Can the Sacramento Kings be players in the trade market?

Pete D'Alessandro listens during DeMarcus Cousins' contract extension press conference. (Photo: Tobin Halsey)

With the NBA trade season just around the bend, are the Sacramento Kings buyers or sellers?

The Kings come into tonight’s contest against the Houston Rockets at 11-11.  They are on the bubble and currently sit a half game behind the Phoenix Suns for the eighth spot.  Do they take a step back or do they once again swing for the fences?

If history has told us anything, the new regime in Sacramento is all about building a winner. Despite the early success this season, there is no question that the Kings roster is still incomplete.  That means Pete D’Alessandro and his crack staff are going to be movers and shakers until they get it right and that movement might start at anytime.

December 15 marks the date that teams can trade players that they signed as free agents during the offseason.  While it is an arbitrary date, it usually turns on the faucet.

The Kings currently have $71.5 million in dedicated salary for the 2014-15 season, which means they are over the salary cap, but $5.3 million under the NBA luxury tax threshold of $76.8 million.

No one knows who will be available or how many teams will line up to compete for upgrades, but Sacramento hopes to be in the mix.  Do they have the assets to compete?

The Assets

Ben McLemore

The 21-year-old shooting guard is growing into his role in season number two.  Shooting 46.6 percent from the field and 40 percent from behind the arc while playing above league-average defense may make McLemore untouchable.  If not, he has made himself an asset once again after a rough rookie season.

Nik Stauskas

The rookie has struggled in his first 22 games as a pro, but he is a player with an elite NBA skill.  Sacramento loves his make-up, but if they hope to make the playoffs this year, they may not have time to wait for him to develop.  Either way, the Kings have two 21-year-old shooting guards and this is a position they may be able to improve on greatly through a trade.

Use it or lose it

$5.85 million trade exception from the Jason Terry trade

The Kings have plenty of smaller exceptions as well (four between $600K-$1 million from various trades), but they cannot combine them to acquire a singular player.  Multiple trade exceptions can be used in a single trade, as long as they are used on separate players.

Derrick Williams

Williams is in the final season of his rookie scale deal and will make an estimated $6.3 million.  He has talent, but at this point, the restrictions on his salary going forward makes him more valuable as an expiring contract.  He is an extremely valuable chip for a team looking to dump a player with a longer-term contract.

Reggie Evans

Like WIlliams, Evans is an expiring contract.  But at less than $1.8 million, he may have more value as a mentor to DeMarcus Cousins and a rebounder extraordinaire off the bench than trade chip.

Immoveable object?

Jason Thompson

Thompson is off to his worst offensive start of his career, but he is turning heads with his defensive improvement.  At 6-foot-11 and 250 pounds, Thompson can play both the power forward and center position.  He is owed $6 million this year, $6.4 million next season and another $6.8 million in the 2016-17 season ($2.65 million buyout), but with the salary cap ready to climb, Thompson’s deal doesn’t look so bad.

Carl Landry

The Kings took a risk when they inked an almost 30-year-old Landry to a 4-year, $26 million deal last summer.  Now 31, with another two seasons at $6.5 million per remaining on his deal and two major leg injuries last season, the post scoring reserve is a tough sell.  Landry could thrive in the right spot, but it’s going to take a minor miracle to move him.

The Filler

Ramon Sessions

Sessions has really struggled in Sacramento, but he has a long track record as a solid pro.  His 2-year, $4.1 million contract is manageable, but he can’t be traded until December 22 (90 days after he was signed as a free agent).  The Kings have a young guard in Ray McCallum ready to take Sessions’ minutes.  If they can include the veteran in a deal, they likely will.

Omri Casspi/Ryan Hollins

Casspi has played well off Michael Malone’s bench and is worth keeping around as a league-minimum player.  The same could be said for Hollins, but his minutes will fade again once Cousins is healthy.  Both could be added to a deal, but it’s likely they stick around for depth.  Like Sessions, neither of these players can be dealt until the December moratorium is lifted and then a few days after because they were signed together on September 18.

McCallum and rookie Eric Moreland could find their way into a trade as well if the Kings need roster spots of minimal cap filler in a multi-player deal.


Sacramento can’t include their first round draft pick in a deal for another few years.  If they hope to improve the team, it will have to be through players on their current roster.

If you assume that DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Darren Collison are off limits for right now, the Kings have only a few true assets to work with.

Pete D’Alessandro has made a living by surfing the league for overpaid, underperforming assets in his first year and a half with the Kings.  With his team struggling and his roster still incomplete, expect the Kings general manager to do everything in his power to get one or two more pieces to his ever-evolving roster.

Arrow to top