Piece by piece, we are learning more about Kings general manager Monte McNair and how he conducts his business. He’s methodical and as much as Kings fans would love to see the home run, when it didn’t materialize, McNair took the solid base hit in front of him.
The group of players that are set to arrive in Sacramento over the next day or so have a common theme -- they are long, athletic and can defend.
In all, McNair and his staff pulled off four transactions before the NBA’s trade deadline passed, and then had to take care of some housekeeping.
Here is a look at a busy 72 hours of transactions that strengthened the Kings' depth without eating into their core.
The Big Add
Delon Wright is the big add for the Kings. McNair found a player that was more in line with the Kings’ style of play and the cost was Cory Joseph and a pair of second picks.
At 6-foot-5 Wright has the size to play the one, two and even a little small-ball three. He’s a better scorer than Joseph and he likes to push the tempo.
McNair took on an extra year of Wright’s salary at $8.5 million, which might come back to haunt him. But at 28, Wright is a player that can help the Kings this year and next in their quest to snap the franchise’s fourteen-year playoff drought.
The Sneaky Pick Up
Like Cory Joseph, Nemanja Bjelica didn’t really fit the Kings’ style of play. McNair found a soft landing spot for the veteran on a star-studded Miami Heat team that just keeps adding to their riches.
In exchange for Bjelica, McNair took back Moe Harkless and Chris Silva. Silva is a toss-in on the deal and may or may not make it through the season in Sacramento. Harkless, on the other hand, is a very solid veteran that never found his place in Miami.
At 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan, Harkless is a versatile veteran that can play either forward position. He isn’t a big scorer, but his ability to switch on the defensive end of the floor is something the Kings have been missing and he’s on an expiring contract.
Terence Davis isn’t a household name, but he was impressive enough last season as an undrafted player to make the NBA’s All-Rookie second team. Listed at 6-foot-4 with a 6-foot-9 wingspan, Davis is athletic and plays with force. He can score and defend and will likely get a shot to play minutes next to Wright in the backcourt off the bench.
He is still raw as a prospect, but the Kings were willing to invest a second round pick to bring him aboard. Davis has had off the court issues, but hopefully those are behind him. If not, he isn’t under contract next season and the Kings can move away from him quickly.
On Tuesday, the team acquired big man Mfiondu Kabengele from the Los Angeles Clippers in a deal that in the end amounts to a way for the Kings to earn some quick cash while helping Los Angeles dip below the hard cap.
With roster spots at a premium, the Kings waived Kabengele on Thursday to make room for even more additions at the deadline. The 23-year-old big suited up on Wednesday, but never made an appearance for the Kings.
With McNair bringing in four players and only sending out two, corresponding roster moves had to be made to drop the team back to 15. Kabengele was released before playing a minute and the team pulled the plug on the Jabari Parker experience to get to the league maximum.
Acquired in the Dewayne Dedmon deal with the Atlanta Hawks last season, Parker never carved out a niche with the Kings. The former No. 2 overall pick played in six games last season and just three this year before his release.
Parker knew he wasn’t part of the Kings’ plan when he opted into his player option for $6.5 million this season. By waiving him now, Sacramento is giving him an opportunity to restart his career fresh somewhere else.