Whether the Kings are buyers or sellers at the deadline is almost a secondary question. They are a team that is desperately in need of talent and they have a preference for to build around young guards De’Aaron Fox, 23, and Tyrese Haliburton, 21.
With Monday night’s injury to Marvin Bagley, the Kings’ bag of assets got a little leaner, as did their depth. But the mentality of first-year general manager Monte McNair really shouldn’t change all that much.
Sacramento has needs, like every other team, but they should also be looking beyond this year. Richaun Holmes is a free agent at the end of the season and is a perfect fit for the team’s style of play. If they believe they are able to retain him, then they have at least one less hole to fill.
With another Bagley injury, the Kings also need to plan for the future at the power forward spot with the understanding that the talented 22-year-old may never play a full season. Harrison Barnes can start at either forward position, which will alleviate some of this issue, unless he too is shopped at the deadline.
Lastly, the Kings have veterans in Cory Joseph, Nemanja Bjelica and Hassan Whiteside, who aren’t long for this team. That means that McNair is in the market for a reserve guard, a 3-and-D wing, a stretch four and shot blocking center.
With the March 25 NBA trade deadline just days away, here are five potential targets the Kings should consider.
Aaron Gordon - Forward - Orlando Magic
Stats: 13.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 42.5% FG, 36.5% 3-PTS
Gordon has declined statistically in each of the last three seasons, but at 25 years old and with the ability to play either forward position, he may be a perfect fit to pair with Harrison Barnes. While Gordon's 3-point numbers have been a little erratic, he’s an elite athlete and he’s under contract for another season at $16.4 million. The Kings have expiring contracts to throw into a deal and plenty of draft compensation if Orlando is ready to move on from the high flyer. They also could dangle Buddy Hield in a swap if Orlando is looking for more shooting to put around Nikola Vucevic.
John Collins - Power Forward - Atlanta Hawks
Stats: 17.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 52.8% FG, 37.4% 3-PTS
Collins is a perfect fit for the uptempo style offense the Kings want to run with Fox and Haliburton. The 23-year-old also fits the player arc of the team’s young core. Collins is looking for a huge pay day in the offseason when he becomes a restricted free agent, and reports have Atlanta balking at his asking price. Sacramento would have to give up assets to land Collins and they would do so with the understanding that he will want a contract upwards of $100 million this summer. This would have to be part of a larger deal where the Kings found a taker for Hield and the three years and $63 million remaining on his contract.
Gary Harris - Shooting Guard - Denver Nuggets
Stats: 9.7 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 44.2% FG, 32% 3-PTS
Harris is an interesting add to this list, but he might be a player worth kicking the tires on. Owed $20.5 million next season, the 26-year-old shooting guard has massively underperformed over the last few seasons for the Nuggets. Like Gordon, his career path doesn’t make a lot of sense, but maybe he needs a change of scenery. If the Kings were to chase a player like this it would be in a swap for Hield. Denver would get a scorer to take some of the pressure off Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, while Sacramento would get younger, shave off two seasons of Hield and likely come away with a young player like Zeke Nnaji and/or R.J. Hampton in the deal.
If Harris works as a backup, keep him around. If not, shop his expiring contract next year at the deadline.
Myles Turner - Center - Indiana Pacers
Stats: 13.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 3.5 blocks, 48.5% FG, 31.3% 3-PTS
Indiana shopped Turner during the offseason and there is a chance they do so again in the next week or so. The league’s leader in shot blocking turns 25 later this month and he’s under contract for another two years at $36 million. Turner isn’t a great fit next to NBA All-Star Domantas Sabonis and his perimeter shooting numbers have dipped in each of the last two seasons. But this is another young player that fits the general vision of what the Kings are trying to build. Whether McNair has the assets to pry Turner away from Indiana is a major question, but the Pacers big man is definitely worth calling on, especially if the Kings have concerns with keeping Holmes in the offseason.
Tyrese Maxey - Guard - Philadelphia 76ers
Stats: 7.6 points, 1.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 45.1% FG, 26.8% 3-PTS
This is another intriguing add to the list. Maxey is just 20 years old and a part of the 2020 NBA Draft class. He can play either guard position and is a physical player on both ends of the court. If the Kings are looking for a deal to move Hield, the 76ers are a team that has shown interest in the past. They can match salaries with veterans like Danny Green and Mike Scott, who are both on expiring contracts, and the Kings would both get out from under Hield’s contract and land a nice young player to help fill the void now and in the future. Matisse Thybulle would fit the bill as well, but the Sixers have been reluctant to move the wing and Maxey is three years younger.