With the way things are currently constructed, it's clear the roster the Sacramento Kings have assembled isn't getting the job done. Unfortunately that's nothing new, as the team's failed to make the playoffs for the last six seasons. And barring a historic comeback that streak will be extended to seven.
If Sacramento wants to end that trend, it needs to start now by making some upgrades at the trade deadline.
There are a variety of things the organization can do. However, one thing it likely can't do is add more salary through a trade due to the impending sale of the team. That means the Kings need to get creative with their moves.
Trade for Danny Granger
Sacramento receives: Danny Granger. Indiana receives: John Salmons and Francisco Garcia.
This trade would be more about next season than this season. Granger's been out all season dealing with a knee injury. With Indiana competing for a title this season, it could increase its chances by adding players to help during the stretch run, which Granger isn't doing because of his injury.
The Pacers would get John Salmons and Francisco Garcia in this deal. Garcia's more of a throw-in, but his contract for next season is a team option, meaning once the Pacers declined it, they would get $6.1 million of cap space. As for Salmons, he would be a quality reserve off the bench, capable of contributing at both the 2 and the 3.
The Kings would be gambling that a) Granger could even return to the court and b) that he'd be able to play at the level he showed before the injury. If he can't, the team would have picked up his $13 million salary without getting much in return.
On the bright side, the trade wouldn't cost them money this season, and with Granger's contract expiring after 2013-14, the team would have more cap space to work with.
Trade for Rodney Stuckey
Sacramento receives: Rodney Stuckey. Detroit receives: Tyreke Evans and James Johnson.
One of the interesting trade chips for the Kings is Tyreke Evans. Evans only has one year left on his contract, but he's a restricted free agent, so any team that trades for him has a chance of keeping him if it wants to match a contract offer he receives. Sacramento can use that to its advantage.
The Kings could ship Evans and James Johnson to Detroit for Rodney Stuckey. I think Evans is a better player than Stuckey, but with Evans' free agency, there's a chance he gets a contract worth more than Stuckey's $8.5 million salary. There's also a chance the Kings don't want to dish out that type of money to keep Tyreke. By doing the trade they get cost certainty and a guaranteed replacement if Evans leaves.
The Pistons could either match Evans' offer to keep him, or they could simply let he and James Johnson walk following the season, using their expiring contracts as cap space.
Trade for Josh Smith
Sacramento receives: Josh Smith and Anthony Tolliver. Atlanta receives: Tyreke Evans, Francisco Garcia.
The chances of a trade like this going through are slim. It would require the Hawks conceding that they're unable to re-sign Smith following the season and the Kings being willing to either throw a max contract at Smith or let him walk with nothing in return.
The Hawks would get Tyreke Evans as their marquee player in the deal. He's also a free agent following the season, although he's a restricted free agent. For the trade to work for Atlanta, it would need to re-sign Evans. With point guard Devin Harris also hitting free agency following the season, Evans could be paired with Jeff Teague as his replacement.
The Hawks would also get some salary relief in the form of Garcia's expiring contract.
The flexibility could be nice for the Kings. If they're intent on rebuilding they could let Smith walk. If they think pairing Smith and DeMarcus Cousins with a backcourt of Marcus Thornton and Isaiah Thomas is enough to compete, then they could try signing him to a contract. Smith made no attempts to hide that he's looking for a max contract. Sacramento could bank on the fact that it could offer more money than any other team under the CBA, and hope that Smith wouldn't turn it down.
It would certainly be a gamble. But the Kings also don't have a ton to lose.
Trade for Greg Monroe
Sacramento receives: Greg Monroe and Carlos Villanueva. Detroit receives: DeMarcus Cousins, James Johnson and Francisco Garcia.
I know the Kings don't want to trade DeMarcus Cousins because it would be difficult to get equal value in return. What's equal value for DMC in terms of talent, other teams would likely scoff at because of Cousins' character concerns.
The most comparable player in terms of production and salary to Cousins is Greg Monroe of the Pistons. Cousins is a better player than Monroe, but Monroe doesn't have nearly the baggage that Cousins has. Therefore, the Pistons wouldn't want to trade straight up for the two.
The Kings could also throw in James Johnson and Francisco Garcia, who have expiring contracts following the season. Detroit could also throw in Carlos Villanueva and his $8.5 million salary, which doesn't expire until following the 2013-14 season. The salary relief would sweeten the pot for the Pistons.
Talent for talent, the Kings could do better than that return for Cousins. But until he learns to manage his emotions, this is the closest they'll get to a fair return.
Trade for MarShon Brooks
Sacramento receives: MarShon Brooks and Kris Humphries. Brooklyn receives: James Johnson, Francisco Garcia and Aaron Brooks.
MarShon Brooks has lost his chance for playing time in Brooklyn. However, he was pretty productive as a rookie in 2011-12. With his contract being relatively cheap, the Nets aren't in a situation where trading him is a necessity. Therefore, getting rid of Kris Humphries and his contract sweetens the pot a bit.
Brooklyn could decline the options on Garcia and Johnson, giving them some salary relief next year. The inclusion of Brooks gives the Nets a decent backup with a pretty cheap contract and only one more year remaining on it.
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