It’s no secret the Sacramento Kings are loaded in the backcourt. The Kings added two rookie guards in Ray McCallum and Ben McLemore and they also traded for veteran Greivis Vasquez. With Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Thornton also in the mix, it’s not hard to wonder if Jimmer Fredette may be the odd-man out.
JS: Okay, if you had to handicap the likelihood of Jimmer getting traded before the season, where would you put that?
JH: First off, I think it makes a lot of sense to trade him if they can find him a new home. Jimmer, like a lot of the other Kings, is on a very short leash to show that he fits the direction of the new regime. Jason Thompson, Marcus Thornton, Chuck Hayes and maybe even Isaiah Thomas are also all on the same boat. They are part of the previous regime and have no real ties to the new group. They also have replacements entering the picture.
JS: But the new front office won’t just do a deal for the sake of doing a deal. They won’t get rid of Jimmer just because he was part of the old guard. A trade has to make sense for them.
JH: No, not “just because”, but they have seen these players play. They have files of them with their names on each one. There is a vision for this team and either Jimmer is part of it or isn’t. If he isn’t, then this is as good a time as any to move him to elsewhere.
I really like Jimmer and I like what he can bring to the Kings, but…
JS: I just think that if they would’ve traded Jimmer this summer, he would’ve been dealt by now. There was no market for him earlier in the offseason. Now, this is not to say that he won’t be traded in the future – that’s completely possible. But if we’re talking about the likelihood that he gets traded before training camp, I would handicap the odds pretty low.
JH: I guess the question is what would be value for him? I think the rumored deal, which again we have been told was not legit, made sense.
JS: What was this hypothetical, fake trade again?
JH: Basically, it was with Cleveland for a future first rounder.
JS: I would do that trade if I were in charge of the Kings. But then because it was fake, you have to wonder if Cleveland would even be interested in a trade like that.
JH: It would have basically voided the J.J. Hickson deal from a few years back, which would be huge. It would allow Pete D’Alessandro to move a future first rounder, which he cannot do right now because of the Hickson deal.
JS: I just don’t think many teams are lining up to give up a first round pick for Jimmer these days – whether it’s this year or in the future.
JH: Maybe not, but that might be a mistake. He can really shoot and in a different situation, he might be a very strong piece.
JS: You think that there are teams out there that would give a first rounder for him? I think maybe a second rounder or two is what you could get for Jimmer based on how his career has gone so far.
JH: Maybe a late first or an early second, but a future first isn’t the same as saying a 2014 first round pick. His value with the Kings is hurt by Marcus Thornton. These two are very similar, but Thornton has more experience and a contract the Kings will have a difficult time moving.
JS: I think they both have reasonable contracts with Jimmer probably having a slight edge because he is cheaper. But for what the Kings need at the 2-guard (a placeholder for Ben McLemore) Thornton seems like the right fit. However, this is where I think improvement factors in. As analysts, we tend to make season predications based on what a player has accomplished. But in the case of someone like Jimmer, I think it’s important to consider if he’s getting better this summer, too.
JH: I agree. But Thornton has a track record as a starter and will get every chance to win the job in camp. I’m not sure that Jimmer will get that same shot. Even if Jimmer comes back in great shape, he is pretty well defined as an off-the-ball shooter that can create his own shot. He isn’t a true point or big enough to man the two on a full-time basis.
JS: I would give Thornton the edge too, but with the caveat of knowing that there’s always the chance a player like Jimmer is improving this offseason.
JH: I’m not sure that I want to see a Jimmer/Vasquez starting backcourt though. Jimmer can make improvements, but he was a long away from starter quality when we last saw him. And again, I like the kid.
JS: Jimmer appears to be the odd man out at this point. But before rushing to declare what he gives the Kings this year, I’d like to take a wait-and-see approach with Jimmer. He is going into his third NBA season, which is a crossroads year in a player’s career. From what I saw from him in very limited minutes last season, he played with poise and stayed true to who he was as a player.
But again, by no means do I think Jimmer is untouchable. If there is an opportunity to free up a roster spot by trading him, I could easily see them doing that. I just don’t think they have any options right now.
JH: There is no doubt that he was a different player last season than in his rookie year. And I think he is only going to get better, especially when he gets a call or two under his belt.
JS: Anything else to add?
JH: I’ll just say that if I was starting a team, I would choose Jimmer over Thornton. He’s younger, cheaper and can really shoot. But the Kings need a starter for at least the first 40 games. Thornton is a better fit for that situation and if you don’t move Jimmer now, he will have little to no value at the midway point of this season when you consider that he currently looks like the Kings’ fifth guard.