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Evaluating 3 potential Sacramento Kings trade scenarios in NBA Draft

Matt Johnson
Sacramento Kings
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings found luck in the NBA Draft lottery, securing the fourth overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. In a year with an established trio of top prospects, the 4th pick could be a pivot point on draft night with plenty of possibilities.

Sacramento is in an interesting spot. Entering his contract year, general manager Monte McNair is under pressure to snap a playoff drought that is fast approaching two decades. With his job on the line, McNair might see more value in trading the No. 4 selection for an established player or moving down in the draft order for better value.

Related: Evaluating potential Sacramento Kings draft targets with fourth pick

It’s not the only possibility on draft night. The top players available in 2022 all play at positions of need for the Kings and each of them could make a significant impact this upcoming season and beyond. While the cost might be high, trading up from the fourth spot is a possibility.

Let’s dive into three draft night trade scenarios for the Sacramento Kings.

Sacramento Kings trade up for Jabari Smith Jr.

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Moving up all depends on how the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets feel about the options available. Houston already expressed a willingness to trade the 3rd pick, but it’s difficult to determine if there would be legitimate interest in sliding down one spot.

Related: NBA mock draft – Top prospects, top landing spots

One possibility is a deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder. While this would seemingly be the perfect time to add Chet Holmgren or Jabari Smith Jr. to the lineup, there’s another intriguing scenario. Shaedon Sharpe offers elite upside and Oklahoma City might like adding an explosive wing who could emerge as the best player from the 2022 NBA Draft class.

  • Sacramento Kings trade: 4th pick, 2023 1st round pick (top-5 protected), Richaun Holmes
  • Oklahoma City Thunder trade: 2nd pick

In this scenario, the Thunder receive the fourth pick along with the Kings 2023 first-round selection. It would provide them with additional capital for trades or moving up the board in future years, especially given the history of Sacramento finishing with a top-10 selection. Richaun Holmes is also a quality starter at center on an affordable contract, which could prove appealing for Oklahoma City.

As for the Kings, they land the perfect power forward to fit into their lineup. Smith Jr. can run in an up-tempo attack, matching the pace and putting his athleticism on display. He’d also provide Sacramento with an excellent shooter who can hit it from anywhere. Just as valuable, he’d provide the defensive versatility and length this team desperately needs.

Detroit Pistons move up to No. 4 for Jaden Ivey

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Trading down is far more likely for the Sacramento Kings. Keegan Murray feels like the perfect fit for this team, but there is a consensus feeling that he isn’t worth a top-four selection. Fortunately, there are going to be multiple teams interested in Jaden Ivey and that could compel Detroit to make a move.

  • Sacramento Kings receive: 5th pick, 2025 DET 1st (top-3 protected)
  • Detroit Pistons acquire: 4th pick

It’s a rather simple deal for both teams. Detroit trades its 2025 first-round pick, betting on Ivey and Cade Cunningham to have this team in the NBA playoffs by then. Putting top-three protections on it is insurance for a disaster scenario, but the Pistons view this deal as the 5th pick and a future non-lottery pick for Ivey.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Sacramento Kings, check out #Kings rumors, rankings, and news here

As for Sacramento, the equation is just as simple. It secures a future first-round pick, a valuable trade asset to shop during the season for a veteran to add to the rotation or another first-round pick in a few years. It also still gets Murray, the player who checks off all the boxes that McNair looks for.

Donovan Mitchell traded to New York Knicks, Kings keep pick

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There’s another interesting possibility for the Kings. Ivey is likely going to be the best player available when Sacramento is on the clock and he offers star-caliber traits. While a De’Aaron Fox-Ivey pairing isn’t perfect, it would be the fastest guard duo in the NBA and it could make this team a threat for the play-in tournament next year.

If Ivey is drafted by Sacramento, Donovan Mitchell becomes more expendable. There would be plenty of interest in the young guard, especially considering how he closed out his rookie season. The Knicks look like the best fit, with Mitchell’s defense a perfect fit for how Tom Thibodeau runs his team.

  • Sacramento Kings trade: Davion Mitchell, Alex Len, Justin Holiday
  • New York Knicks trade: Julius Randle, 11th overall pick, 2023 DAL 1st

In exchange for Mitchell, Sacramento addresses its need for a power forward with Julius Randle. He had a terrible 2021-’22 NBA season in New York, but there is plenty of reason to believe he is capable of doing more on the court. Keep in mind that he still averaged 20.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game.

The 11th pick would allow the Kings to draft a player like forward Jeremy Sochan, center Mark Williams or guard Dyson Daniels. Any of the three would provide Sacramento with a young player who can contribute off the bench and offers some upside. As for the Mavericks’ 2023 first-round pick, it will likely be in the 25-30 range next year and simply provides the Sacramento Kings with another trade asset.