aaron Fox Trade Rumors: 'A Lot of Smoke' Kings Star Could Be Available at Deadline

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 17, 2021

Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox (5) brings the ball up court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets, Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Matt Kelley)
AP Photo/Matt Kelley

Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox reportedly may no longer be off the table in trade talks.

On Friday's episode of Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective with ESPN's Brian Windhorst, Tim MacMahon and Tim Bontemps, the trio discussed whether Fox could potentially be had prior to the Feb. 10 trade deadline.

They noted that they have heard "a lot of smoke" regarding Fox possibly being available after it was initially thought that he was untouchable.

After Fox enjoyed a career year in 2020-21 with 25.2 points, 7.2 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 1.8 three-pointers made and 1.5 steals per game, the expectation was that he would take the next step this season and finally become an All-Star.

That likely won't be the case, though, as his production has fallen to 21.3 points, 5.0 assists, 3.7 rebounds, 1.1 three-pointers made and 1.4 steals per contest.

Also, Fox's field goal percentage has fallen from .477 last season to .455 this season, and his three-point shooting percentage has gone from .322 to .263.

The 23-year-old Fox was originally the No. 5 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft out of Kentucky, and while he showed significant improvement in his first four NBA seasons, the progress has come to a halt.

There is still hope for Fox to turn things around given his age and talent level, but the Kings need him to be much better after signing him to a five-year, $163 million contract extension last year.

Aside from his dip in play, one thing that could cause the Kings to consider trading Fox is the presence of 2020 No. 12 overall draft pick Tyrese Haliburton.

While Haliburton is nowhere near as explosive of an offensive player as Fox is with 11.5 points per game this season, it can be argued that he is a more complete player.

Haliburton's 5.7 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.7 three-pointers made per game this season are all ahead of Fox.

If the Kings are confident that Haliburton can make strides as a shooter in addition to being a great playmaker and defender, it could make Fox more expendable in the name of getting help at other positions.

The Kings are a disappointing 12-17 this season, placing them 10th in the Western Conference.

Sacramento has not reached the playoffs since the 2005-06 season, which is the longest active drought in the NBA, and it is clear that some major changes need to be made in order for the Kings to get out of their funk.