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The Sacramento Kings extended their playoff drought to 15 years this past season, tying the record for longest playoff drought in NBA history. Following another season of disappointment, changes are coming in Sacramento.
Under general manager Monte McNair, the Kings have made a series of good and bad moves in recent months. Sacramento lost out on a Bogdan Bogdanovic sign-and-trade, allowing him to leave in free agency for nothing. But McNair also made a few good moves, drafting Tyrese Haliburton and acquire Delon Wright before the NBA trade deadline.
Coming off their second consecutive season with a 31-41 record, McNair surprised many by retaining head coach Luke Walton for a third season. Originally hired by Vlade Divac, Walton holds a 62-82 record in Sacramento and is responsible for one of the worst defenses in NBA history.
Heading into the 2021 NBA offseason, let’s examine the latest Sacramento Kings rumors, potential trade ideas and where things stand for the organization.
Sacramento Kings rumors: Kings interested in Pascal Siakam trade
During an appearance on the Deuce & Mo Podcast, The Athletic’s Sam Amick mentioned Sacramento expressed significant interest to the Toronto Raptors in acquiring power forward Pascal Siakam.
The All-Star forward became the subject of NBA trade rumors this offseason with Toronto exploring ways to shake up its roster before the 2021-’22 season. With the draft in the rearview mirror, a trade might seem more unlikely. But the Raptors added Scottie Barnes and Precious Achiuwa to the roster. If the Kings want any shot at landing Siakam, a deal would likely require multiple first-round picks, Marvin Bagley and a third team sending pieces to Toronto and acquiring Buddy Hield.
Richaun Holmes re-signs with Kings
When the Kings started listening to offers for Richaun Holmes at the NBA trade deadline, many assumed the impending free-agent center wouldn’t be back next season. As the top center on the free-agent market, in a summer that saw Nerlens Noel land a huge deal, Holmes leaving Sacramento felt inevitable.
On Monday night, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Holmes is returning to the Kings on a four-year, $55 million contract. The 27-year-old center made his return official on Twitter. As part of the new deal, there is a player option and a trade kicker.
- Richaun Holmes stats (2020-’21): 14.2 ponts, 8.3 rebounds, 1.6 blocks per game, 130 Offensive Rating
The $13.75 million average annual salary ranks 11th amongst the highest-paid centers in the NBA. Coming off a season that saw Holmes set career-highs across the board, it’s very significant that he is returning.
After signing Alex Len, it’s uncertain if the Kings’ trade sending guard Delon Wright to the Atlanta Hawks will be finalized.
What happened to the Buddy Hield trade?
When Montrezl Harrell opted into the $9.7 million option on his contract, many assumed a trade was imminent. In fact, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers were moving towards a deal. Suddenly, it all fell apart.
It wasn’t just NBA fans who assumed Hield was headed to Los Angeles. The Athletic’s Jason Jones reported the players involved in the rumored transaction, including Harrell, Hield and Kyle Kuzma, believed a trade was imminent. Suddenly, Los Angeles used those same pieces to acquire Russell Westbrook.
The Lakers still want Hield but a Dennis Schroder S&T is their only option and Sacramento wants no part of it. So, barring a surprise fourth team getting involved to send pieces to the Kings, Hield will continue floating in NBA trade rumors.
Latest on Richaun Holmes
The Sacramento Kings would love to re-sign center Richaun Holmes, but understand he is largely viewed as the best free-agent center on the market this offseason. Teams like the Dallas Mavericks, Toronto Raptors and Charlotte Hornets are all expected to pursue him this summer.
But, per NBA insider Marc Stein, the expectation is that Holmes re-signs with Sacramento. On top of that recent report, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said there’s a lot of buzz about Holmes returning to the Kings. The franchise is executed to be over the cap this season and paying Holmes will be difficult, given his contract might cost $14-plus million annually. But based on other Sacramento Kings rumors, this seems increasingly likely to happen.
Multiple teams interested in Marvin Bagley, Harrison Barnes trades
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, both Marvin Bagley and Harrison Barnes are generating interest across the league. Barnes is easily the more coveted player, especially among NBA contenders, but there seems to be a market for Bagley.
Wojnarowski believes that Bagley will be moved this summer as the Kings are ready to move on from the former No. 2 pick. Sacramento will likely move Bagley first, but there’s also a possibility of a Buddy Hield trade.
Of course, as previous Kings rumors indicated, Sacramento is looking to acquire talent that can help it compete for the playoffs next season. So, while it holds the No. 9 pick and wants to build around Fox and Haliburton, adding veteran talent is important to the front office.
Lakers discussed Kyle Kuzma for Buddy Hield trade with Sacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings are busy before the 2021 NBA Draft, exploring a variety of options to change the roster. Unsurprisingly, Buddy Hield is a strong candidate to be traded. NBA insider Shams Charania reported the Kings have discussed a swap of Hield for Kyle Kuzma. Due to the contract disparity, Los Angeles would likely need to include Kentavious Caldwel-Pope or Montrezl Harrell
De’Aaron Fox required for Ben Simmons trade?
The moment NBA rumors spread that the Philadelphia 76ers could trade Ben Simmons, the Sacramento Kings were mentioned as a potential landing spot. Unsurprisingly, general manager Monte McNair reached out and reports indicate an effort was made to acquire the All-Star defender. But a trade now seems unlikely.
According to Philly Voice’s Kyle Neubeck, the 76ers are uninterested in deals centered around draft picks and role players. As one source detailed, Philadelphia wouldn’t even entertain an offer from the Kings unless it involved De’Aaron Fox and that would just be the starting point.
Given Fox is a foundational piece for the Kings and they just signed him to a lucrative contract, it’s a non-starter for Sacramento. The front office likes its pairing of Fox and Tyrese Haliburton, making it a priority this summer to build around the two guards. If Simmons is off the table, the Kings may turn their focus to Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner.
Ben Simmons trade a possibility?
We mentioned among potential trade targets that Ben Simmons made a lot of sense for Sacramento. Sure enough, per NBA insider Marc Stein, the Kings are among the teams interested in acquiring the premium defender. The Sacramento Bee’s Jason Anderson dove into the Kings’ perspective further.
It’s no surprise that Sacramento would be willing to package Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley III and multiple first-round picks in a deal. While Simmons is flawed, he is still one of the best players in the NBA. He could play the wing for the Kings, providing elite defense and serving as the caliber of stopper this team hasn’t seen take the court in a decade-plus.
Unsurprisingly, the 76ers are setting their sights much higher. Philadelphia wants another All-Star player back in exchange for Simmons, ideally hoping for Damian Lillard. If the Sacramento Kings want to have any shot at a deal, it may take a three-team trade.
Summer blockbuster trade possible?
The Kings fell just short of winning the NBA Draft lottery, leaving Monte McNair with a huge decision at the No. 9 overall pick. There are some intriguing options who could be available, but a team that hasn’t made the NBA Playoffs in 15 years needs players who can make a difference now.
The Athletic’s Jason Jones, who covers the team, and NBA insider Zach Lowe have wrote about the possibility of a trade. Sacramento could package future first-round picks along with Buddy Hield or Marvin Bagley to acquire a forward or center who would give this team an edge.
There are a few intriguing trade targets for the Kings, which we dive into below. Ultimately, it will all depend on how aggressive McNair is and how rival GMs value Sacramento’s trade assets.
Latest on Marvin Bagley
Marvin Bagley caused a stir in Sacramento on social media. He liked a tweet suggesting he be traded this offseason and removed any mention of the Kings from his Instagram and Twitter. It’s just the latest development in a saga between the two sides.
The Kings aren’t afraid to move Bagley, the former No. 2 overall pick. In fact, per The Athletic’s Jason Jones, they shopped him around the league before the NBA trade deadline. Unfortunately for Sacramento, Bagley’s poor play, durability issues and maturity concerns have greatly diminished his value. One NBA executive told The Athletic he wouldn’t move more than a pair of second-round picks for Bagley.
This is the problem for the Kings. Monte McNair has zero attachment to Bagley and would probably love to move him for a player who better fits the team culture. But it seems unlikely for that to happen. Ultimately, the likeliest scenario is Bagley being the sweetener in a trade that also includes the Kings’ first-round pick.
The future of Marvin Bagley III in Sacramento
Sacramento will never live down drafting Marvin Bagley III over Luka Doncic, even if it’s just another chapter in a long history of the organization’s dysfunction. Needless to say, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft hasn’t come close to expectations.
Injuries have been an issue for the 6-foot-11 forward. Through his first three NBA season, he has only appeared in 118 games and just 52 of those were starts. He has shown flashes of being a quality player in Sacramento, but those moments are short-lived.
- Marvin Bagley III career stats (2018-’21): 14.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 50% from the field, 66.3% from the free-throw line
Bagley III missed time with groin, hand, calf and wrist injuries this past season. Prior to that. He fractured his left hand in March, which sidelined him for multiple weeks. He also suffered a season-ending foot injury during the 2020-’21 NBA season.
Durability isn’t the only problem. Bagley’s father has been vocal on Twitter about the Kings being responsible for his son’s struggles, even calling for a trade. Bagley has been a major liability defensively when on the court and growing frustrations led to him being on the trade block this season.
McNair didn’t draft Bagley, so there is less blame on his shoulders if a trade happens. But moving the former Duke starter at this point would be the ultimate sell low. With that said, both sides are likely better off with a separation.
Sacramento Kings trade and free-agent targets: Examining best options to improve roster
The Kings owe Buddy Hield ($22.47 million), Harrison Barnes ($20.28 million) and De’Aaron Fox ($28.1 million) a combined $70 million next year. Factoring in Wright ($8.52 million) and Haliburton ($4.02 million), that’s a significant portion of the NBA salary cap.
As a result, the Kings options in NBA free agency will be extremely limited for a team that already struggles to attract players without overpaying. So, trades are the best way to acquire talent.
Kristaps Porzingis to Sacramento Kings?
Kristaps Porzingis isn’t happy with his role and the Dallas Mavericks are amid organizational chaos. Whenever Mark Cuban settles things down with a new coach and general manager, the next priority might be a Porzingis trade. If that happens, Sacramento could put in a call.
- Sacramento Kings trade: Marvin Bagley, Buddy Hield, 2022 second-round pick (Chicago Bulls)
- Dallas Mavericks trade: Kristaps Porzingis
In this deal, the Mavericks buy low on Bagley with the hope that he thrives in a change of scenery. Hield, while a liability on the defensive end, is one of the NBA’s best 3-point specialists. Putting a shooter like that around Luka Doncic could make a difference in the playoffs.
As for Sacramento, this brings in a star. Porzingis is no longer the player that brought him to fame in New York, but he can still be a quality starter. He’d be a significant upgrade over Bagley. While he has clashed with Doncic, Porzingis would likely be better for the Kings’ locker room than Bagley and Hield.
Should the Sacramento Kings pursue Ben Simmons?
Ben Simmons is coming off one of the worst playoff performances in NBA history. In a seven-game series, he attempted just three shots in the fourth quarter and never even tried in the final four games. He is the reason the 76ers lost and a trade feels inevitable this offseason.
Simmons’s trade value is at an all-time low, so this won’t be a situation where Philadelphia can get a top star for him. Teams must also take his max contract into consideration, with the 6-foot-11 guard entering the second year of a five-year, $177 million extension.
There might be an opportunity here for the Kings. In terms of shooting, pairing Simmons and De’Aaron Fox together isn’t the perfect match, but Simmons’ skills fit what the Kings need. He can play forward for the Kings, utilizing his elite defensive ability to improve Sacramento’s greatest weakness.
It’s hard to gauge exactly what a Ben Simmons trade would cost the Kings. But statements made by McNair in the past hint that Simmons might be the kind of star he would try and buy low on. Plus, he has a strong relationship with 76ers president Daryl Morey.
Sacramento Kings offseason moves
- Drafted guard Davion Mitchell with 9th overall pick
- Drafted center Neemias Queta with 39th pick
- Signed center Alex Len to two-year, $7.65 million contract
- Re-signed forward Moe Harkless to two-year, $9 million contract
- Re-signed center Richaun Holmes to four-year, $55 million contract
- Hired Doug Christie as assistant coach
- Re-signed guard Terence Davis to two-year contract
Sacramento Kings roster for 2021-’22 season
- PG: De’Aaron Fox/Davion Mitchell/Terence Davis
- SG: Buddy Hield/Tyrese Haliburton/Jahmi’us Ramsey
- SF: Harrison Barnes/Moe Harkless
- PF: Marvin Bagley/Chimezie Metu/Robert Woodward
- C: Richaun Holmes/Alex Len/Neemias Queta