After a long stretch of losing, the Sacramento Kings finally seem ready to be real contenders in the West. An undersized and weak defensive team, they are expected to make some noise on the trade market and bring in a player or two to push them to the next level.
They have assets and players they are apparently willing to package in a deal, but there are some limitations to who can be traded when. Most obviously, there is the trade deadline in February by which decisions have to be finalized.
Around two months before that, we cross the December 15 deadline, however. That date marks the time when pretty much all players who were signed as free agents over the summer become trade-eligible.
Across the league, 80 players will be trade-eligible on December 15.
Kings could trade Alex Len and JaVale McGee after December 15
The only two Kings affected by this rule are the two backup bigs, Alex Len and JaVale McGee.
Len hit free agency over the summer after playing 26 games with the Kings in 2022-23 and re-signed with the team on a one-year veteran minimum deal. McGee, on the other hand, came off a disappointing season with the Dallas Mavericks and was bought out.
The Kings brought him in on the same contract as Len, assuring that they have two backup bigs who can protect the rim and run pick-and-rolls with Malik Monk in the second unit.
Neither one of them has played much so far. To start the season, Len was not in the rotation but then took McGee’s spot right before twisting his ankle. His injury put McGee back in the mix. Since Trey Lyles has returned from injury, he has gotten a lot of minutes as a small-ball backup five, however.
Neither Len nor McGee is irreplaceable for the Kings, so if a big deal to bring in the missing piece requires one of them to be involved in it, one of them could very well be on the move.
We should not expect both of them to be traded, however, and there is really no saying who would be moved in that case. Mike Brown obviously likes McGee’s championship experience, and he has great chemistry with Monk off the bench, but Len played well before his injury and always stays ready for when his number is called.