SACRAMENTO -- Anthony Davis reportedly is set to become a Laker. Mike Conley Jr. reportedly will be traded to the Utah Jazz. The NBA isn’t messing around, and we haven’t even reached the 2019 NBA Draft.
It’s hard to tell what is real and what isn’t, especially with the substantial transactions that have already taken place.
Wednesday afternoon brought more scuttlebutt, which the Sacramento Kings should investigate fully. Sports Illustrated's Jake Fischer reported Wednesday that Thunder center Steven Adams is available in trade talks.
Oklahoma City has increased its efforts this afternoon to shed salary along with the No. 21 pick en route to dodging luxury tax, league sources say. Steven Adams, Andre Roberson, Dennis Schroeder all very available at the moment.— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) June 19, 2019
Rumors make the basketball world go round, and this is a good one. The Kings have yet to be mentioned as a potential trade partner with the Thunder, but this is worth more than a cursory phone call.
Steven Adams is a beast of a man and instantly climbs to the top of almost every list when it comes to available centers. The fact that OKC might be willing to throw in the 21st pick in a deal to save luxury tax dollars adds to the intrigue.
At 25 years old, Adams not only fits the age arc of the Kings, he would instantly sure up almost every one of their deficiencies on the front line.
A rebounder and defensive presence, Sacramento could slide the 7-footer next to Marvin Bagley and never look back.
Strapped with a $147 million payroll for this season, OKC is potentially on the hook for a $50 million luxury tax bill. By dealing away Adams, the Thunder could save upwards of $75 million between his $25.8 million salary and the tax penalty.
Whether or not Thunder general manager Sam Presti has been asked to cut the team’s tax bill or not is unknown, but dealing away Adams would clear up almost all of the team’s financial woes.
Adams posted 13.9 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and a block in 33.4 minutes per game last season. He’s one of the better offensive rebounders in the game and his defensive rebounding totals are likely to improve without Russell Westbrook roaming the painted area.
He also brings a toughness and maturity that would help the Kings’ younger players both on and off the court.
The Kings plan to be aggressive this summer, whether it’s on draft night or when free agency opens June 30. Their primary focus has been to improve the center position.
With Harrison Barnes’ decision to opt out of the final year of his contract on Tuesday, the team has upwards of $60 million to make improvements, although the Kings are confident they will retain the veteran forward with a new long-term contract.
If Adams is indeed available, the Kings need to jump in line and start shoving other teams out of the way. He would instantly improve the roster and give Sacramento another building block to work with.