The Kings could be in play to make a big NBA free agency splash, with an unexpected star potentially available for a team looking for the right pieces to help end their 16-season playoff drought.
Deandre Ayton could be in those plans.
The Athletic's Zach Harper cited sources in reporting Wednesday that Sacramento has inquired with the Phoenix Suns about a potential sign-and-trade for the big man, who went from being viewed as a key piece of that franchise's future to a question mark after they were blown out by the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Ayton, the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft in 2018, averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game in his fourth season in the league. But he was ineffective in the Suns’ most important game of the season, with just five points in 17 minutes in Game 7.
Ayton, 23, instantly would provide the Kings with a complement to De’Aaron Fox and another big man to play alongside Domantas Sabonis.
But, since Ayton is a restricted free agent, the Suns would be able to match any offer that he signs with another team. If the Suns wished to part with him, they might want to pursue a sign-and-trade to get back some value.
The Kings could include Harrison Barnes and the fourth pick in the NBA Draft in a potential sign-and-trade, Harper reported, though they would not be able to complete that trade until the beginning of free agency.
The Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks also have shown interest in acquiring Ayton, Harper reported.
Another caveat is that Ayton would have to sign off on being moved to Sacramento, and the Suns would have to be willing to move one of their star players to another team in the Pacific Division.
All things considered, the road for the Kings to potentially acquire the star center appears long, but their inclusion in the rumor mill indicates they want to be in the mix.