SACRAMENTO -- Can six games change the direction of a season and perhaps much more? Maybe it can for the Sacramento Kings.
After a disastrous homestand in December and a six-game losing streak in mid-January, the Kings looked like a franchise ready to make some major moves before the Feb. 6 NBA trade deadline.
In an attempt to shake things up, coach Luke Walton swapped Bogdan Bogdanovic into the starting lineup and moved Buddy Hield, the team’s $86 million man, to the second unit. The Kings have responded with a 4-2 stretch that could change the team’s thinking at the deadline.
Bogdanovic rumors have swirled for the last month. The 27-year-old shooting guard is finally healthy and he’s thriving in his new role with the Kings.
Following the team’s 113-109 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday, a game in which Bogdanovic dropped in 23 points on 5-of-7 shooting, he was asked about potentially playing his last game in a Kings uniform.
“Obviously, I would like to stay,” Bogdanovic told NBC Sports California. “I’m settled here. I have a house, my sister’s in college, so it’s easier.”
He confirmed that his preference is to remain in Sacramento, the only team he’s known as an NBA.
Bogdanovic was clear that he understood the business of basketball.
“But, you have to be ready for everything, especially after I saw in my first year, what was going on,” Bogdanovic said. “First year, when you come through it [the deadline], you always know that date is coming and it could be you. You just have to be ready and work on your game and be mentally prepared - for everything.”
When asked if he thinks he’ll still be a King after Thursday’s deadline, Bogdanovic answered, “Yeah.”
Climbing out of the King-size hole the team has created for themselves is going to be very difficult, if not impossible in the second half of the season. That doesn’t mean that the team can’t get an outline of the future and test different combinations of players.
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If they keep Bogdanovic past Thursday, they’ll have the final 32 games to assess the team and make a decision on his long-term fit with the team before he becomes a restricted free agent this summer.
If they trade him, it would be an acknowledgement of where this season has gone and a major change in direction for the franchise. It would also cost Walton his most versatile player and one of his best playmakers.
The clock is ticking. Was six games enough to make a difference in the fate of Bogdanovic and the current roster makeup of the Kings?