Last season, after years of losing, the Kings finally returned to the playoffs. Now, it is time to take the next step, to go from simply making the postseason to winning in it. For that, the Kings need to make some moves.
De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis are stars, Keegan Murray is growing into a real two-way threat, and Malik Monk is one of the best scorers and playmakers off the bench in the entire league. The team as a whole is not equipped to take that next step, however.
They need defense and bench players who can have a continuous impact. Right now, the Kings are eighteenth in defensive rating, and the only bench players Mike Brown trusts completely are Monk and Trey Lyles.
The Kings have been linked to Pascal Siakam, Zach LaVine, and Kyle Kuzma over the past few weeks, expected to make a big splash. The Siakam talks have apparently halted, however, and LaVine is not the answer to the Kings’ issues.
Not too many big names who fit the Kings’ needs are out there, and if no deal becomes available by the trade deadline, they should focus on adding depth and helpful role players.
So, let’s look at four non-star trade targets that could help the Kings.
4. Alex Caruso
The Kings currently have two ball handlers who play heavy minutes: Fox and Monk. The other two guards who have played the backup point guard this season are Keon Ellis and Davion Mitchell—a two-way player and a former lottery pick glued to the bench.
Sabonis takes over a lot of the playmaking responsibilities, making this a smaller problem than it seems. Injuries to Fox or Monk could easily make it a bigger issue, however.
Alex Caruso is exactly the kind of backup guard the Kings could use. A great defender, currently averaging 9.8 points, shooting over 40 percent from three, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.3 steals.
He is on a team-friendly contract, however, and can play with pretty much anyone so the Bulls might be reluctant to give him up. They are trying to retool rather than rebuild after all. It would definitely still be worth a try though.