It's time to fire up that trade machine.
The Kings found themselves in the middle of offseason speculation again Monday when The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported, citing sources, that Sacramento is one of seven teams interested in trading for Utah Jazz star guard Donovan Mitchell.
The New York Knicks continue to be the favorite to win the Mitchell sweepstakes with Utah, but as Charania reports, the two franchises remain distant on current trade talks, opening the door for teams like the Kings to swoop in and acquire the three-time All-Star guard.
What could the Kings’ offer for Mitchell look like?
Before launching into trade package speculation, it’s important to acknowledge Utah’s recent trade history. Or rather, recent trade thievery.
Looking to move on from the Mitchell-Rudy Gobert duo after five years of postseason purgatory, the Jazz sent the elite rim protector to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for five players, including Patrick Beverley and first-round pick Walker Kessler, along with four future first-rounders and a pick swap in 2026.
That trade resulted in plenty of Brian Windhorst memes and reset the trade market for Mitchell, among other stars. It’s hard to imagine the Brooklyn Nets accepting anything less than four first-round picks for superstar Kevin Durant.
But it's worth acknowledging that the Timberwolves coughed up a large chunk of their future because they didn’t give up a piece of their current core of Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell. Minnesota also didn’t include former first-round pick Jaden McDaniels, a young player expected to play a big role next season.
For a playoff-starved team like the Kings, four future first-round picks is a price too steep. And keep in mind Sacramento unloaded a protected first-round pick to the Atlanta Hawks in its trade for Kevin Huerter. But if Sacramento was to surrender a main piece of general manager Monte McNair's current playoff recipe, it'd require significantly less draft capital.
The Kings are flushed with young talent. De'Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Davion Mitchell and Huerter are all under 24 years old. Keegan Murray, the fourth overall pick of the 2022 NBA Draft and reigning Summer League MVP, is 21. Domantas Sabonis, who the Kings acquired at the most recent trade deadline, is only 26.
Trading away Sabonis for a guard wouldn't make sense after the Kings dealt away Tyrese Haliburton in that blockbuster trade. Huerter and Monk, new arrivals to Sacramento, are great pieces to surround an elite scorer rather than stars themselves. Murray already is rewriting draft-night narratives about his perceived star potential and should be off the table.
That leaves Mitchell -- Davion Mitchell, that is -- and De'Aaron Fox.
While Mitchell showed sparks of making plays on both sides of the court in his rookie season, averages of 11.5 points, 4.2 assists and a 3-point clip of 31.6 percent isn't enough to be the centerpiece of a trade for a proven elite scorer like "Spida."
Fox it is. Now, what to add to the deal?
Donovan Mitchell is more accomplished than Dejounte Murray, but it's notable the San Antonio Spurs acquired two unprotected first-round picks, a 2023 top-16 protected pick, the right to swap 2026 first-rounders and Danilo Gallinari (who they later waived) from the Atlanta Hawks for the 25-year-old guard.
The Kings could follow the Hawks' path and tack on two unprotected first-round picks and a future pick swap to the offer around Fox.
Who says no?
Sacramento would lose the Fox-and-the-Ox combination but gain a better scorer in Mitchell while not taking too big of a hit defensively, as Fox isn't known for that side of the court either.
Donovan along with Davion, Monk and Huerter in the backcourt with Sabonis and Murray in the frontcourt shapes up to be an incredibly entertaining roster.
The return wouldn't be ... quite what the Jazz received for Gobert, but that trade is more of an outlier. Fox is a borderline All-Star talent at guard, and the Jazz would have gained six first-round picks and two pick swaps in the near future with the Gobert trade and this hypothetical offer for Mitchell. That's plenty to usher in the new era of basketball in Salt Lake City.
Trading away Fox, a staple of the Kings franchise since he was drafted with the No. 5 overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, would be a shocking move. But McNair has shown he is not afraid of shaking things up, and this trade would make the Kings' current roster better.