We all know Kings General Manager Pete D’Alessandro is absurdly aggressive—he’s managed to pull two deals off so far this season with little difficulty and without loss of long-term talent. Even after snagging Derrick Williams away from Minnesota and Rudy Gay away from Toronto, there is little chance D’Alessandro isn’t working the phones like crazy trying to beat Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
What do the Kings need? Pretty much any talent is welcome, but a backup point guard and a true fit at power forward would seem to be the top needs.
So to help Pete out, here are a few semi-realistic deals he could try throwing out to other teams in the next week.
Fair warning - all the deals below have Jimmer Fredette listed in them. Fredette is the lone King who isn’t part of the long-term plan but who could also be slightly desirable on the open market, so this shouldn’t be a surprise. It has less to do with Fredette’s play than it does to do with simple trade logic.
(All deals tested out on ESPN’s Trade Machine – if something doesn’t actually work, I plead ignorance.)
Will it Happen?: The Kings have been linked to Andre Miller for months and were called “the front runner” for his services by Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. With the Kings needing a backup PG and the Nuggets eager to trade their backup PG, this deal makes too much sense.
Why the Nuggets Would Make this Trade: The Nuggets need to trade Miller, who has zero interest in returning to the team that banished him in late December.
Why the Kings Would Make this Trade: Miller gives the Kings a REAL backup point guard – not a shooting guard in a point guards’ body (Fredette) or an inexperienced rookie (Ray McCallum). Miller is tall enough he could play shooting guard, and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Coach Malone start him with Isaiah Thomas (although defensively, that would be a concern).
Will It Happen?: Probably not. The Clippers may be looking to trade Dudley, and while this deal gives them another stretch shooter in Fredette, they could get more for Dudley.
Why the Clippers Would Make this Trade: Even if the Clippers could get more for Dudley, they could also do worse than an expiring young shooter and a smaller, manageable contract in Outlaw.
Why the Kings Would Make this Trade: Neither Fredette nor Outlaw are long-term fits in Sacramento, but Dudley—a do everything veteran with proven leadership experience—could be a wonderful addition to the Kings lockerroom. Jamison is a throw-in with a one year, veteran minimum deal.
Will It Happen?: Probably not. You can easily make the case for both teams to say no to this deal, but it has basic merits. Afflalo is an All-Star player on an exceptionally nice contract, but Orlando wants to tank and McLemore offers another excellent young piece. The Kings want to win now, but who knows if they’d give up on McLemore this early (even if they get back an All-Star level player in return).
Why the Magic Would Make this Trade: Afflalo (19.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 46.3% shooting) is playing fantastic this season, but the Magic are still in full-rebuild mode and this deal gets them a high potential rookie and the chance to tank even harder. Jason Thompson is a step up from Jason Maxiell, even if Thompson’s contract is larger.
Why the Kings Would Make this Trade: It would be the second time in two years the Kings traded a high-profile rookie in his first year, but the upgrade to Afflalo might be too sweet to ignore. He’s a dynamic defender and an excellent scorer, and is shooting 42.5% from three this season. The Kings would boast a terrifying lineup with Thomas, Afflalo, Gay and Cousins for the immediate future (assuming Thomas is re-signed).
Will It Happen?: Unlikely, given that the Bucks have taken Sanders off the trading block according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. Still, given Sanders’ contract (a four year, $44 million contract starting next season) and off-the-court issues (a fight in an Milwaukee night-club in October of 2013) there is always a chance the team could decide to move away from the talented-if-erratic defender.
Why the Bucks Would Make this Trade: Could the team get a better package than this for Sanders? It is possible, but Sanders’ trade value is one of the harder calls on the market to make. If they decide to trade Sanders, this wouldn’t be a terrible trade. They’d get a less talented but far less problematic big man in Thompson—and one who isn’t burdened with such an exceptionally dangerous contract. They get $5 million in expiring contracts in Fredette and Gray, and get a shot at trying Fredette out before he enters free agency
Why the Kings Would Make this Trade: Sanders is the perfect defensive complement to DeMarcus Cousins—a high energy shot-blocker who averaged a league-high 2.8 when healthy last year, along with 10 points and nine rebounds.
The attitude problems are a concern, especially when pairing with an equally volatile DeMarcus Cousins. Still, the risk could be worth the reward—Mike Malone would get a true top-notch defender he craves, and he’s made huge improvements with Cousins this season. You’d have to trust he could do the same with Sanders.
While the fit on the court is fantastic, though, the contractual fit is much more concerning. The $44 million, four year deal that starts next year would KILL the Kings capspace when combined with Cousins new deal and Rudy Gay’s option. If the Kings decided to roll with this deal (or anything similar), they’d need to clear a ton of space (Marcus Thornton, anyone?…Please?) just to gain breathing room to re-sign Isaiah Thomas next summer.
Side note – Sanders’ contract is only $3 million this year, but any team acquiring him must treat it as a $9 million figure in a deal.