Kings plan to be involved in trade talks for every star player to hit the market this season, per report


The Sacramento Kings won 48 games a year ago, but they proved early in the offseason that they weren’t satisfied with a first-round playoff exit. They were surprisingly linked to Bradley Beal on the trade market, and according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, that was no accident. “They are going to be involved in every star player,” that hits the trade market, Charania said, listing Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Zach LaVine as players they will consider.

Fast forward to today, and one month into the season, the Kings are 8-4 and playing better than their record would indicate. They are 6-1 with De’Aaron Fox in the lineup, and in the minutes he has played, they are outscoring opponents by 11.7 points per 100 possessions. Their offense remains among the NBA’s best, but their defense has risen up to roughly league-average. If the Kings aren’t already championship contenders, they’re not far away.

For a variety of reasons, the Kings are fairly well-situated to make a big trade. Sacramento operated below the cap this offseason, and the trickle down effect of that decision is that the Kings have the NBA’s ninth-lowest payroll. They can afford to add another significant salary for the next few years, especially since core youngster Keegan Murray still has three years left on his rookie deal. They also have strong depth at even their weakest positions. Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk, for example, have relatively similar skill sets, so if one were traded, the loss wouldn’t be quite as impactful.

The Kings still owe the Hawks one first-round pick for the Huerter trade, but otherwise, they still have the capacity to send out three first-round picks and three first-round swaps if need be. As most of the core roster is young, picks aren’t quite as important in the short-term as they are for other aspiring contenders. If the right deal presents itself, there is no reason the Kings can’t make it.

So what would that right deal look like? Defense is going to be the priority. The Kings had the most efficient offense in NBA history last season, but ranked near the bottom of the league defensively. Either of those Raptors forwards would go a long way in that regard. So would a role player like Alex Caruso. The Kings looked into Beal and will seemingly do the same with LaVine, whom they signed to an offer sheet in restricted free agency all the way back in 2018 only for the Bulls to match it. The logic there would seemingly be to make a strength even stronger. But a typical championship team is elite on one end of the floor and above-average on the other. A defensive upgrade is Sacramento’s clearest path to that formula, but regardless of who the Kings try to trade for, it looks like they are going to be aggressive in improving this season.

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