All season long, the Sacramento Kings were mentioned in pretty much every trade rumor out there. Most of us understandably expected the Kings to make a move before the trade deadline.
It didn’t have to be a big swing for a star—no one was really available anyway—but some moves to upgrade the bench would have been nice. One or two defensive-minded players who can come in and make life difficult for opposing players who are scoring a little too much for comfort could have been a real game-changer.
The Kings have plenty of issues this season. They are inconsistent, they lose against bad teams, and their bench has been largely unreliable beyond Malik Monk and Trey Lyles, but their biggest weakness is still defense.
There just aren’t enough capable defenders on this team who play meaningful minutes, and yesterday would have been the day to change that. Instead, the Kings didn’t make any meaningful moves.
So, let’s look at four just-traded players the Kings should have snagged themselves.
4. Royce O’Neale
This is an easy one. The Kings were rumored to be one of the teams interested in Royce O’Neale, and he would have been a good fit.
His three-point shooting is down this season, but he has been solid for most of his career, so that might just fix itself. Most importantly, however, O’Neale is a solid defender who could help out Keegan Murray on the wing.
The Kings don’t have any great wing defenders coming off the bench, so adding one would have been a great move. Obviously, the front office was hoping to get a defensive-minded starter, like Mikal Bridges or Jerami Grant, to replace Barnes, but that option just did not exist. Getting a solid defender to boost the bench unit would have been the next best thing.
O’Neale landed in Phoenix, however, as part of a three-team deal that sent him and David Rowdy to the Suns. The Nets received Keita Bates-Drop, Jordan Goodwin, and three second-round picks while the Grizzlies got Yuta Watanabe, Chimezie Metu, and a pick swap.
Getting O’Neale in this deal was a great move for the Suns and would have been for the Kings as well.