Analyzing the Sacramento Kings’ remaining assets after Thomas Robinson trade

Thomas Robinson looks to kick outt after securing the rebound. (Photo: Steven Chea)

A franchise in the midst of a sale opening up trade deadline season?  No one saw it coming.

In a surprising move, the Sacramento Kings yesterday night shockingly dealt last year’s fifth overall pick.  Rookie Thomas Robinson along with Tyler Honeycutt and Francisco Garcia were traded to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Patrick Patterson, Cole Aldrich, Toney Douglas and cash considerations.

“For the teams that are kind of in the middle of the road, it’s always a tough spot,” said Kings coach Keith Smart of the trade deadline before Tuesday’s loss to the Spurs. “Because players are talking, everyone’s talking, agents are talking, everyone’s talking.  But you just try to get them focused on the game.”

The blockbuster move has opened up the floodgates for more trade speculation surrounding the Kings leading up to the deadline at 12 pm PT.  Could more deals that shed salary for this year be on the horizon?  Here’s a breakdown of the roster accompanied by analysis on each player.

Tyreke Evans

  • Makes $5.3 million this year.
  • In final season of his rookie deal.

Analysis:  After Wednesday’s loss against San Antonio, Evans said he hadn’t heard anything as far as trade speculation leading up to today’s deadline.  But he also added: “You never know with trades. You could be (dealt) out of nowhere.  It could be the last minute, so you just gotta wait and see.”

DeMarcus Cousins

  • Makes $3.9 million this year.
  • Entering final year of his rookie deal next season, which is worth $4.9 million.

Analysis: If there’s one player the Kings aren’t likely to trade, it’s Cousins.  New ownership in Sacramento or Seattle might be able to provide the support the third-year big man needs in order to jumpstart his career.

Jimmer Fredette

  • Makes $2.4 million this year.
  • Owed $2.5 million next year.
  • Kings have team option worth $3.1 million in 2014-15.

Analysis: Fredette has improved greatly this year, which would suggest that he’s a keeper.  However if the Kings decide to part ways with Tyreke Evans either today or in the offseason, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the second-year guard become expendable.

Isaiah Thomas

  • Makes $762K this year.
  • Owed $884,000 next season, but his contract is not fully guaranteed.

Analysis: Thomas has earned the opportunity to stay on this team for the foreseeable future, especially considering his duality as representative for both fanbases in Sacramento and Seattle.  But the right deal could change the Kings’ opinion on their second-year guard, who for all his strengths is still an undersized point guard.

Marcus Thornton

  • Makes $7.5 million this year.
  • Owed $16.6 million in the following two years.

Analysis:  After leading the Kings in scoring last year, Thornton’s point totals have dropped precipitously this season in his new role off the bench.  Sacramento has a glut of talent at guard and Thornton’s no longer the bargain he once was before signing a five-year extension last year.

John Salmons

  • Makes $8.08 million this year.
  • Owed $7.6 million next season.
  • Only $1 million of his $7-million salary in 2014-15 is guaranteed if he’s waived before June 30, 2014.

Analysis:  The 33-year-old Salmons doesn’t have much value on the open market on his own.  However Sacramento could package the veteran guard with one or more of their young assets in a bigger deal.

Chuck Hayes

  • Makes $5.5 million this year.
  • Owed $11.7 million in following two seasons.

Analysis:  Hayes is one of those players who’d look mighty nice on a playoff team.  With his history in Houston, it’s a bit surprising that he wasn’t part of the multiplayer deal that sent Thomas Robinson to the lonestar state.

Jason Thompson

  • Makes $5.3 million this year.
  • Owed $18.1 million over the next three years.
  • Only $2.7 million of his $6.8-million salary in 2016-17 is guaranteed.

Analysis:  Almost every year, the Kings have brought in a power forward to challenge Thompson for his spot in the lineup.  Yet from Carl Landry and Samuel Dalembert to now Thomas Robinson, the fifth-year veteran has outlasted every challenger.

Aaron Brooks

  • Makes $3.3 million this year.
  • Has a player option worth $3.4 million next season.

Analysis:  The improvement of Isaiah Thomas, emergence of Jimmer Fredette coupled with the existing rotation spots to Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans make Brooks expendable.  The veteran guard could help a team vying for a postseason run.

Travis Outlaw

  • Makes $3 million this year.
  • Owed $6 million over the following two years.

Analysis: Outlaw is another player who holds little to no value on his own.  He would likely be included in a larger package involving one or two of the players still on rookie contracts.

James Johnson

  • Makes $2.8 million this year.
  • In the final season of his rookie deal.

Analysis:  If the Kings decide to part ways with the fourth-year forward, waiving him might be the most viable option.  Last year, the Trail Blazers took a flyer on J.J. Hickson and claimed him off waivers after the Kings cut the veteran forward.

Contract data according to Storyteller’s Contracts.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.