The Sacramento Kings are reportedly in the trade market, aggressively so, in hopes of speeding up the process of rebuilding a franchise that hasn’t tasted the playoffs since 2006.
NBA.com’s Hang Time Blog is cites an executive in its report who says the Kings are looking to move veterans in return for prospects and draft picks.
It’s not clear, the report stressed, whether or not any deals are imminent, but said some talks have moved beyond the introductory phase.
A league source said general manager Pete D’Alessandro is hoping to make some moves well ahead of the Feb. 20 trading deadline.
The Kings are 3-7 after Tuesday night’s win over the Phoenix Suns and do have some veterans who might prove interesting to contenders looking to add a piece for a playoff push. But some of those players have hefty price tags attached to them.
John Salmons was just demoted from the starting lineup at small forward. The 12th-year wing player is averaging just 4.9 points per game in 24.4 minutes of playing time and, despite being a career 36.3 percent shooter from 3-point range, is just 4-for-20 this season. Salmons is making more than $7.5 million this season and has a partially guaranteed $7 million on the books for 2014-15, according to basketball-reference.com. He receives a $1 million buyout if he is waived before June 30.
Two other players who lost their starting jobs are Marcus Thornton and Patrick Patterson.
Thornton, a shooting guard, is in his fifth year and is averaging 10.3 points in 28.3 minutes per game. He is making $8.05 million this year and is on the books for more than $8.5 million for 2014-15.
Patterson came to the Kings late last season in the deal that sent the No. 5 overall pick, Thomas Robinson and Francisco Garcia, to the Houston Rockets. He is averaging 5.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in 23.2 minutes a game this season for the Kings and his rookie contract expires after this season.
Patterson is the only player on the Kings roster left from that trade—the last trade made by former general manager Geoff Petrie. Center Cole Aldrich is now with the Knicks and Toney Douglas moved down I-80 to the Warriors over the summer.
It makes sense that the Kings would want younger assets and draft picks as D’Alessandro tries to clean up the stagnant mess that was the Sacramento organization over the last several years. DeMarcus Cousins is locked up long term and rookie Ben McLemore has shown flashes of being an impact player.
With the Kings on target for yet another lottery pick in what is thought to be a talent-rich 2014 draft, additional picks or young players is the way to go.
One player not likely to be moved via trade, however, is third-year guard Jimmer Fredette. The Kings declined his fourth-year option for 2014-15, making Fredette a restricted free agent next summer, but he wouldn’t bring much in return in a trade.