When De’Aaron Fox plays, the Sacramento Kings are good. If last season was not enough proof, the Kings are 6-1 in games this season where Fox has played and are +13.7 points per 100 possessions when he is on the court this season.
Even then, the Kings likely are a player away from really being a threat in the West — and they are going to be aggressive to get that player at the deadline, The Athletic’s Shams Charania said on Fanduel’s Run it Back. That’s when Lou Williams instantly shot down the idea of Sacramento as a destination.
“This is the first time in a really long time — maybe when Chris Webber was with the Kings — that you can look at the Kings as a trade destination. They’re going to be involved in every star player: Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, maybe Zach Lavine. Whatever stars become available because [Kings’ general manager] Monte McNair, that organization, they’ve done a good job at keeping their assets. They have tradeable contracts. So they’re going to be a player for stars coming up for sure.”
“You ever been to Sacramento, Shams?… Great basketball environment, but nobody’s going to go.”
That’s funny but a little unfair to Sacramento, a city with — for my money — the best new arena in the league, plus the downtown is a lot more vibrant than it was 10-15 years ago.
Williams is not wrong about the feelings of players, however, the Kings likely would have to overpay to get a top free agent. It’s not viewed as a destination. Wining helps change that, Fox and Domantas Sabonis help change that, but the perception exists.
That’s not what Shams is talking about, however, he’s talking about a trade. Trade for LaVine and he has three seasons after this one left on his contract. Things are trickier with Siakam (unrestricted free agent after this season) or Anunoby, who has a player option for next season that is below market and he will decline, either of them would need to be re-signed and could bolt as free agents. However, depending on who comes available closer to the trade deadline, the Kings could be in the mix for any of them.
Sacramento can make a trade and bet that once a player gets there and experiences the vibe around the team, they will want to stay.
It just has to be the right swing (and that may not be LaVine on a team that needs defense). The Kings are not going to get multiple hacks at this.