Report: Kings deal Thompson, Stauskas, Landry
Vlade Divac clearly has a “honey do” checklist in front of him. After tonight’s reported blockbuster of a salary dump, he is very close to a blank slate for the Sacramento Kings.
According to multiple reports, Divac sent Jason Thompson, Carl Landry, Nik Stauskas, a future first round pick and more to the Philadelphia 76ers for the rights to undisclosed foreign prospects.
Just three months on the job and Divac is swinging for the fences. After spending the first day of free agency quietly pursuing upgrades for his team and coming up empty, Divac made a dramatic move. The trade clears the decks of nearly $16 million of salary, giving the team ample room to jump in the chase for multiple players. Once the deal is formally announced, Sacramento will have just $40 million in guaranteed salary before inking rookie Willie Cauley-Stein to his first NBA contract.
What will Divac do with more than $25 million in cap space? Early rumors have him chasing a combination of Rajon Rondo, Monta Ellis and Wesley Matthews to fill out his starting backcourt, but he may not end there. Retaining free agent Omri Casspi is also on the list as is adding a veteran big man now that Thompson and Landry are gone.
Thompson is the longest tenured King in the Sacramento era. Drafted 12th overall in the 2008 NBA Draft, Thompson has played all 541 of his career games in a Sacramento Kings uniform. The 6-foot-11 big man has quietly made it clear that he would like to play elsewhere, but until the 76ers said yes, the Kings had found it difficult to shed his remaining two years at more than $13 million. A exceptional citizen both on and off the court, Thompson posted 9.4 points and 6.9 rebounds in his seven seasons in Sacramento.
A series of injuries slowed Landry in his second tour of duty with the Kings. The 31-year-old forward is out four to five months after undergoing surgery on his right wrist last month. It was the third surgery for Landry in less than two years since signing a four-year, $26 million deal in 2013. Landry averaged just 7.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in 17 minutes per game with Sacramento last season after playing a total of 18 games the season due to hip and knee injuries. Like Thompson, Landry is a quality locker room influence and when healthy, can add a presence off the bench.
Stauskas is known more for his clever nickname “Sauce Castillo” than his playing ability. Sacramento selected the Michigan product with the eighth overall pick last summer, but the 21-year-old shooting guard wasn’t as “NBA ready” as advertised. Stauskas struggled to gain playing time for all three Kings coaches last season and was well behind second-year shooter Ben McLemore on the depth chart. He has committed himself to getting stronger this offseason after finishing his rookie campaign averaging just 4.4 points in 15.4 minutes per game off the Kings bench.
We will have more on this trade as details become available. For now, the Kings have four players on guaranteed contracts for next season and Cauley-Stein. They have plenty of holes to fill and plenty of cash to make moves.
The question now becomes, will Divac spend his war chest wisely?