All-Star weekend festivities have come to a close, and as the trade deadline approaches, the Sacramento Kings have some serious decisions to make concerning the future of the team. Assuming that Sacramento makes a strong push towards resigning Rudy Gay or convincing him to exercise his $19.3 million option, the Kings are going to have to pay a pretty big luxury tax in order to retain emerging point guard Isaiah Thomas. The only way to avoid this would be to trade players with hefty contracts or convince Gay to resign a less expensive one. In this capitalistic day and age, you can never assume that a player will take less money to stay with a team.
Here are a few of the possible trades that GM Pete D’Alessandro should at least look into.
Kings Trade: Marcus Thornton, Jimmer Fredette, Second Round Pick
Magic Trade: Aaron Afflalo
Rumor has it that the Kings are aggressively searching to unload Marcus Thornton’s $8 million contract. While this trade only saves the Kings $3 million, not enough to stay out of the luxury tax, it gives the Kings an All-Star talent in Afflalo. Not only does Afflalo replace Thornton’s shooting prowess, but also gives the Kings a tenacious defender that can guard multiple positions. No matter who the Kings would decide to trade, Aaron Afflalo would be an optimal pickup at the deadline.
I have a feeling that the Kings are going to try to resign Isaiah Thomas at all costs, and bank on playing the lotto in this year’s draft. Imagine a lineup of Isaiah Thomas, Aaron Afflalo, Rudy Gay, Jason Thompson (potentially Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, or Aaron Gordon) and DeMarcus Cousins.
From Orlando’s standpoint
Orlando is in a complete rebuild mode and every player is expendable. While Thornton doesnt give the Magic any answers for success at all, he is a viable shooter. Jimmer may be able to produce on a team like the Magic because they will surely give him a chance to perform. This trade also allows Orlando to turn their attention to the draft, where they will have two first round draft picks (one from Denver) and one second round pick. Just like every other tanking NBA team, the Magic will be playing for the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Joel Emblid, Jabari Parker, and Julius Randle.
Kings Trade: Marcus Thornton, Jason Thompson, Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore, 2nd round pick
Boston Trade: Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley
Whether this trade is realistic or not, the Kings can’t deny an opportunity to gain a premiere point guard like Rondo and the Celtics should seriously consider using Isaiah Thomas and Ben McLemore as core pieces to their rebuilding process. If McLemore develops into the type of All Star he is projected to be, this trade pays off for Boston.
Word around the league is that it would take a mega deal to get Rondo, and this deal could have just what it takes. Yes, the Kings would be parting ways with the future of their backcourt, but the Kings need to be willing to take chances in this rebuilding process. This trade would also give the Kings some leverage to sign a top draft pick. If a top-2 pick falls into the Kings’ lap, they could be dealing with a potentially lethal lineup.
Kings Fans Imagine: Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley (Andrew Wiggins), Rudy Gay, Jared Sullinger (Jabari Parker or Julius Randle), DeMarcus Cousins
Celtics Fans Imagine:Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass (Jabari Parker or Julius Randle), Jason Thompson (Joel Embiid)
Kings Trade: Marcus Thornton and a 2nd round draft pick to ANYONE THAT CAN AFFORD TO TAKE HIM
The Kings are dying to unload Marcus Thornton, and they will likely try to temp teams with a draft pick. Sacramento doesn’t need to get rid of paying the luxury tax, they just need some help. The reality is that the Kings are going to have to pay a lot extra if they don’t figure some sort of alternative. More importantly, these trades make the Kings a team that is ready to be a contender again.They have the right management and coach. Now they just need to focus on building a defensive synergy that will put them in class with the Western Conference elite.