By KC Yost
It may be a recurring phenomenon, but the downpour of disappointment this season has soaked the Kings community to a degree so frustrating that the pressure to make a big change is emanating with boiling urgency from the fanbase. No, it may not seem any different—just more disappointment in Sacramento, creating the need for change—but the opportunity to act, here and now, has never been more ripe.
This frustration is particularly grueling in that it doesn’t come from unrealistic expectations coming into the year, but rather because it stems from the lack of movement from the front office in any regard to significantly improve this franchise over the last several years.
We’ve now reached the point in that frustration where all of KingsLand is expecting a significant trade involving both core pieces and draft capital in order to bring in a player who can fulfill GM Monte McNair’s goal of getting this team to the playoffs.
Despite the depleted condition of the Kings’ hopes, achieving the goal is possible—after all, in mid-January, the Kings are 5 games out of the eighth spot in the conference—and more certain than that, it has not been abandoned. Just last Friday, McNair reaffirmed this ambition.
“The playoffs remain the goal,” McNair said in an interview with KHTK. “We do not want to take a long road back to the playoffs.”
This may be the year that actually favors the Kings’ disposition, that makes way for a potentially seismic-level upward shift in the team’s culture and performance. See, this year there are a myriad of names that continue to be brought up in trade rumors.
Here are some of those names often heard floating around the rumor mill:
• Ben Simmons
• Domantas Sabonis
• Jaylen Brown
• John Collins
• Tobias Harris
• Brandon Ingram
• Pascal Siakam
• Myles Turner
• Kristaps Porzingas
• Christian Wood
• Jerami Grant
The volume of talent on the block this season is higher than normal, which can be partially explained by the ongoing chemistry issues and the volley of breaking points being reached within other franchises. In other words, the dysfunction within the Kings organization has a distinct opportunity to be remedied because similar dysfunction is being felt in locker rooms and front offices around the league. There are simply more options, and with more options comes the perfect opportunity for the Kings to finally make a splash for a star player.
Again, there are plenty of names that any Kings fan would be excited about should they come play along whatever young, core pieces remain when the deadline smoke clears, but in order to actually acquire any player of that level, one has to be willing to pay a steep price.
There’s no other way around it: Monte McNair needs to and seems prepared to part ways with one of his young point guards, future draft capital, and some combination of players comprised of high-value veterans, like Hield or Barnes, and/or players with expiring deals, such as Bagley or Thompson.
Do the Kings have enough to pull off such a move? Is McNair fully willing to make that big of a move?
Who can say for sure?
All that can be done is to wait and see what McNair does, hoping the team comes out of the deadline with a brighter outlook. By all indications, based on reports, speculation, and analysis, it seems like a sure thing that McNair makes a move, or moves, of some kind. But what specifically happens, nobody can say— and that might give Kings fans something to look forward to.
Buckle up KingsLand, it’s going to be an exciting NBA trade deadline.