1. Chris Webber
As if it could be anyone else, Chris Webber is the top acquisition in the history of the Sacramento Kings.
Before Webber, the Kings had made the playoffs just twice since they made the move from Kansas City. Despite rostering some exciting players, such as Reggie Theis and Mitch Richmond, the Kings could manage to translate that into postseason, or even regular season, success. All of this failure, combined with Richmond’s age and desire to play for a contender, led to the Kings trading away their six-time All-Star for a former #1 pick who, while undeniably talented, had already worn out his welcome with two teams.
After constantly clashing with Golden State Warriors head coach Don Nelson in his rookie season, Webber was traded away to the Washington then-Bullets for Tom Gugliotta and three first-round picks. He would spend three seasons in Washington but would again wear out his welcome.
The Wizards felt they had a maturity issue on their hands and would be better off with a more veteran presence in the locker room, hence the decision to acquire Mitch Richmond. That decision, in hindsight, did not pan out for Washington, but the results were wondrous for Sacramento.
Though Webber did not initially wish to become a King, neither he nor the league knew what was about to transpire in Sacramento. In perhaps the greatest offseason in franchise history, the Kings not only acquired Webber but center Vlade Divac who was obtained via free agency, Jason “White Chocolate” Williams, acquired in the 1998 NBA Draft, and sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic, who was the 14th selection in the 2016 NBA draft but would finally be coming over from after two seasons in Greece.
Together, this group, which would eventually add Doug Christie and swap out Williams for Mike Bibby, would bring forward one of the most competitive eras in Sacramento Kings’ history, with Chris Webber doing much of the heavy lifting.
In 377 games with the Kings, Webber averaged 23.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game. He would make four All-Star teams in that time and would usher in an era of perennial playoff appearances.
There was much risk in trading for a player as controversial as Webber, especially when it involved trading away a six-time All-Star, but there is no doubt that the Kings made the right move, and their reward was even sweeter.