What are the Sacramento Kings going to do with all of these draft picks?
For the first time since the summer of 2007, the Kings aren’t in the lottery, and they don’t have a first-round selection. But they'll still have a busy Thursday night during the 2019 NBA Draft.
With three second-round selections, the Kings have options. It’s unlikely they will stand pat at Nos. 40, 47 and 60, although they brought in 101 interviewees for the picks. They’ve done their homework and then some.
In no particular order, here is a look at a few of the options the Kings have walking into draft night.
Option 1: Draft three players
In past seasons, roster spots have been an issue for the Kings. That isn't the case this year.
Sacramento walks into the summer with just seven players on guaranteed contracts. It has team options on Yogi Ferrell and Frank Mason, and there is confidence around the club that Harrison Barnes will return.
Even if the Kings add everyone, that still leaves them with plenty of open spots. They could use the three selections on players and decide down the road how to fit them in.
This is an unlikely scenario, but you never know who might be available, and the Kings have to keep this option open.
Option 2: Sell a pick or two
Second-round selections have become extremely valuable of the last few seasons. Last year, Sacramento was able to wrangle two future second-rounders (2019 and 2021) and $1.5 million in cash from the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for the No. 37 pick. Portland used the selection on Gary Trent Jr., and the Kings walked away with a nice package of assets.
The No. 40 pick might have similar value this season, although the Kings won’t really know until they get closer to the selection. The price certainly will go down as they get to picks 47 and 60.
Option 3: Trade a pick for future picks
Sacramento has collected a bevy of second-round selections over the next few years by having them thrown in on all kinds of different transactions. Iman Shumpert for Alec Burks? Deal, but throw in a second-rounder.
Over this draft and the next two, the Kings will have 10 total second-round selections. You can’t draft 10 second-rounders -- they won’t all make the team, and it’s a waste of an asset.
The only way the Kings should move a pick for future picks in this particular draft is if they are yielding 2022 second-round selections. This is the season when the age limit is lifted and the draft will get an infusion of additional prospects.
The 2021 draft will be affected by the rule change as well, but the Kings already have three second-round picks that year.
Option 4: Trade a pick for a veteran player
With free agency right around the corner, teams are looking to deal away veteran players to open up more salary-cap space. The Kings have second-round picks and plenty of cap space if the deal is right.
Multiple reports have the New York Knicks shopping former top-10 pick Frank Ntilikina for a late first round or even second-round pick. Would the 21-year-old point guard be worth a short-term flier? Maybe, although the Kings might find better value on the open market instead of taking on Ntilikina’s $4.9 million contract for next season.
The NBA transaction wire is on fire, and it likely will spill over into draft night. Can the Kings jump in and improve their team at the cost of a second-round pick or two?
Option 5: Draft and stash
This is an interesting option for the Kings. They can draft a European prospect and leave them overseas for a year or two. Vlade Divac was at the EuroLeague Final Four last month, and the Kings have Pedrag Drobnjak overseeing European scouting.
If there is a young prospect who makes sense but might need a year or two to develop, the Kings have the assets to wait.
Option 6: Gamble on a player with health issues
Divac and his team made a tremendous investment in Harry Giles in the 2017 NBA Draft when they used the 20th overall selection on him. They redshirted Giles, and had their medical and training staff spend an entire year rehabbing the big man.
A couple of players in this draft could slide to the Kings because of health issues, and they're probably worth the gamble at No. 40 or 47. Jontay Porter and Chuma Okeke are both injury-risk players who otherwise would be first-round talents in this draft.
If they fall to the Kings, the team would have to give them a solid look. They would tie up a roster spot, but the long-term value might exceed the typical second-rounder.
Option 7: Leverage two-way contracts
With the invention of the two-way contract, the Kings also have the ability to hide a player or two somewhere between the G League and the parent club while retaining his rights.
Wenyen Gabriel signed a two-year, two-way deal with Sacramento last summer, but these contracts are non-guaranteed if the team needs to make a move.
This is a good way to get a player in your system and develop them with Ty Ellis in Stockton, but also have the ability to bring them up at a moments notice for organizational depth. They also don’t count against your 15-man roster, and the contracts are easily convertible into NBA deals if you find the right player.
Option 8: Move up
Three second-round picks might be enough to entice a team at the end of the first round to move back. Then again, is there real value in making a move like that in this particular draft?
First-round picks are guaranteed for the first two seasons, with team options in year three and four. Second-round picks typically are non-guaranteed.
There is value in flexibility, although there's always a chance that Sacramento is all in on a specific prospect and tries to jump ahead to grab them.
With only De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Nemanja Bjelica, Marvin Bagley, Giles and Caleb Swanigan on guaranteed contracts for next season, the Kings don't have a lot of players they would consider moving via trade, especially to jump up in this particular draft.
There is no question that Divac and his team have done their homework. They've hosted 17 workouts and 101 prospects at their practice facility. They've also traveled the globe looking at international prospects and visited workouts around the country in anticipation for Thursday's draft.
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The Kings have a menu of options for their three second-round selections, which is a good thing. They likely will sample from more than one of these choices and have a very busy evening.