Zach Randolph

NBA rumors: Kings 'express interest' in Grizzlies' center Marc Gasol

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AP

NBA rumors: Kings 'express interest' in Grizzlies' center Marc Gasol

In case you missed the memo, the NBA trade deadline is just around the corner. Feb. 7 will be here before you know it, and the Sacramento Kings, with their stack of cap space and bevy of expiring contracts, are winning the “team most likely to be mentioned” award.

The latest rumor has Vlade Divac and his group calling on Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies. According to a published report from The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, “The Kings and Pistons have expressed interest, according to multiple league sources.”

According to O’Connor, the Grizzlies are attempting to attach the albatross that is Chandler Parsons to any deal. That’s unlikely to happen in Sacramento or anywhere else.

Gasol is on the books for $24.1 million this season with a player option next season for $25.6 million. Giving up assets for a player on the wrong side of 30 that can walk away for nothing in the offseason isn’t an ideal situation to start.

Absorbing Parsons in any trade should be a non-starter for Sacramento. The 30-year-old has played a total of 73 games over the last three seasons. He makes $24.1 million this season and another $25.1 million next season.

At one point, Parsons was an up-and-coming wing that might have fit perfectly into the Kings’ uptempo style. A series of knee issues have all but ended his career.

Gasol continues to produce for the Grizzlies in his eleventh NBA season. The 33-year-old, who will turn 34 on Jan. 29, is posting 15.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks in 33.7 minutes per game. While he isn’t built for the pace the Kings play at, he is an experienced former All-Star that could help stabilize the Kings on both ends of the floor.

[RELATED: Kings reportedly have interest in trading for Hawks' Jeremy Lin]

The Spaniard is also close with Kings coach Dave Joerger, who spent nine seasons as both an assistant and head coach in Memphis. If there is a coach that understands how to utilize Gasol, it’s Joerger.

Sacramento could easily cobble together a group of expiring contracts to match Gasol’s money, including former Grizzly, Zach Randolph and his $11.7 million owed this season. They might even have a few assets to throw in on a deal, although Gasol might be nothing more than a 30 game rental at this point.

NBA trade deadline: Kings have cap space, assets to be major players

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USATSI

NBA trade deadline: Kings have cap space, assets to be major players

The build up to the NBA’s Feb. 7 trade deadline has already begun. If fact, it started for the Kings coming into opening night, when they walked into the season as the only team in the league with any real cap space.

The rumor mill is churning, but NBC Sports California continues to hear that the Kings have no intention of taking on any long-term deals, unless it helps the team win today and down the road. They also aren't in the mood to help another franchise save money, unless assets are attached.

Sacramento’s front office has worked hard to create the financial freedom they currently possess. They understand the power of their position in the market and they have a list of needs.

According to sources, high on the Kings’ priority list is adding more length and size at the small forward position, as well as a veteran point guard to bring off the bench.

The team is high on their young core, and would like to find a piece or two that fits with the style of play and direction the franchise is heading.

[RELATED: Marvin Bagley, Harry Giles give Kings fans glimpse into bright future]

Cap

The NBA’s cap is set at $101.869 million for this season, with the luxury tax threshold of  $123.733 million. Sacramento has $90.844 million on the books, including $10.8 million in dead money from Matt Barnes, Georgios Papagiannis, Deyonta Davis and Caron Butler.

Outside of the Kings and their $11 million in available cap space, no other team in the league is under the cap.

With available space, the Kings can act as a conduit to reduce other clubs’ cap space, potentially saving them millions in luxury tax. They can also accept more incoming money than they send out in a potential trade.

Expiring Contracts

In addition to $11 million in cap space, the Kings also have a bevy of expiring contracts to work with. Veteran big man Zach Randolph has yet to play a minute this season in Sacramento, and is in the final year of a deal that pays him $11.7 million this season.

Kosta Koufos is a valuable big on an affordable $8.7 million deal. At 29 years old, he is a veteran defensive presence and keeps himself in spectacular shape. With the Kings going young up front over the last two weeks, Koufos gets in a full workout following games to make sure he’s ready to play, either for Sacramento or elsewhere.

Ben McLemore, 25, is owed $5.5 million this season before becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer. He’s found it difficult to get on the court with the Kings loaded at the wing, but he’s had a few moments when given an opportunity.

Iman Shumpert is in the final year of a long term contract he signed back in 2015 with the Cavs that pays him $11 million this season. Shumpert has started 32 games at the small forward position for the Kings and has provided a nice bump both on and off the court. He’s a defensive-minded wing and he’s shooting 38.6 percent from long range this season.

Lastly, starting center Willie Cauley-Stein is in the final year of his rookie-scale deal. He makes $4.7 million this season, and will enter the summer as a restricted free agent if the Kings extend a qualifying offer. Cauley-Stein has reached the NBA’s “starter criteria,” which means his qualifying offer has jumped from $4.5 million to $6.3 million this summer.

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.

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.

Picks

One of Vlade Divac’s first moves was to trade his 2019 first-round pick. That move really comes into play right now. Due to the Stepien Rule, Divac cannot trade back-to-back picks, so his first round selection in 2020 is off the table.

Sacramento can trade a first round pick further off in the future, like in 2021 or 2022.

Without a first-rounder to work with, the Kings have loaded up on second-rounders. The team doesn’t have their own second-rounder in 2019, but they have two incoming picks (second-most favorable from the Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets, plus the most favorable between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers).

The Kings also have their own second-round selection in 2020, as well as the Detroit Pistons' and Miami Heat's. In 2021, they have Miami’s second round pick again, as well as their own selection and the Memphis Grizzlies' pick.

Values of second-round picks vary, but the Kings have a total six second-rounders over the next three seasons. They have no restrictions, and can be used as sweeteners in a larger deal if necessary.

[RELATED: What went right, what went wrong in Kings' win over Blazers]

Assets

Sacramento has a lot of young and talented players, but they aren’t going to move any of them unless it means the team is making a massive long-term investment in a star-level player. Even then, there is a core group that is close to untouchable.

It’s an interesting roster. The Kings have nine players on rookie scale-contracts. Nemanja Bjelica is the only veteran with a guaranteed deal that extends beyond the 2018-19 season. They have plenty of expiring contracts, and a few young players that are out of the rotation.

What to Expect

Divac and Co. should be incredibly active. They’ve worked hard to be a player in the trade market, and they are the only team with available space. They can also change the look of the roster using open money and expiring contracts from players that aren’t part of the rotation.

The Kings have the ability to pull off multiple trades that could yield not only players to help with a playoff push, but add future assets as well.

Sacramento should be weary of taking on long-term salary that bites into their available cap space this summer, unless the player fits the age and salary trajectory of the team.

It would be shocking if they stand pat at the deadline.There will likely be a deal or two that could help change the course of the franchise for the better. At 23-21, this team has done their job on the court, but they could use a few reinforcements.

NBA rumor mill is churning, but is Enes Kanter a fit with the Kings?

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USATSI

NBA rumor mill is churning, but is Enes Kanter a fit with the Kings?

Enes Kanter? Really? That’s the solution the Kings have been waiting for?

It’s confusing times in Sacramento. Fans woke up to a random tweet from the great Adrian Wojnarowski, stating that the Kings and Knicks were discussing a potential swap that includes veteran Zach Randolph moving back to New York in exchange for the talented, yet controversial Kanter.

On paper, the deal works. Sacramento has upwards of $11 million in cap space to absorb any extra money coming in, although they would be wise to stick the Knicks with another outgoing contract to make the money closer.

Kanter is in the final season of a four-year, $70 million deal he signed in July of 2015. He’s owed a robust $18.6 million this season.

Randolph is also in the final year of his deal, which pays him $11.6 million this season. A straight up swap would save the Knicks roughly $7 million this season. Adding a player like Ben McLemore and his $5.5 million contract would balance the scales out, but would might also cost the Kings an asset, like a future second round selection.

At 26-years-old, the 6-foot-11 center has plenty of miles left in the tank. Kanter’s averaging 14.4 points and 11 rebounds in 26.5 minutes per game, making him one of the better rebounders per minute in the NBA.

Twice in his career, Kanter has led the league in offensive rebounding percentage and his per 36 minute numbers on the glass are stunning. For a team like Sacramento that struggles to compete on the boards night in and night out, adding a player that averages 9.4 defensive rebounds and 5.5 offensive rebounds per 36 minutes makes a lot sense.

Kanter can also score at a high clip. He’s an instant offense player that boasts a career field goal percentage of 54 percent. The eight-year NBA vet is averaging a career-best 2.0 assists per game this season, but his primary focus has always been putting the ball in the bucket.

He prefers to play close to the rim, which might hurt the running lanes for De’Aaron Fox. But he would give the Kings a reliable scorer in the post for those times when the team struggles to score.

Of his 444 field goal attempts this season, 274 of those have come at the rim, where he shoots 67.9 percent. Another 107 of his field goal attempts come within 3-10 feet, leaving just 63 attempts outside of 10 feet.

More than a decade younger than Z-Bo, Kanter can get up and down the court and would likely split time with Willie Cauley-Stein at the center position.

On the downside, Kanter would further clutter an already packed front court, but with the deadline a little over four weeks away, the Kings still have time to rebalance their roster.

His presence would clearly affect the minutes of big man Kosta Koufos, but with the team transitioning away from two conventional bigs, it would likely impact the power forward position as well. Coach Dave Joerger is balancing minutes between Nemanja Bjelica and rookies Marvin Bagley III and Harry Giles III. He is also using Justin Jackson at the four in small ball lineups.

It’s a low risk deal for Sacramento. If Kanter doesn’t work on the court, they could easily move away from him during the second half of the season. Randolph hasn’t played a minute this season for the Kings and there is no plan to change that fact.

If it’s a straight up swap, the Kings would eat into their valuable free cap space for this season. If they are able to add a second player, like McLemore or even Koufos in the deal, it would keep the flexibility the team has worked hard for and open the possibility for additional deals between now and the Feb. 7 deadline.

Kanter isn't a perfect fit for the Kings, but he might a talent upgrade. He can rebound and he can score on the blocks. He would complicate things for Joerger and his staff, but as a short term rental and at a low cost, he might be worth the gamble.