Although the Sacramento Kings are currently 10th place in the Western Conference, the team has surprised many observers, posting a 23-21 record thus far and exceeding expectations after several seasons of struggle. With the Kings’ newfound status as playoff contenders in mind, it appears that the team is hoping to make some moves ahead of the February trade deadline — perhaps looking to add a couple of new players to the lineup.
According to a new report from NBC Sports California, the Kings still do not have any plans of acquiring anyone with a long-term contract, unless the trade is for someone who could “help the team win today and down the road.” Likewise, the team is reportedly avoiding trades that could help other teams free up salary cap space, unless the deal involves some potential big contributors.
That said, Sacramento appears to have some needs in the lead-up to the trade deadline. Sources familiar with the situation told NBC Sports California that the Kings are planning to add a veteran point guard, as well as “more length and size” at small forward. No potential trade targets were mentioned in the report, but in a Twitter post from earlier this week, Marc Stein of the New York Times wrote that the Kings have expressed “exploratory trade interest” in Atlanta Hawks backup point guard Jeremy Lin.
Regarding the Sacramento Kings’ young core — one which is led by guards De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield as well as rookie power forward Marvin Bagley III — NBC Sports added that hopes are high for this group of players, and that management wants any new acquisitions to fit within the franchise’s vision. They must also mesh with head coach Dave Joerger’s preferred style of play.
As pointed out by NBC Sports California, the Kings have $11 million in available cap space, making them the only NBA team that is presently under the salary cap. While no hypothetical trades were suggested, the publication noted that Sacramento has several players who are on expiring contracts — including veterans Zach Randolph, Kosta Koufos, Ben McLemore, Iman Shumpert, and fourth-year center Willie Cauley-Stein, the latter of whom is set to become a restricted free agent this summer if the Kings make a qualifying offer for him.
“Not including Cauley-Stein, the Kings have roughly $37 million in expiring contracts. Shumpert is playing rotational minutes, and Koufos is a nice insurance policy for the team,” NBC Sports California’s James Ham observed.
“If the right deal were to come along, the Kings would have no problem taking back long-term money in exchange for a combination of expiring deals. Again, any deal would need to check the right boxes of improving the team in the short-term as well as down the road.”