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Sacramento Kings unlikely to trade De’Aaron Fox, want to build around star guard

Vincent Frank

Former No. 5 overall pick De’Aaron Fox has been a pretty good all-around performer for the Sacramento Kings since he entered the NBA back in 2017.

Despite this, rumors continue to point in the direction of Sacramento’s embattled brass potentially looking to move off Fox in a trade.

It doesn’t make any sense. In the midst of a rebuild, why would a team trade one of its most-talented players who just turned 24 in December?

The backdrop here is reported interest by Sacramento’s brass in a trade for Philadelphia 76ers star guard Ben Simmons and Indiana Pacers All-Star big man Domantas Sabonis.

Now, comes this report from Shams Charania of The Athletic indicating that the Kings have told Fox’s representation that they don’t plan on trading the guard and want to build around him.

“The Kings have informed Fox and his representation, agent Chris Gaston of Family First Sports, that they do not want to trade him and want to center the team around him and Haliburton,” Charania reported.

This always seemed to be the best play for Sacramento. Tyrese Haliburton and Fox are two players they can build around moving forward as the team looks to eventually make its first playoff appearance since all the way back in 2005-06.

Related: Updated NBA trade rumors leading up to February 10 deadline

De’Aaron Fox as a building block for the Sacramento Kings

de'aaron fox, sacramento kings
Jan 5, 2022; Sacramento, California, USA; Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox (5) questions the referee during the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Hawks at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kings general manager Monte McNair thought enough of Fox to sign him to a five-year, $163 million rookie-level max deal less than 18 months ago. What could have possibly changed between then and now? If Charania’s report is true, nothing.

As for what brought all of this up, recent reports suggested that the Indiana Pacers were looking to move the aforementioned Sabonis for a package including Fox. Hence, why the Kings’ brass had to respond publicly through channels.

  • De’Aaron Fox stats (2020-21): 25.2 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 7.2 APG, 1.5 SPG, 48% shooting, 32% three-point
  • De’Aaron Fox stats (2021-22): 209 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 5.1 APG, 1.2 SPG, 46% shooting, 25% three-point

As you can see, Fox’s numbers are down pretty much clear across the board this season. In no way does that mean he’s regressed in the truest sense of the word.

Sacramento made the surprising decision to use a lottery pick on fellow guard Davion Mitchell in the 2021 NBA Draft. It still has Buddy Hield on the roster to go with both Fox and Haliburton. We’re talking about one crowded backcourt and a roster that’s completely uneven.

Following the firing of head coach Luke Walton earlier in the season, Sacramento currently finds itself at 18-28 and as the 11th seed in the Western Conference. As of right now, it wouldn’t even take part in the play-in tournament.

Perhaps, the problem isn’t Fox or any of the players on the team. It could be all about McNair and the organization’s front office.