Sacramento Kings Gamble Trading Stauskas, Landry, and Thompson


The Sacramento Kings and Vlade Divac know they have a lot of work to do to bring the team back to relevancy, and they made one of their first moves Wednesday. The team traded Nik Stauskas, Carl Landryand Kings 2008 first-round draft pick, Jason Thompson, to the Philadelphia 76ers along with a protected first-round pick and the right to two draft-pick swaps.

The 76ers sent two international players to the Kings in exchange. (Divac was a European scout in the past, which could have something to do with the players the Kings got in return.)

Thompson was a fan favorite for the Kings but hasn’t enjoyed much success with the team. He saw some of the worst seasons in Kings history along with seven different head coaches during his span.

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The Kings are definitely taking a gamble by sending out a possible first-round draft pick. (The draft pick won’t be sent to the Sixers until two years after the first-round pick that the Cleveland Cavaliers are owed is expired in 2017.) But the Kings, who have been in rebuild mode since 2006, had to make a move.

Many in the media have said that the Kings and Divac made a mistake and were ripped off by Sam Hinkie, but for Kings fans, they know the team couldn’t continue to play it safe and stay on “16”. Instead, it’s appreciated that the Kings had to try and get the “21” (a la Divac’s playing number).

Stauskas is the real gamble, as the team gave up on the shooter after only his first year in the league. He didn’t show much comfort during the season with the Kings, but it’s hard to put all the blame on him with the type of dysfunction he was surrounded by.

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In his first year with the reigns, Divac has asserted himself as the decision maker and he hasn’t shied away from making moves. He stuck to his guns and drafted the player he had his eye on from the start, Willie Cauley-Stein, and has almost single-handedly shut down all the rumors regarding George Karl.

The Kings’ focus now is on Wesley Matthews, who is still recovering from a torn Achilles. He was set to visit the Kings Thursday. Matthews would be a great fit for the Kings as they try to find perimeter players who can spread defenses, and Matthews has been a career .393 three-point shooter, per ESPN.

However, CSN recently reported that Matthews may sign a four-year contract with the Dallas Mavericks.

The Kings also have their sights on point guard, Rajon Rondo, who would once again be a risk. He pretty much imploded recently while on the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks last year, and he ended this season early by being benched by Rick Carlisle. Rondo is a wild card in the deck, but it’s easy to see how impactful he can be if his head is in the game.

Rondo can drop a triple-double almost whenever he feels and can get 15 assists a night if he feels like it. He’s not a score first type of player, and that’s a type of point guard the Kings haven’t had in a long time. The Kings also had their eyes on Monta Ellis prior to Ellis signing with the Indiana Pacers.

It’s easy to look at the Kings and see a floundering franchise, but if you look a little closer, you’ll see a slight glimpse of where Divac aims to take the Kings. Putting a defensive-minded big like WCS next to DeMarcus Cousins was definitely a start. Getting rid of a ton of wasted salary from JT and Landry was the second big move he made, and he’s on his way to making plenty more.

The Kings aren’t looking to put all their chips down in one hand; they’ve sat down and ordered a drink and are in it for the long haul. How long the climb will take is unknown, but money plays while Divac and the Kings have placed their chips on the table.

Next: Sacramento Kings to Target Rajon Rondo