What do the Sacramento Kings have to offer in the NBA trade market?
The Sacramento Kings have a giant neon “Open for Business” sign hanging over Sleep Train Arena. Almost everyone on the roster is available for the right price, as Pete D’Alessandro, Chris Mullin, Mike Bratz and others behind the scenes attempt to improve on a 28-win team.
When the Kings jumped into the Kevin Love conversation over the weekend, the commentary instantly shifted to how he would fit next to DeMarcus Cousins and if he was worth the risk of trading away a top pick for a potential one-year rental. As initial shock has worn off, the question has now shifted to the larger issue for D’Alessandro and his group – do the Kings have the ammunition needed to land an All-Star-level player?
While we would usually wait until the team was closer to free agency to start breaking down the roster, D’Alessandro has already put everyone on notice. It is time to assess the Kings’ assets, because the stove is hot. Be it a huge deal for Love or a series of deals to reshape the team, what do the Kings have in the cupboard?
DeMarcus Cousins – 4 yrs/$61M (Estimated)
Cousins is the Kings’ best asset, but it would take a once-in-a-lifetime deal to pry him away from the Kings today. That may change during this season if behavioral issues continue, but for now, the Kings have placed their eggs in Cousins’ basket.
Value: All-Star-level talent with baggage. Worthy of a top-five pick in this draft and possibly more, even with $61M owed.
Likelihood of trade: Low
Rudy Gay – 1 yr/$19.3M (Option)
D’Alessandro made a power move in December to get Gay in the fold with the hopes of righting the 27-year-old’s career and selling him on Sacramento long term. Gay looked every bit the part of an All-Star, which may or may not be a good thing for the Kings. Will he opt out and leave? Will he opt in, stay for a year and maybe even consider an extension? Or will Gay play out the final year of his $82M deal and wait until next summer to make a big decision? As of now, he is a mystery for the Kings and has the ability to either make or break the Kings’ offseason.
Value: All-Star-level talent with an opt-out. The Kings would find takers if they made Gay available, and he may even bring in value in a sign-and-trade if he decides to walk away from Sacramento.
Likelihood of trade: Low. If Gay decides to stay in Sacramento, he is as untouchable this summer as Cousins. That may change if he opts in to his one-year deal and the Kings are struggling at the deadline.
Ben McLemore – 3 yrs/$10.2M (Rookie Scale)
McLemore is a wild card. Taken with the seventh overall selection in last summer’s draft, he had a subpar rookie season. But his youth, athleticism and shooting ability make him as intriguing a prospect as any. His name has already been tossed around as a potential sweetener to a deal, but that doesn’t mean that Sacramento intends to deal the 21-year-old guard. Plenty of players have a rough go in their rookie season and plenty of teams would be interested if the Kings made McLemore available.
Value: Outside of the No. 8 pick, McLemore is one of D’Alessandro’s most valuable trade pieces. He is a talented young player with upside that would most likely have been a top-ten pick in this summer’s draft. After a rough rookie season, McLemore’s value is equal to a late-lottery pick in 2014 Draft.
Likelihood of trade: Medium. The Kings don’t want to move the former Kansas star, but they might have to if they hope to acquire another upper tier player.
No. 8 overall pick 2014 NBA Draft
D’Alessandro has been open with his willingness to deal this season’s pick. With plenty of young talent on the roster, the Kings don’t need another project. Sacramento will hold out for the right deal for a quality veteran that can help this season. Technically speaking, the Kings cannot trade this pick, but they can draft a player for another team and make a trade soon after.
Value: This is considered a great draft with plenty of talent. With players like Noah Vonleh already rising up draft boards, the Kings could be in line for a very good player to slide to this spot. Alone, the pick is worth a good, young, starting-quality veteran. Packaged with other pieces, there is no telling what D’Alessandro can get for this pick.
Likelihood of trade: Extremely high.
Derrick Williams – 1 yr/$6.3M
Yes, Williams is still an asset. At 23 years old, the former No. 2 overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft still has massive upside. He was a bad fit in Minnesota and maybe even a worse fit in Sacramento. He needs a motion offense with a creative point guard to set him up. He can run the floor and initiate the break, but he needs to show that he is committed to the game of basketball. Showing up to summer league and playing with McLemore and Ray McCallum would help on the commitment front.
Value: He might fetch a late first, early second-round pick. Teams will looks at him as a low-risk, high reward option on a $6.3M expiring deal. For Sacramento, his value will increase if Gay leaves via free agency.
Likelihood of trade: Medium to High. He is available, but D’Alessandro may hold onto him until he knows the outcome of the Gay decision.
Jason Terry – 1yr/$5.9M (Potential Retiree)
Terry is a true wild card. Will he come back and play limited minutes? Will he retire? Can he be medically retired? D’Alessandro will know more before he deals the soon-to-be 37-year-old. If he is done, it will free $6M in cap space and he becomes worth his weight in gold. If he wants to play, the Kings might be better off buying him out.
Value: There is probably a slide scale somewhere for Terry’s value, but it’s reasonably high either as an expiring contract or a retiree/medical retiree.
Likelihood of trade: High. It’s doubtful that Terry ever sees a minute of action in Sacramento, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t help the team.
Jason Thompson – 3 yrs/$19.3M (Third year guaranteed at $2.6M)
Teams aren’t beating down the Kings’ front door for Thompson, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have value. At 6-11 and 250 pounds, the 27-year-old big man can play both the center and power forward position. He can also score in the post, hit an 18-foot jumper, rebound and play defense at a league-average level. Last season was not his best, but Thompson has a career PER of 14.0 and comes to play 82 games a season.
Value: There are plenty of teams in the league that need a versatile big man like Thompson, but at three years and more than $19.M owed, he has negative value on the market. He’s not an albatross like Chuck Hayes was, but it will take the right trade partner.
Likelihood of trade: Extremely high. Thompson will likely be used to balance out the roster in a trade for a player on a similar contract or as part of a bigger deal that includes other long-term contracts.
Carl Landry – 3 yrs/$19.5M
At this point, Landry is damaged goods. After playing just 18 games in 2013-14 due to hip and knee issues, the soon-to-be 31-year-old has a lot of work to do if he hopes to make good on his four-year deal from last summer.
Value: Low. Landry is a very good low-post scorer off the bench, something the Kings desperately needed last season, but he will probably need some time to prove his value again.
Likelihood of trade: Landry’s contract and injury history guarantee he is a King until the trade deadline or later.
Isaiah Thomas, Aaron Gray, Willie Reed, Jared Cunningham
Thomas is the only player in this group with value, but the team would need him to sign off on any deal in which he is included. For now, the Kings will extend him a qualifying offer and wait for his value on the open market to materialize. Because of his low QO (qualifying offer), the team can make a lot of moves before coming back and making a final decision on its most popular player.
Ray McCallum, Travis Outlaw, Reggie Evans, Quincy Acy
The Kings love McCallum, but he hasn’t quite risen to prospect level yet. As of today, he is the backup point guard to start the season, but that could change multiple times between now and late October.
Outlaw proved that he can still play, but he is in the final year of his deal and makes $3M this season. He is the definition of cap filler.
Cousins loves Evans and that may be enough for the 34-year-old, 12-year vet to stick around. He is owed $1.8M, which once again makes him a toss-in on a big deal.
Acy is owed $900K, but it’s not guaranteed. He could play a role next season or he could be a roster casualty; only time will tell.