2012 NBA Draft: Kings will pick fifth and they have options


The ping pong balls bounced neither against nor in favor of the Sacramento Kings.  They stood pat, right at pick no. 5.  So what happens next?  Well, Geoff Petrie and company will have options.  Plenty of them.  Outside of DeMarcus Cousins, no one on this roster should be untouchable.

Could they move up?

New Orleans isn’t dealing Anthony Davis.  Washington seems like an unlikely trade partner, considering they’ll have their choice of Bradley Beal, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Thomas Robinson, Andre Drummond, or others to pair with John Wall.  That leaves Charlotte, still reeling from falling to second and in a need of a massive roster overhaul after a season of futility.

Dealing no. 2 and any combination of their soon-to-be expiring contracts (Corey Maggette, Matt Carroll, DeSagana Diop, B.J. Mullens) for multiple pieces could be a plausible scenario for the Bobcats.  The Kings have their pick and talented players they can package at their disposal.  But is there a player worth moving up for?

Could they move down?  

There is a drop off in talent after Davis goes no. 1.  One could argue that every player projected in Draft Express’ current top 10 is on pretty equal footing.  Like last year when they traded down to get Jimmer Fredette and John Salmons, perhaps the Kings fall in love with a player they believe will be available at a lower pick.

Toronto could be a potential suitor.  Some have speculated Harrison Barnes as a possibility for them.  With the threat of Sacramento and Golden State addressing their woes at the 3, maybe they move up to ensure they get the North Carolina product.

Could they trade out?  

There’s been some talk that the Kings could look at moving out of the draft altogether.  I could see them using Francisco Garcia and Salmons as salary fillers in any deal involving the fifth pick.  With a team option on the 2013-14 year of his contract, Garcia is essentially an expiring deal for the Kings next season come July 1st.  And though Salmons’ deal is regularly described as an albatross, it de-escalates in value every year and is unguaranteed in the 2014-15 season.

By packaging the no. 5 pick with the two swingmen, the Kings would endure little to no negative impact to their current team salary, which has hovered around the league minimum in recent seasons.  Perhaps they make calls to Memphis for Rudy Gay, Atlanta for Josh Smith or maybe even Philadelphia for Andre Iguodala.  All three have been rumored to be on the trading block.

Could they keep the pick and trade existing players?

Tyreke Evans seems to be a popular candidate when it comes to trade scenarios involving the Kings.  Whether Evans is a part of their future hinges upon what position he plays moving forward.  Three years into his career, it seems that the point guard experiment is over.  His size and tremendous ball-handling ability make Evans an ideal fit at shooting guard, but what’s a 2 that can’t shoot?  And though capable of playing the 3, he wouldn’t be the match-up nightmare he is in the Kings’ backcourt.

Since he’s in the final year of his rookie contract, an ideal offer would include Salmons, which would create a two-player package estimated at roughly $12.7 million.  They could make similar offers to those that I proposed above to Memphis, Atlanta and Philadelphia.  The Kings could also try their hand at offering an Evans-featured deal to Indiana for Danny Granger.  With Evans still capable of reaching star potential, would the Pacers bite on the risk of dealing an established veteran?

Could they stand pat?

In the previous five drafts, the Kings have traded out of their slated-draft position just once (2011).  There will be players who could address their positions of need that should still be on the board at five.  Perhaps they wait until free agency to make any major moves.

If you’re looking for some clarity of what direction the Kings might be headed, then look toward the upcoming draft workouts in Sacramento.  Though they were in need of a small forward last year, the Kings worked out more top-tier guards and eventually went with Fredette.  The workouts should provide some hint of where Sacramento might go.


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