When De’Aaron Fox plays, the Sacramento Kings are good. As proof that last season wasn’t enough, the Kings have a 6-1 record in games this season where Fox has played and +13.7 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the court this season stands.
Even then, the Kings are probably still one player away from truly being a threat in the West — and they’ll be aggressive to get that player at the deadline. The Athletic’s Shams Charania told Fanduel’s Run it Back. At the time, Lou Williams immediately dismissed the idea of choosing Sacramento as a travel destination.
“This is the first time in a really long time – maybe when Chris Webber was with the Kings – that you can look at the Kings as a trade destination. They’ll be involved with every star player: Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, perhaps Zach Lavine. Whatever stars become available because [Kings’ general manager] Monte McNair, this organization, has done a good job of preserving its assets. They have tradable contracts. So you will definitely be a player for rising stars.
“Have you ever been to Sacramento, Shams? … Great basketball environment, but no one will go there.”
That’s funny, but a little unfair to Sacramento, a city with – for my money – the best new arena in the league, and also the downtown area is much livelier than it was 10 to 15 years ago.
Williams isn’t wrong about the players’ feelings, but the Kings would likely have to overpay to land a top free agent. It is not seen as a goal. Wining helps change that, Fox and Domantas Sabonis help change that, but the perception exists.
However, Shams isn’t talking about that, he’s talking about a trade. Switch to LaVine and he has three more seasons left on his contract starting this season. It’s more difficult with Siakam (an unrestricted free agent after this season) or Anunoby, who has a player option for next season that is below market value and will decline. Both would have to be re-signed and could leave as free agents. However, depending on who becomes available closer to the trade deadline, the Kings could be in the mix for any of them.
Sacramento can make a trade and bet that once a player gets there and experiences the atmosphere on the team, he will want to stay.
It just has to be the right swing (and LaVine might not be that on a team that needs defense). The Kings won’t get multiple hacks in the process.