NBA Summer League is a time of potential for multiple reasons. For one, the league's youngest stars are getting a chance to showcase their skills and show what they could one day become.
And it's also a time when a number of the NBA's power brokers and decision makers are all in the same place at one time, and talks about moves could start to heat up in a hurry.
That's exactly what Sacramento Bee beat reporter Jason Anderson is hearing about the Kings' front office as Sacramento general manager Monte McNair looks to make an impact move before the 2021-22 season begins.
Anderson reported in a new story Monday that the Kings' timeline for a splash move to try and bring in a big name to return to the postseason might be moving up, and Summer League could expedite some sort of deal, with a big Sixers name in the middle of the fray:
"Multiple sources tell The Sacramento Bee the Kings have shown interest in both Ben Simmons and Pascal Siakam, the two most prominent names linked to Sacramento since the trade and free agency frenzy began. Some remain skeptical the Kings can pull off that kind of deal, but McNair wants to make an impact move as pressure to win begins to build within the organization 11 months after he was hired, sources said.
"Talks could pick up this week with all 30 teams convening in Las Vegas, where the Kings will play the Charlotte Hornets in their summer league opener at 3 p.m. Monday at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center. Outside the organization, there is a perception that Sacramento’s new front office is already “feeling the heat” from Kings owner Vivek Ranadive."
Things have sort of simmered down after NBA free agency opened and the Tokyo Olympics wound down, but it sounds like Summer League could be a perfect time to rekindle that buzzy spark.
The Kings have been tied to the Summer of Simmons multiple times in the past, including talk of what both sides would be willing to give up in a Simmons-to-Sacramento trade. Last month, here's where Anderson reported things stood between the two teams:
"One league source recently told The Sacramento Bee the Kings would have to send a minimum of three first-round picks to the 76ers in a trade constructed around Hield and Bagley. Another source said the 76ers wouldn’t be interested unless Fox or Haliburton were included in the trade, but Hield’s elite 3-point shooting and Bagley’s unrealized potential could be appealing if a better deal doesn’t materialize."
In a theoretical Simmons trade with the Kings, the draft pick return would be crucial if the players Sacramento gives up are Hield and Bagley, because those guys aren't putting this Sixers team any closer to a title. Haliburton also doesn't move the needle much for this upcoming season, but he at least has a high ceiling long term after an impressive rookie season last year.
Draft picks are cool and good when you're building for three years from now, but the Sixers were the No. 1 seed last year and Joel Embiid is currently an MVP-level talent. Morey's goal should be to recoup an All-Star for Simmons, and the Kings' offers likely won't cut it if they're not including DeAaron Fox - and it sounds like they aren't.
Overall, the Kings aren't the most enticing option for a Simmons trade, but if Damian Lillard doesn't make a trade request at some point, the options will sort of whittle down as the season approaches. I'd rather take Simmons into the regular season than make a deal for below-market value on Simmons. He's a great regular season player, and perhaps President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey could parlay a strong October and November into a deal more befitting a player of Simmons' stature.
But if talks heat up with the Kings at Summer League, perhaps that drives other potential Simmons suitors to up their offers to remain competitive. We'll see what plays out.