The Sacramento Kings snapped their 16-year playoff drought in 2023 with a surprise leap from 12th to third in the Western Conference. De’Aaron Fox became an All-Star, and Domantas Sabonis took his game to new heights under head coach Mike Brown. The Kings have plenty of young talent and are poised to be in the hunt for the foreseeable future.
The front office mistakes piled up during the postseason drought. There were draft busts, failed free agent signings, and trades that never worked out. Sacramento struggled to catch a break, and fans yearned for another successful run like they had in the early 2000s.
In the NBA, teams acquire talent and never get to see them on the floor. The Kings just traded Olivier-Maxence Prosper to the Mavericks on draft night, but deals are not finalized until after the event concludes which left O-Max wearing a Sacramento hat on the stage. Franchises also reroute players in trades and deal with injuries. The Kings have had several talented players who never saw the floor.
Sacramento Kings that never played a single minute
10. Kenyon Martin Jr.
The Kings drafted the elite athlete in the second round in 2020. His father was an All-Star for the Nets in the early 2000s, but the son’s stay in Sacramento was brief. The Kings agreed to send him to Houston in a draft night trade for a future second-rounder and cash.
The oddity comes with knowing it was originally the Rockets’ selection. Houston traded it to Sacramento in 2019 as part of a three-team deal. The Kings walked away with Alec Burks, cash, and a future second-rounder for Iman Shumpert when putting the two trades together.
Martin Jr. quickly became a rotation piece for the Rockets and averaged 12.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 28.0 minutes per game last season. The 22-year-old is still improving and was traded to the Clippers this summer.
The Sacramento Kings would love to have Kenyon Martin Jr. on their roster, but it was not meant to be.