Kings

NBA trade deadline: Kings have cap space, assets to be major players

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USATSI

NBA trade deadline: Kings have cap space, assets to be major players

The build up to the NBA’s Feb. 7 trade deadline has already begun. If fact, it started for the Kings coming into opening night, when they walked into the season as the only team in the league with any real cap space.

The rumor mill is churning, but NBC Sports California continues to hear that the Kings have no intention of taking on any long-term deals, unless it helps the team win today and down the road. They also aren't in the mood to help another franchise save money, unless assets are attached.

Sacramento’s front office has worked hard to create the financial freedom they currently possess. They understand the power of their position in the market and they have a list of needs.

According to sources, high on the Kings’ priority list is adding more length and size at the small forward position, as well as a veteran point guard to bring off the bench.

The team is high on their young core, and would like to find a piece or two that fits with the style of play and direction the franchise is heading.

[RELATED: Marvin Bagley, Harry Giles give Kings fans glimpse into bright future]

Cap

The NBA’s cap is set at $101.869 million for this season, with the luxury tax threshold of  $123.733 million. Sacramento has $90.844 million on the books, including $10.8 million in dead money from Matt Barnes, Georgios Papagiannis, Deyonta Davis and Caron Butler.

Outside of the Kings and their $11 million in available cap space, no other team in the league is under the cap.

With available space, the Kings can act as a conduit to reduce other clubs’ cap space, potentially saving them millions in luxury tax. They can also accept more incoming money than they send out in a potential trade.

Expiring Contracts

In addition to $11 million in cap space, the Kings also have a bevy of expiring contracts to work with. Veteran big man Zach Randolph has yet to play a minute this season in Sacramento, and is in the final year of a deal that pays him $11.7 million this season.

Kosta Koufos is a valuable big on an affordable $8.7 million deal. At 29 years old, he is a veteran defensive presence and keeps himself in spectacular shape. With the Kings going young up front over the last two weeks, Koufos gets in a full workout following games to make sure he’s ready to play, either for Sacramento or elsewhere.

Ben McLemore, 25, is owed $5.5 million this season before becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer. He’s found it difficult to get on the court with the Kings loaded at the wing, but he’s had a few moments when given an opportunity.

Iman Shumpert is in the final year of a long term contract he signed back in 2015 with the Cavs that pays him $11 million this season. Shumpert has started 32 games at the small forward position for the Kings and has provided a nice bump both on and off the court. He’s a defensive-minded wing and he’s shooting 38.6 percent from long range this season.

Lastly, starting center Willie Cauley-Stein is in the final year of his rookie-scale deal. He makes $4.7 million this season, and will enter the summer as a restricted free agent if the Kings extend a qualifying offer. Cauley-Stein has reached the NBA’s “starter criteria,” which means his qualifying offer has jumped from $4.5 million to $6.3 million this summer.

Not including Cauley-Stein, the Kings have roughly $37 million in expiring contracts. Shumpert is playing rotational minutes, and Koufos is a nice insurance policy for the team.

If the right deal were to come along, the Kings would have no problem taking back long-term money in exchange for a combination of expiring deals. Again, any deal would need to check the right boxes of improving the team in the short-term as well as down the road.

Picks

One of Vlade Divac’s first moves was to trade his 2019 first-round pick. That move really comes into play right now. Due to the Stepien Rule, Divac cannot trade back-to-back picks, so his first round selection in 2020 is off the table.

Sacramento can trade a first round pick further off in the future, like in 2021 or 2022.

Without a first-rounder to work with, the Kings have loaded up on second-rounders. The team doesn’t have their own second-rounder in 2019, but they have two incoming picks (second-most favorable from the Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets, plus the most favorable between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers).

The Kings also have their own second-round selection in 2020, as well as the Detroit Pistons' and Miami Heat's. In 2021, they have Miami’s second round pick again, as well as their own selection and the Memphis Grizzlies' pick.

Values of second-round picks vary, but the Kings have a total six second-rounders over the next three seasons. They have no restrictions, and can be used as sweeteners in a larger deal if necessary.

[RELATED: What went right, what went wrong in Kings' win over Blazers]

Assets

Sacramento has a lot of young and talented players, but they aren’t going to move any of them unless it means the team is making a massive long-term investment in a star-level player. Even then, there is a core group that is close to untouchable.

It’s an interesting roster. The Kings have nine players on rookie scale-contracts. Nemanja Bjelica is the only veteran with a guaranteed deal that extends beyond the 2018-19 season. They have plenty of expiring contracts, and a few young players that are out of the rotation.

What to Expect

Divac and Co. should be incredibly active. They’ve worked hard to be a player in the trade market, and they are the only team with available space. They can also change the look of the roster using open money and expiring contracts from players that aren’t part of the rotation.

The Kings have the ability to pull off multiple trades that could yield not only players to help with a playoff push, but add future assets as well.

Sacramento should be weary of taking on long-term salary that bites into their available cap space this summer, unless the player fits the age and salary trajectory of the team.

It would be shocking if they stand pat at the deadline.There will likely be a deal or two that could help change the course of the franchise for the better. At 23-21, this team has done their job on the court, but they could use a few reinforcements.

How Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic wants to inspire Serbian basketball fans

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USATSI

How Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic wants to inspire Serbian basketball fans

Kings wing Bogdan Bogdanovic is a winner when it comes to playing for his national team. Give him a Serbia jersey and good things will happen. 

"The first time I found out I was selected to be a part of my national team was an amazing feeling," Bogdanovic recently said in an interview with FIBA Basketball

Bogdanovic has been the leading factor in Serbia's success as runners-up at FIBA EuroBasket tournaments in 2014, 2016 and 2017 and the Rio Olympics in 2016. He averaged 20.4 points and 5 assists per game in 2017. 

Bogdanovic injured himself while playing for the Serbian national team before last season, though, and missed the start of the year after undergoing knee surgery. That won't stop him from representing his country this time around, however.

Kings teammates Bogdanovic and Nemanja Bjelica both will be playing for Serbia in the FIBA Basketball World Cup. 

"I can tell you right now, I still get the same goosebumps I got back then, when I'm about to play for the national team," Bogdanovic said to FIBA's website. 

Growing up, Bogdanovic dreamed of one day representing his country on the court. He often heard about was the greats who played for the national team, and he has cherished every opportunity he has had to do the same.

[RELATED: Even Cauley-Stein thinks Dedmon fits Kings better than him]

"You make people proud. They don't even need to play basketball to feel motivated," Bogdanovic said. "I like to play all these types of tournaments which FIBA organizes. (FIBA Basketball) World Cup or the (FIBA EuroBasket), it's always good to play and be there with your guys and compete."

Willie Cauley-Stein believes Dewayne Dedmon fits Kings better than he did

Willie Cauley-Stein believes Dewayne Dedmon fits Kings better than he did

When the Kings agreed to a three-year, $40 million contract with center Dewayne Dedmon at the start of free agency this summer, it seemed like a small move compared to the rest of the craziness in the NBA.

Nevermind that, though. The former Hawk could be the perfect fit in Sacramento. Just ask the player he's replacing. 

“I think it fits better for them in that role for what they want -- shooting 3s, rim protecting, all that,” former Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein recently told Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. “Obviously, they felt I didn’t do a good job at it. I think (Dedmon) is one of the good ones in the league who does that, so for them I think that’s a big-time move.”

Cauley-Stein signed a two-year, $4.4 million deal with the Warriors this offseason when the Kings made him an unrestricted free agent. He's expected to play the rim-running role that JaVale McGee previously occupied. Dedmon will have a much different role on the Kings. 

Dedmon, who turns 30 in August, didn't attempt a single 3-point shot the first four seasons of his six-year NBA career. That changed two seasons ago in Atlanta. The 7-footer put up 133 3-point shots during the past two seasons and made 38.2 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc last season. 

Cauley-Stein, by comparison, only has four 3-pointers to his name in his four-year NBA career. He's only attempted 18 and isn't seen as a reliable shooter. 

[RELATED: Source: Ex-Kings big man Koufos agrees with European club]

The Kings are expected to shoot plenty of shots from deep this season under new head coach Luke Walton. Even as the big man down low, Dedmon will be called upon to let it fly from long distance. 

“I like to get up and down the floor and shoot 3s,” Dedmon said to The Bee. “It’s definitely something I look forward to. That fast pace, getting up and down the floor, running, catching lobs, shooting some 3s, it’s going to be fun.”