The Sacramento Kings needed a vigorous shakeup after a disastrous, baffling year capping nine straight losing seasons.
New front office lead man Vlade Divac answered the call, trading the Kings’ all-time games leader, last year’s first round pick, and removing the team’s analytics guru among other moves.
Despite missing out on prized free agents Wesley Matthews, Monta Ellis and Tobias Harris, Divac spearheaded the most active offseason in club history by adding several playoff-saavy veterans to pair with June’s lottery pick Willie Cauley-Stein. Additionally Omri Casspi was re-signed to a below-market deal following his breakout campaign.
Below is a look at player moves so far.
- Willie Cauley-Stein: Divac’s first ever draft choice should finally give DeMarcus Cousins a potential star running mate in the frontcourt. Cauley-Stein is raw offensively, but the 21-year-old will be immediately asked to shore up the Kings’ interior defense and crash the boards.
- Rajon Rondo: The four-time All-Star and former Boston Celtics champion hasn’t matched his elite level of play since a January 2013 ACL injury. On a one-year deal, the 29-year-old point guard will be afforded the freedom to show off his quarterbacking skills.
- Marco Belinelli: Another past champion, the 29-year-old off guard fills an imminent need as a lethal outside shooter. Depending on Ben McLemore’s development, Belinelli is comfortable starting or coming off the bench.
- Kosta Koufos: Kings head coach George Karl is reunited with his trusty pivot in Denver. Koufos is one of the most balanced big men in the league, and the 26-year-old should fulfill a vital niche as the third frontcourt rotation player assuming Cauley-Stein adjusts.
- Caron Butler: The wheels may detach from the axles any moment, but Butler was signed to bring leadership and outside scoring to Sacramento. The 35-year-old didn’t embarrass himself in over 20 minutes a game last year for the Detroit Pistons.
- James Anderson: The 20th pick of the 2010 draft played in Lithuania last season. The wing showed he can still create his own offense and feed others against D-Leaguers in Summer League, but turnovers were excessive.
- Quincy Acy: In his second Sacramento stint, Acy won’t be expected to have as large a role on the floor (14 minutes a game previously). The 24-year-old power forward is more than capable if necessary, stepping up to the plate with the New York Knicks last season.
- Seth Curry: His name will always draw lofty comparisons, and like Stephen, Seth is a valuable 3-point shooter. Seth still has to prove he can create his own looks and defend at the NBA level.
- Duje Dukan: Dukan made his presence felt in Summer League, knocking down long jumpers and aggressively driving the ball. The undrafted forward out of Wisconsin faces an uphill climb to make the final roster.
- Jason Thompson: The Kings’ record-holder for games played gets a fresh start in Philadelphia. Thompson was never an ideal sidekick for Cousins, though he stepped up as a low-post defender early in the season. By packaging the big man with Carl Landry and Nik Stauskas, the Kings cleared significant cap space.
- Carl Landry: At 31, Landry remained an efficient weapon inside the arc. However his offensive production was unnecessary with Cousins around, so unloading the last two years of his bloated contract on the 76ers was beneficial.
- Nik Stauskas: The eighth pick of last summer’s draft underwhelmed in his first pro season. The two guard’s inability to consistently hit open jumpers made for a frustrating NBA debut. His market value took a dive as a result.
- Derrick Williams: Williams was set to become a restricted free agent, and the Kings withdrew their qualifying offer. The enigmatic forward will continue his career in New York, while fans in Sacramento can only wonder “what if.”
- Ray McCallum: If his 3-point stroke didn’t let him down, McCallum’s game would be viewed in a whole different light. The 37th pick in 2013 demonstrated enough as a starter down the stretch that he has the tools to become a regular NBA contributor. The Spurs thought enough of the ball handler to flip a second round pick.
- Ryan Hollins: Hollins was given opportunities following Cousins’ late November illness, but the 30-year-old made coaches seasick with his up-and-down reliability. The journeyman is likely off to another team.
- Reggie Evans: Apart from the rare flash from the past, the 35-year-old Evans was a good rebounder thoughout the year and not much else. While there’s always the chance Cousins lobbies for a job opening, the Kings want to move on.
- Andre Miller: Miller proved he could still run an offense after his trade deadline arrival. His perimeter defense is another story. Sacramento is currently three-deep at the point, so the 39-year-old’s best chance to return may be as a coach.
Thanks to Divac, the Kings will head into fall training camp with its deepest and most experienced roster in nearly a decade. Knowing that there’s still time to make improvements, how would you grade what the Kings Vice President of Basketball and Franchise Operations has done so far?