The Kings were not willing to entertain the thought of trading De’Aaron Fox last summer when they started surveying the market for a transformational move to alter the course of the franchise, but the situation in Sacramento has changed. A league source told The Sacramento Bee the Kings have stepped up their pursuit of Indiana Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis and they are including Fox in those discussions. Fox was so far off the table he wasn’t discussed when the Kings approached the Philadelphia 76ers about Ben Simmons last summer, sources with knowledge of the talks told The Bee, but now Fox is reportedly part of those conversations as well.
Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley III, Harrison Barnes and Richaun Holmes have been the subject of trade speculation dating back to last season. This is new terrain for Fox, who is in the first year of a five-year, $163 million max contract, but he told ABC10’s Sean Cunningham he was not surprised to hear his name in trade rumors. “In most sports, most players come up in trade talks,” Fox said after practice Tuesday as the Kings prepared to face the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center. “Obviously, you don’t have too many people who are really untouchable, so you always know something can happen.”
Sean Cunningham: Kings PG De'Aaron Fox on his name attached to trade rumors, how he deals with it, & if he controlled his future, what he'd like to happen. "I want to win; I want to be part of a winning team. We're continuing to build & work towards that."
Chris Haynes on De'Aaron Fox: He said management has informed him that they do plan to build around him but it's not a given.
The Kings have received an abundance of interest in Fox and second-year guard Tyrese Haliburton, but the internal plan is to build around those two cornerstones in the backcourt rather than shipping them out, sources said.
“You definitely think about potentially being traded because we are struggling,” Fox told Yahoo Sports after leading the Kings with 29 points in a 125-116 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night. “If you do have a change of scenery, it changes everything. I’ve been here for five years. I’ve built a life here, a family here. But once I’m on the court, all that is out the window. You’re not thinking about anything else that can happen outside of your control.
"But I’ve been through some deadlines. I’ve seen people get traded at the last second. You try not to think about it, but you know it’s a business and anything can happen. I’m not sure what’s going to happen. Obviously, you see reports on Twitter. Am I worried about it? No. Can it happen? Yeah, it can definitely happen.”
“I’m not going to sit here and say I want to get traded, but anything can happen in this business,” Fox told Yahoo Sports. “You've seen the best players in the league get traded. You can’t think you’re safe. But I love being here because for years, the Kings were the only professional team in the city. Kings fans love the Kings. That’s what I’ve always loved about it. And me coming from Kentucky, that’s how it was. Even when we were good at football, no one cared. It was a basketball school. This is a basketball city and these fans have a genuine love for the Kings and the players, and it’s something that I love.”
Use the Kings as an example. Sacramento is now reportedly open to making De’Aaron Fox and/or Tyrese Haliburton available in the right deals, and those aren’t equal propositions for Philadelphia. In all likelihood, sources say, a deal involving Fox would almost certainly have to be a three-team deal, moving Fox to another party in order to get what the Sixers think they need.
More specifically, sources say Kings owner Vivek Ranadive has continued to make it clear to McNair that he has the green light to do whatever is necessary to meet those goals. And while the Kings would prefer to keep building around De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton, their strong appetite to improve means that no player is off the table in terms of potential talks.
The Kings are at a crossroads yet again, with a new interim head coach, a relatively new GM, and a lot of players with uncertain futures. GM Monte McNair drafted two guards in consecutive drafts (Mitchell and Tyrese Haliburton) despite having De’Aaron Fox on the payroll, which suggests to executives around the league that Fox will be his main piece for a big move.
And despite strong preseason chatter that a slow start in Sacramento could lead to a potential Ben Simmons trade with Philadelphia, there remains no significant current discussion between the Sixers and Kings. Fox and Tyrese Halliburton are still deemed unavailable, and second-year standout Tyrese Maxey has emerged as a legitimate starting point guard in Philadelphia.
There is room for hope; six of Sacramento's 11 losses have come by single digits. Perhaps Gentry's veteran savvy and fresh voice can fix enough problems around narrow margins to salvage the Kings' playoff chances. That would likely have to come without any major trade fixes in the near future. Sacramento brass expect Gentry, Fox, and the Kings to recapture what led to their strong start themselves, as opposed to making any other stark personnel changes, sources told B/R.
According to a source with knowledge of their situation, the Kings spoke to the Sixers weeks ago and made it clear that both De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton would not be included in a possible Simmons deal. That stance, the source said, has not and will not change and the internal expectation is that the core of their roster will remain the same heading into training camp later this month.
The 76ers were widely believed to be holding out for a chance to acquire Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers, but Lillard recently said he isn’t leaving Portland, “not right now at least.” As for Sacramento, sources have suggested the 76ers would only be willing to consider an offer that includes De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton. The Kings are unlikely to part with either player, but they can offer Buddy Hield, a prolific 3-point shooter who would space the floor for Joel Embiid; Marvin Bagley III, a former No. 2 pick who has yet to reach his potential; and other assets, including multiple first-round draft picks.
There are other semi-intriguing fits, like Portland, Golden State, or Sacramento; the latter has the shooting Simmons needs around him and could dangle De’Aaron Fox as a trade piece. But a league source said Fox is content in Sacramento. And having a player who wants to stay may be too valuable for a small-market team like the Kings. Ultimately, the Simmons question comes down to a team’s belief in its culture and development—two things the Sixers are working to rehabilitate. If he stays in Philly, Daryl Morey and Co. must surely believe they can either fix the situation or boost Simmons’s trade value. If he goes somewhere else, well, we’ll soon either be lauding the front office for the way they revived Simmons’s career, or talking about yet another team that Morey fleeced.
Sacramento has no real avenue to land Simmons without sacrificing De'Aaron Fox. The Kings' star guard has drawn varying evaluations during B/R conversations around the league, but his value certainly appears higher than Simmons' at the moment.
Marc Stein of the New York Times fanned those flames Tuesday when he reported the Kings were one of at least five teams showing interest in Simmons, a three-time NBA All-Star who could transform Sacramento’s porous defense. The potential for a deal is there, but the 76ers are reportedly seeking an All-Star caliber player in return. De’Aaron Fox would probably fit that description, but sources have maintained the Kings are highly unlikely to trade their dynamic 23-year-old point guard.
Another source questioned why either team would make that deal, specifically saying it doesn’t do enough to address Philadelphia’s need for leadership. The source suggested the Kings could make a serious play for Simmons if they make De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton available. Some believe the 76ers could make a move for Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard instead.
The skills didn't translate right away. Fox shot 41 percent as a rookie and averaged just 4.4 assists per game. Sacramento moved up in the lottery again -- to No. 2 -- and faced a pivotal moment: the chance to reorient their team around Luka Doncic. Rivals sensed the dilemma and made offers for Fox -- including a template from the New York Knicks centered around Kristaps Porzingis that would have required Sacramento to either send something beyond Fox or take unwanted Knicks salary (or both), sources say.
Q: I’m a long-suffering Knicks fan disgusted by the Kristaps Porzingis deal. If the target was salary-cap relief, future draft picks and a top young player, surely there had to be more viable options on the table. I have two suggestions myself: Why didn’t the Knicks try to make a similar deal with Sacramento to get Marvin Bagley — or with the Clippers to get Shea Gilgeous-Alexander? — Michael Saponara STEIN: Let’s use your proposed deals. 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.
The Knicks spent much of January quietly canvassing the league for potential Porzingis trades, according to a person familiar with the talks who was not authorized to discuss them publicly. They tried for untouchables such as Utah’s Donovan Mitchell and Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox and, predictably, were rebuffed.
According to Sam Amico, the Kings are expected to offer Fox, along with veteran Kosta Koufos and possibly more for Irving, who is coming off his best season as a pro. The 25-year-old point guard posted 25.2 points and 5.8 assists last season for Cleveland and is under contract for two more seasons with a player option for a third year.
A league source confirmed to NBC Sports California that the Kings have no interest in dealing Fox, who they acquired with the 5th overall selection in June’s NBA Draft. The 19-year-old is considered the future of the franchise at the point guard position and according to the source, any rumor of the team offering him in a deal are false.
May 20, 2022 | 7:27 pm EDT Update
The Lakers appear poised to make a decision on their coaching position soon, with Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts the finalists for the job that became vacant when Frank Vogel was fired at season’s end. But as the final round of interviews is set, sources tell The Athletic that Ham appears to have made the strongest impression yet.
In terms of the Lakers’ preferences, sources say team officials have prioritized a coach who can command respect and authority from the locker room and who has a strong enough presence and voice to manage the varying roles and relationships across the roster. Those characteristics bode well for Ham’s candidacy. Throughout assistant coaching stops with the Lakers, Hawks and Bucks, Ham has been known for his no-nonsense style and ability to resonate with his players — attributes that have stood out in his communication with the Lakers thus far as well, sources said.
Ham, who played in eight NBA seasons from 1996 to 2008, is the only former NBA player among the three finalists. Even before he reached the NBA, however, Ham’s reputation as a force of nature was cemented when he broke the backboard while dunking during his 1996 NCAA Tournament run with Texas Tech. Ham, Stotts and Atkinson are in consideration for the Charlotte Hornets vacancy as well. Ham is also a serious candidate for the Hornets, according to sources.
All three finalists will soon meet with top Lakers officials — including owner Jeanie Buss — in Los Angeles for the next in-person stage, sources said. So far, Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka, director of basketball affairs Kurt Rambis, vice president of research and development Joey Buss and assistant general manager Jesse Buss have led the first stage of coaching interviews.
Michael Singer: Not entirely surprising, but #Nuggets president Tim Connelly’s been radio silent with a lot of people close to him. I strongly believe he doesn’t want to leave Denver, and I also think he’d stay if the Kroenkes could make him a competitive offer.
Callie Caplan: Most active and agile I’ve seen Tim Hardaway Jr. since he fractured his left foot on this same court, under this basket, 5 days short of 4 months ago. pic.twitter.com/DA6Colq97I