Trade season is one of the most exciting stretches in the NBA, and another key date is coming up. On December 15, 80 players across the league became trade-eligible, including the Kings’ backup bigs Alex Len and JaVale McGee.
A month later, on January 15, all players who now make at least 20 percent more money than before, earn more than a minimum salary and re-signed with their team, which was over the cap and used Bird or Early Bird rights for the signing, over the summer, as HoopsRumors outlines.
This applies to a total of 17 players in the NBA, including the Kings’ Trey Lyles.
Why is this date important for the Kings?
January 15 is not important for the Kings because they are looking to trade Lyles. He has been one of Sacramento’s few consistent contributors this season and is likely not going anywhere.
Some players the Kings might like to trade for will become trade-eligible as well, however, making this an important date. Cameron Johnson, Jerami Grant, Matisse Thybulle, and Kyle Kuzma are all players who could help the Kings address some of their issues.
Thybulle would be the perfect role player, providing defensive tenacity and a knack for getting steals as well as solid three-point shooting. The Kings’ supporting cast is a mess right now, and he could really help with that. Plus, getting him wouldn’t cost the Kings too much.
Johnson might be difficult to pry away from the Nets, and Grant is on a huge contract, but Kuzma could be a real difference-maker for the Kings. His size, athleticism, and scoring ability could truly help Sacramento take another step toward being a contender, especially if he is locked in and committed defensively.
It is unlikely that the Kings will be as quiet as they were at last season’s trade deadline when they only traded for Kessler Edwards. Whether it is a move, or several moves, to upgrade the supporting cast or a bigger splash, the Kings are expected to be active.
They have already made Kevin Huerter, Harrison Barnes, and Davion Mitchell available on the trade market and probably won’t be totally unwilling to part ways with Chris Duarte or Kessler Edwards either.
Once January 15 hits, the trade talks can really kick off.