Following the calm trade deadline the Sacramento Kings had, many expected them to at least be engaged in the NBA buyout market. Rumors have been scarce regarding the Kings having interest in anyone so far but that doesn’t mean they’re not keeping tabs on their options.
The big names are signing first and many of them are naturally going to big-time contenders like the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers or Miami Heat. The Kings are in that second group that could add a piece that makes them that much more dangerous when the playoffs roll around.
We’ve discussed options they should be considering for center depth but that isn’t the only position they could target on the open market. Everyone knows the Kings desperately need defensive reinforcements and that could be in the form of a perimeter defender just as easily as it could be a shot-blocking backup big man.
Perfect Kings addition remains unsigned after being waived
It has been nearly two weeks since the San Antonio Spurs waived wing Stanley Johnson. Johnson has not been signed yet and remains free to sign with any team that he agrees to terms with (except the Los Angeles Lakers, who can not bring him back this season).
The Sacramento Kings could simply be feeling the rest of the market out before making a decision. They really don’t need to, though, as Johnson is the perfect player to bring in for the stretch run this season.
Johnson doesn’t necessarily have to be a part of the nightly rotation. He can come in and give 15-20 minutes of top-notch defense when needed. That would be a huge tool for Mike Brown against players such as Kawhi Leonard, Luka Doncic, LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
He is a specialist that has grown to understand what his role is in the league. If signed, Johnson would instantly boost the Kings defensive capabilities and it wouldn’t be shocking if he carved out a role in the rotation each and every night.
After proving he can be a helpful role player last year with the Lakers, Johnson wound up in San Antonio this season up until his release. He played in 30 games for the Spurs and averaged 15.7 minutes per contest in those games.
While Johnson inevitably brought his stellar defense that would be a huge asset to the Kings, he also showed a shooting touch like he hadn’t been able to display so far in his NBA career. That would have the potential to be an added bonus.
He shot 45.0 percent from deep for the Spurs on a pretty small sample size. In addition to his great defense and general effort on that end of the court, Johnson rebounded the ball well and kept it moving on the offensive end. Despite playing far fewer minutes than he has in previous seasons, Johnson was averaging a career-best 2.2 assists per game this season.
If the Kings want to improve their defense for the stretch run they need to realize the perfect defensive upgrade is sitting in front of them unsigned. It’s unlikely a better defensive addition becomes available at the wing spot, so Sacramento should capitalize on Johnson being unsigned right now.