While King fans were still riding the emotional high of drafting Kansas’ Thomas Robinson less than an hour before, a reality quickly set in – the Kings were back to their old ways. Instead of bringing in additional talent, Sacramento opted to trade the 36th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft to the Indiana Pacers who took UC Santa Barbara’s Orlando Johnson. The Kings’ return? Nothing but greenbacks.
You could hear the moans and groans from all over the Kingdom – the move had the Maloof fingerprints all over it. Here we go again – the penny pinching ways had returned, leaving potential talent on the board all to save a few bucks. And really, at the time, who could blame King fans for being upset? The roster was far from full and expecting the Kings to make a big splash in free agency seemed outlandish. It appeared to be the same thing we’d seen over and over again for the past half decade.
But how a couple million in new contracts and a few weeks of time can change things.
Let’s be honest, selling off a second round pick isn’t the worst thing in the world and the chances of finding any serviceable, rotation-able player in the second round is a complete crap shoot. Hell, more likely than not you’ll end up with a project who struggles for minutes and that’s the last thing this current core needs. As much as we’d love it, the odds of finding another Isaiah Thomas are about as good Publisher’s Clearing House showing up on your doorstep.
The move freed up some money that the Kings didn’t want to spend on an end of the bench talent, money that was helpful in the acquisitions of free agent Aaron Brooks and James Johnson, who was acquired from the Toronto Raptors for *eerie music*….a second round pick.
Sacramento didn’t get a (no pun intended) king’s ransom for the pick, but money is money and as we’ve seen with the Maloofs, every penny counts. In a perfect scenario do the Kings bring in Brooks and Johnson while keeping the second round pick, eating the non-guaranteed deal of a second rounder if they aren’t happy with his performance? Sure. But as mentioned above, floor time would’ve been rare for the project player, it saved the ownership a bit of money which helped contribute to their offseason acquisitions and it gives the Kings an open roster spot, which they can fill via a free agent or trade.
It wasn’t a great trade but it wasn’t bad either. In fact, you might call it just a bit above average.