January 28, 2018, 3:26 am
Don’t worry Kings fans, this year you won’t have to worry about any trades going down during the All-Star game, as the trade deadline has been moved up to precede the festivities.
Last year’s deadline was a major turning point for the franchise, as they traded away arguably one of the most talented players that’s ever played for the Kings in DeMarcus Cousins. It was a bitter pill for Kings fans to swallow. The deal appeared to be hastily put together, surprising just about everybody while the early returns didn’t exactly jump off the page for Sacramento.
The Kings now have 10 players on rookie scale contracts, signaling a full rebuild for the organization. Most fans have moved on from the trade, it seems, and now they’ve moved into the slow grind of watching a young core develop. The Kings’ season is going about as expected. A ton of losses and frustrating play, but also some exciting moments watching the kids do their thing.
With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, is the team poised to make any moves prior to February 8? Or are they set with their current roster?
As of now, they seem content with where they sit and are unlikely to make a major move like last season, however, a few minor moves are possible to stabilize the ship moving forward. Here’s where the Kings stand:
The Kings currently have $4.3 million in cap space according to Spotrac. This essentially means that any trades the team makes will have to be straight up money wise as $4.3 million isn’t a ton of wiggle room in the modern NBA. For example, they can’t afford to take on players with large contracts without matching that money. The Kings do have a few large contracts in George Hill ($20 million) and Zach Randolph ($12 million) that they may look to move for expiring contracts with the same salary.
As far as trade exceptions are concerned, Sacramento has a $2.9 million exception which is due to expire on February 20. This came via Omri Casspi in the Cousins trade last year and can be used to acquire a player. Obviously, $2.9 million isn’t a lot so this exception may end up expiring without use – a common occurrence in the NBA.
Sacramento isn’t likely to deal any draft picks. If anything, they’ll be looking to add picks since they don’t own a 2019 first rounder and they still have a few more phases left in their rebuild.
The Kings have a 2018 first round pick that can be a difference-maker, but it’s asking a lot for that pick to transform this team into anything more than a playoff bubble squad. They’ll have to twist like pretzels to manufacture future picks, but it might make sense to reinvest in future youth if the right deal comes along.
It’s probably worth noting that there are very few ‘untouchable’ players in the NBA. The Kings don’t have any on their squad, but these are players they likely won’t consider moving any time soon.
Bogdanovic is on lockdown in Sacramento for the foreseeable future. He’s arguably the most talented player on the team and should hold that title moving forward too. His knack for the game and high basketball IQ is something you don’t find in many players, let alone a rookie. Hoop Ball’s Dio Nikiforos broke down Bogdanovic’s play and what makes him so good earlier in the season. Bogdanovic is on an incredibly affordable contract and is locked up until 2020 – there’s no incentive to move him nor should there be.
Fox is the point guard of the future in Sacramento. The team looks headed for a backcourt of Fox, Bogdanovic, Frank Mason and Buddy Hield, with Fox being the guy with all of the upside. Fox is raw but the poise and explosion he’s displayed over the last week or so is promising.
Any of the youth
Any of the Kings’ youth can be considered an asset but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re available. Skal Labissiere and Malachi Richardson have reportedly both been made available by the team in an effort to clear roster space; mainly in regards to the proposed George Hill trade.
Moving a guy like Richardson would make sense considering the depth on the wings. He’s struggled to find consistent form since the season-ending injury he suffered last season, but it’s early enough in his career that teams could still be intrigued.
The inclusion of Labissiere in such reports was probably self-serving from the Cleveland side, and it could have been the Kings seeing if they could liquidate some of their young player assets. Some due diligence never hurts. Nonetheless, Labissiere has restarted his engine a bit now that regular minutes have been on the board for him. If deployed correctly and developed properly, he has the tools to become a dynamic player in this league.
The Kings are reportedly high on Harry Giles but it would be a risky proposition to bank the future on a guy who hasn’t played a single minute in the NBA.
A guy like Hield could be viewed as expendable. He’s been sporadic this season but has still shown potential to be a consistent scoring threat down the road. Whether the team is still as high on Hield as, say Vivek, is another question, but that would be an interesting proposition for a team wanting to get a sort-of-young but more polished player for a window opening 2-4 years down the road.
Players such as Justin Jackson and Georgios Papagiannis could be seen as lower tier youngsters that could interest a few teams on the market. Moving players like this won’t get the Kings very far, so if anything, they would likely be add-ons in a larger deal that the team may make.
Hill and the Kings were far from a match made in heaven. Things haven’t panned out as expected and, as of now, he’s the most likely player on the team to be traded. The Cavaliers are reportedly interested in acquiring the 31-year-old, so that’s one potential destination. The two teams were reportedly in discussions on a deal for Hill but as of now a trade isn’t imminent. The reported deal would include Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert and some form of draft compensation; Derrick Rose was another name mentioned.
Few teams are in need of a starting caliber point guard – and yes, Hill is a starting caliber point guard but just not with this team – so the market may be quite thin, but a team like the Cavs may get desperate closer to the deadline and come calling more aggressively. Unfortunately, the Kings won’t be getting Brooklyn’s 2019 pick in the deal. It would purely be for some cap relief.
Randolph’s $24 million guaranteed over the next two seasons is a bit of an issue. Playoff teams, especially those close to the luxury tax, are wanting effective players at affordable rates and Randolph may be a little beyond that. The Kings won’t, and shouldn’t, be expecting much in return. Randolph is 36 years old and is past his prime but he’s shown at times this season that he can still contribute effectively on offense – defensively it’s another story.
Temple just isn’t as effective as he was last season. There’s been some noticeable regression in not only his offense, but his defense too; Temple’s lateral quickness isn’t there this year. With that said, he’s still one of the better defenders on the team and has some value on the trade market. It’s likely he’s attached to a deal as opposed to being the centerpiece, but that’s just the reality with his contract ($8 million player option next season).
Koufos is one of the longest tenured players on the roster and he’s only in the midst of his third season in Sacramento. The Kings are reportedly open to dealing Koufos prior to February 8 after Koufos’ representatives met with Vlade Divac to discuss his future. It may depend on whether the Kings still see upside in Georgios Papagiannis. Papagiannis is still a long way from being a rotational player so keeping Koufos around could be wise.
Carter has turned back the clock a few times this season with his timeless dunks that energize an arena, or his 3-point barrages once in a blue moon. He still shows flashes of the player he once was. Nonetheless, Carter is a movable piece that could be attractive for a playoff team needing a seasoned pro.
November 20, 2019, 3:12 amLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James put up a triple-double for the fifth time this season in a 112-107 win over the Thunder on Tuesday, providing 25 points (10-of-21 FGs, 3-of-5 FTs), 11 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in 37 minutes.
James has now triple-doubled against all 30 NBA teams. He's hardly slowing down, ranking 12th in both 8-cat and 9-cat leagues for the season. LeBron's scoring has dipped since last season from 27.4 points per game to 25.0, but his assists have skyrocketed from 8.3 assists per game to 11.1 this season.
November 20, 2019, 3:03 amAnthony DavisPF-C, Los Angeles Lakers
Anthony Davis (right shoulder soreness) put up a game-high 34 points (13-of-24 FGs, 5-fo-6 FTs) as part of a full line that included seven rebounds, four assists, four steals, two blocks and three 3-pointers in 37 minutes in a victory over the Thunder on Tuesday.
Davis has been a great fit for the Lakers and he once again toughed out an injury (or two or more) while producing in every category. He's currently ranked 4th in both 8-cat and 9-cat leagues. If he ever truly gets healthy, he should have a great shot at the top spot. Next to Davis tonight, JaVale McGee swatted four more shots in 23 minutes and continues to be an excellent streaming option for blocks, boards and field goal percentage.
November 20, 2019, 2:54 amRajon RondoPG, Los Angeles Lakers
Rajon Rondo handed out 10 assists to go with eight points, two rebounds and one 3-pointer in 27 minutes off the bench vs. the Thunder on Tuesday.
Rondo shot just 3-of-10 from the field and 1-of-2 from the line. His percentages have traditionally been harmful to fantasy teams, but his rebounds, assists and steals continue to pile up even as his minutes dip as he's nearing age 34. At this point, he's just a streamer for those categories, but remember that he averaged over eight assists the past two seasons. If he were to find himself regularly getting 30 minutes per game, there's probably a team in every fantasy league that could use him.
November 20, 2019, 2:38 amKyle KuzmaPF, Los Angeles Lakers
Kyle Kuzma (eye abrasion) left Tuesday's game after playing just nine minutes, and while he was technically available to return, Frank Vogel chose not to use him anymore.
It's a positive sign that he was available after the injury, but the situation should be monitored to be sure that Kuzma is going to play in the Lakers' next game on Friday before making decisions about how to use him.
Source: Mike Trudell on Twitter
November 20, 2019, 2:31 amNerlens NoelC, Oklahoma City Thunder
Nerlens Noel had another good game on Tuesday in a road loss to the Lakers as he went for 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting, eight rebounds, one assist and three steals in 24 minutes.
Noel has quietly entered the top-100 in both 8-cat and 9-cat leagues and completely blown by the struggling Steven Adams. It's hard to trust Noel on a nightly basis, but there aren't many players better at racking up defensive stats (1.1 steals and 1.6 blocks in 18.3 mpg).
November 20, 2019, 2:22 amDennis SchroderPG, Oklahoma City Thunder
Dennis Schroder had a season-high 31 points (12-for-20 FGs, 4-for-4 FTs) to go with four boards, one dime and three triples in 30 minutes off the bench in a 107-112 loss to the Lakers.
Schroder has had some great games this season, but it just hasn't been consistent enough to make him a must-start standard league player. Perhaps a trade will settle things for him a bit more in the next few months. Schroder's backcourt mates had mixed results tonight with Chris Paul scoring just four points on 1-of-7 shooting but with five boards, 10 dimes and four steals while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander shot just 5-of-16 from the field but 4-of-4 from the line and had 16 points, five boards, four dimes, two treys, a steal and a block.
November 20, 2019, 2:13 amDanilo GallinariSF, Oklahoma City Thunder
Danilo Gallinari had a very efficient night, scoring 25 points on 7-of-11 field goals and 7-of-9 free throws vs. the Lakers on Tuesday.
Gallinari added six rebounds, two 3-pointers and one assist in 31 minutes. Gallo is once again sneakily providing top-60/50 (8-cat/9-cat). Elsewhere in the frontcourt, Steven Adams had a rough game with just two points, six rebounds and four assists in 24 minutes.
November 20, 2019, 2:04 amBogdan BogdanovicSG, Sacramento Kings
Bogdan Bogdanovic was on fire on Tuesday as he led the Kings to victory with a season-high 31 points (11-of-14 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs) to go with seven triples, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals in 36 minutes off the bench.
Bogdanovic has been thriving lately, and the fact that his hot stretch started before De'Aaron Fox went down is even more encouraging. Bogdanovic's production has put him into the top-65 for the season and there doesn't seem to be any end in sight to his impressive stat lines.
November 20, 2019, 1:56 amCory JosephPG, Sacramento Kings
Cory Joseph delivered a career-high 14 assists in 39 minutes in the Kings' 120-116 win over the Suns on Tuesday.
Joseph added six points on 2-of-5 shooting, five rebounds, a steal and two blocks in his fourth consecutive start. Joseph traditionally provides very low per-minute stats, so when he doesn't get near 40 minutes, his numbers aren't quite so palatable. Until De'Aaron Fox returns, Joseph is a low-end starting point guard for those desperate for assists.
November 20, 2019, 1:48 amRichaun HolmesPF, Sacramento Kings
Richaun Holmes grabbed a career-high 15 boards vs. the Suns on Tuesday as part of a 20-point night (8-for-11 FGs, 4-for-4 FTs) with a steal and two blocks in 34 minutes.
The days when we could only dream of what Holmes would do with 30-plus minutes are gone. Since Holmes joined the starting lineup, he's been playing right around 30 minutes, which has him looking like a middle-round value. He could be in for a slight reduction in value once Marvin Bagley returns if the Kings frontcourt is otherwise healthy, but it appears that the Kings might finally be the team that just lets Holmes play. Nemanja Bjelica also had another good game tonight with 17 points, eight rebounds, a steal, a block and three treys in 31 minutes.