With the Sacramento Kings determined to make further improvements to the roster ahead of a pivotal season for the franchise, it would be wise to say that any future move won’t involve an acquisition of Kevin Durant.
Some have speculated that there is reason to believe otherwise after photos showed Kings star Domantas Sabonis in a closed practice alongside players such as Christian Wood, Cade Cunningham, Kyrie Irving, and Durant.
Even though Sabonis did not explicitly nip the rumored connection in the bud, it’s still very unlikely Durant comes to the Kings.
For one, just be honest.
Does one realistically believe Durant wants to come to Sacramento?
Safe answer is ‘no.’ Whether he admits it or not, Durant wants to go somewhere where he can gain something, likely another ring. Of course, anywhere he goes instantly gains some significant title odds, but he’s looking for foundations where he can succeed, and such foundations would require, in all likelihood, a playoff identity. Miami and Phoenix are both championship contenders, the Raptors won three years ago and still have the talent to compete.
Of course, one may point to the fact Durant has been connected to the Wizards, a team void of any substantial identity of winning at this point. But that very thing would be another gain for Durant that Sac is incapable of offering. If Durant goes home to D.C. to play, he’ll be rejoiced–by the media, at least–for the homecoming and will be instantly made into a lovable good guy a la Lebron’s return to Cleveland in 2014.
Plus, a move to haul in Durant would require departing with some first-round draft capital, but as The Sac Bee’s Jason Anderson and others have pointed out, after trading for Huerter using a future first-rounder, the Kings are prohibited for a while from trading another one of their first-round picks due to the Stepien Rule, which keeps teams from being without a first-rounder in consecutive drafts.
So even if something were to be cooked up, it’d evidently create the requirement for a third team to be involved.
Given all of that, and the fact there is no believable evidence to suggest a Durant to Sacramento blockbuster ever happening, the whole matter in Brooklyn really seems to have little to nothing to do with the Kings aside from playoff/play-in outlook should Durant come to the West (or if the Lakers indeed upgrade from Westbrook to Irving).
However, as is the case for every team, the Durant thing actually does apply to them.
That is because the league consensus is that no additional offseason transactions will be made until matters are settled with the 33 year-old superstar.
While the Kings remain justifiably determined to continue improving their roster after an already eventful offseason, any additional trades or signings will have to wait until Durant’s destination is made known.
As it stands, there’s not much buzz to spell out what, if any, further moves may be made.
In terms of funds, Sacramento has approximately $1,017,781 left over on their Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Exemption after signing Malik Monk. And aside from essentially second-round draft capital, the Kings have some intriguing players to potentially offer, chief among them being Harrison Barnes.
The limited financial flexibility probably just opens the doors for one or two vet signings, such as Quinn Cook, Matthew Dellavedova, or others, so trading would presumably be the manner in which the Kings add to their roster.
There seemed to be some decent hype growing beneath a potential Kings-Sixers trade that would send Barnes, Richaun Holmes, and Terence Davis to Philadelphia in exchange for Tobias Harris and Matisse Thybulle. It does come with a believability factor since Philly is looking to move Harris’ contract off the books, but it might not be anything more than rumor.
A source in Harris’ circle told Jason Anderson that “he believes reports of a potential trade to Sacramento were ‘just rumors.'”
Thinking more about names connected to the Kings lately, John Collins’ name pops up. After some reporting highlighting the interest to get a Collins deal done by the end of draft night, it seemed the offers Sacramento was sending Atlanta’s way were lower grade.
Just because Collins’ name is in rumors doesn’t mean Atlanta doesn’t want him. That’s what Hawks GM Landry Fields clarified regarding the organization’s standing on the skilled, shooting big man, calling such an idea “absurd.”
Of course, a Harris trade could happen and all the talk would cease to be “just rumors.” Likewise, Collins could very well be traded for the right package. Both scenarios still merit some thought.
However, these may not paint the full picture. There could be more traction for other potential Kings acquisitions. But, as always, it’s hard to say for sure, and until the Durant business is settled, it’ll likely remain that way,