In assessing the realities of landing the fourth position in this year’s draft, it was speculated in this space that there is a good chance the Sacramento Kings seriously consider capitalizing on an opportunity to trade their highly-coveted threshold pick.
As a matter of fact, on that same day came a report from Jake Fischer indicating that “there’s a strong belief among rival teams that Sacramento will explore trading the fourth selection, either out of the draft entirely for an impact veteran or down later in the lottery to net a contributing rotation player in the process.”
Adding to the growing belief, HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto noted the Kings’ roster makeup, saying “Sacramento has made it clear the goal is to end the franchise’s playoff drought” and that “rival teams are keeping an eye on Sacramento to trade this pick.”
As we wrote last week, the likelihood of teams wanting to trade up to get a Shaedon Sharpe, a Jaden Ivey, or a Keegan Murray seemed like it presented the grounds for a game-changing swap, not to mention if—and only if—one of the consensus top 3 slip beyond the projected threshold, such as Paolo Banchero.
Given the volume of prospects the Kings have spoken to—about 17 of them that range all over the big board—there are plenty of scenarios where the Kings make a trade back.
Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes wrote that Sacramento could give Indiana the 4th pick in return for the 6th pick and combo forward Oshae Brissett. At 6’7″ he’s more of a wing, but has the ability to play power forward and comes with the potential to develop into a true stretch four considering he’s going into his fourth year. On top of his career 36% shooting from three, he’s a competent defender and a solid rebounder.
Though Brissett is not the most exciting possibility, his length and versatility make him fair compensation to acquire in a swap for the 6th pick.
Further related to the Pacers, BR’s Evan Massey reported that the Kings have an interest in acquiring veteran guard Malcolm Brogdon. With Haliburton in Indiana, Brogdon’s future there is not entirely certain. He has one year remaining on his contract and the Pacers are undergoing what’s been called a “flash” rebuild, so there’s a ripe chance to get the 29 year-old.
With a high basketball IQ, substantial effort, and his physical length, Brogdon is an excellent defender with capabilities of shutting down perimeter players. Offensively, he provides good decision making, three-point shooting ability, and an aptitude for scoring (in 56 games in 2020-21, he scored 21.2 points per game). He would be a nice addition to the mix of Fox, Mitchell, and DiVincenzo, providing a defensive and fundamentals-minded presence with scoring ability on the roster.
As James Ham pointed out, Sacramento has interviewed several players entering the draft: Shaedon Sharpe, Keegan Murray, AJ Griffin, Bennedict Mathurin, Dyson Daniels, Tari Eason, Kendall Brown, Ochai Agbaji, Malaki Branham, Jeremy Sochan, Patrick Baldwin, Nikola Jovic, Mark Williams, Christian Braun, Wendell Moore, Terquavion Smith, and Trevion Williams.
Some of those names—such as Griffin, Agbaji, Dyson, and others—could be solid options if the Kings move back a few spots. At the same time, Sochan and Eason are more mid first-round options, and names like Jovic, Braun, and Moore are projected as late first-round, early second-round talents, so there is room for a bigger acquisition to be made with a team positioned later in the draft.
Names like Pascal Siakam and Jerami Grant have often been tossed around as potential trades, and as athletic and talented forwards, both offer a ton for the Fox and Sabonis-led Kings.
Siakam has been involved in trade buzz for what seems like years, and there have been times where connections have been made to Sacramento. As an athletic forward with excellent defensive and scoring capabilities, Siakam could be a great third option for the Kings. But there might be something to the fact Siakam hasn’t yet been moved. Raptors president Masai Ujiri has already indicated that there is no interest in acquiring an early first-round pick, especially if it means breaking up their current core.
Jerami Grant has been connected to the trade rumors related to the draft and would also be an interesting fit for the Kings. Grant is another dynamic defender that can score and who shoots the three ball notably better than Siakam. As noted here before, Detroit’s lack of scoring and athleticism could prompt them to move up to get the promising Jaden Ivey so as to prevent another team from doing so, thus making a Grant acquisition more plausible than Siakam.
Some have even thrown around the idea of getting Bradley Beal from Washington, Julius Randle from the Knicks, or even Donovan Mitchell from Utah. Whether or not those scenarios are believable (looking at Beal and particularly Mitchell) or even worth it (looking at Randle) is another conversation.
John Collins of the Hawks—who have the 16th pick and who were approached by the Kings before the deadline about the stretch four—has been mentioned because of his perfect fit for the Kings, but his $23.5 million deal presents hurdles to consider.
Point is, there are lots of options in terms of trading back or out completely.
It’s important to add, though, that Portland at number-seven and New Orleans at number-eight are also thinking about using their picks to improve their rosters in efforts to compete next season, so while the Kings have a lot of liberty to do any number of things, there will still be considerable competition for any of these impactful players.
Of course, with all of that, the Kings could just use the 4th pick. Shaedon Sharpe and Keegan Murray are the two in particular that make the most sense. Ivey has the potential to be snagged at that spot, but his fit with the Kings doesn’t paint him as the guy worth sticking around for.
Not having played at Kentucky, Sharpe is notably accompanied by question marks, but as an athletic wing with shooting potential, he could really be a home run if they view him as a good fit. Athletically and skillset wise, he makes a lot of sense for this team.
What McNair and company have to decipher is whether his attitude aligns with winning. Sacramento already had a rough go with the drama that accompanied Marvin Bagley III, so it goes without saying that a repeat of that kind of scenario should be avoided at all costs. However, that’s for the Kings to figure out, and there’s no overt reason to think it will be a problem, so if they find that things check out on that side, then he could be an excellent player for them in a few years.
Then again, Sharpe will be a raw talent, and given the pertinent reports, Sac may not be feeling so patient to welcome such a situation when other, more immediate impacts are available.
That’s why Murray probably makes more sense. With the reports of opposing teams believing Sacramento will trade their pick with a win-now philosophy, it would be reasonable to assume the Kings see a lot of value in the Iowa power forward. Keegan Murray can make an instant difference after his two years in college. He can score in multiple ways, has good stretch four potential, plays smart and energetic defense, rebounds, and comes with confidence and a clear focus on the task at hand. He may not have franchise-altering potential, but he can be a factor from the start.
Even still, Murray could possibly be available a pick or two after number-four, so they could still grab Murray in some scenario with Indiana, or if Detroit wanted to move up a spot to secure Ivey.
This again only highlights the range of options that come packaged with the 4th overall pick in this year’s draft.
Substantiating that characterization even more is what Ham and Brenden Nunes of the Kings Beat Podcast, along with others, have mused about: the very real possibility of the Kings trading up in the draft. This is based in part off of Henry Abbott of TrueHoop’s report that he’s heard that Sacramento would move up to number-two overall as well as the fact the Kings have three picks on draft night (they hold the 37th and 49th picks).
They note the possibility that Sacramento could slide into the second spot to grab Chet Holmgren or maybe even Jabari Smith because of Oklahoma City’s possible interest in teaming Jaden Ivey up with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Such a move would only arise if Sacramento were all in on Holmgren or in the seemingly unlikely scenario that both Orlando and OKC don’t mind passing up on Smith. But it’s not out of the question.
What this all comes down to is that Monte McNair has four main options: trade back and add to the rotation, trade out and get an impact guy, simply use the 4th pick, or trade up to snag a top prospect. Broken down into four options, it still doesn’t hide the wealth of options.
Lacking any knowledge of what will happen for sure, this is bound to get damn interesting.
With all these possibilities revolving around with about a month until the draft, the Kings have leverage with this draft positioning, and McNair has the chance to define his job security and this team’s upcoming season with whatever decision he decides to make.