The Sacramento Kings clearly believe in their buddying young talent, evidenced by their recent moves to keep their developing core together.
Rather than dangle any of their players to get future draft picks, the front office decided to label themselves as buyers. They brought in 2015 NBA champion Harrison Barnes, who is still just 26 years old and fits in well with the timeline of other players on their roster.
Sacramento had other options to improve their team that may have been more of a long-term play, though they may have had to sacrifice Marvin Bagley III or De’Aaron Fox.
Marc Stein provided all of the details in his latest newsletter (via New York Times):
“I’m told that the Knicks, for starters, tried to engage Sacramento on the Bagley trade concept you suggest. But much like their attempts to engage the Kings in De’Aaron Fox discussions, those inquiries were flatly rejected.”
It would have been very exciting for Sacramento’s president of basketball operations and former NBA star big man Vlade Divac to bring in another European big like Kristaps Porzingis. But the truth of the matter is that after tearing his ACL in February 2018, it remains unclear when the Latvian-born Porzingis would be ready to return to action.
The Kings, meanwhile, are in the midst of fighting for a spot in the Western Conference postseason for the first time since 2006. Now that their divisional rival L.A. Clippers have offloaded talent, their odds have recently improved.
Plus, the front office in Sacramento is well aware of the fact that their first round pick is owed to the Boston Celtics this offseason. It’s Top-1 protected, which means that it will assuredly convey to the Celtics. The more often that the Kings win, however, the worse that pick will likely become.
Porzingis would not be able to help the team win now due to his injury. Plus, they were able to keep Fox and Bagley on their roster.