With the Sacramento Kings all but a proverbial lock to be moving to Seattle and becoming the Super Sonics next season, the question that now remains is how with the Kings be competitive in a market that will for sure demand positive results in a hurry?
One way for the Kings/Sonics to pull this off is to trim some of the fat from their talented yet mix-matched roster. The Kings currently have a former Rookie of the Year in Tyreke Evans, a fan favorite role player in Jimmer Fredette, a head case with All-Star potential in DeMarcus Cousins and a dynamic scorer with Marcus Thornton. A couple of these players should be dealt during the off-season while they have value.
First, the Kings should move Evans as soon as possible, hopefully before the trade deadline. Evans is a solid one-on-one player and capable of putting up 20 points, five boards and five assists on a nightly basis. There are a more than a few teams that could use Evans talents and may even be willing to part with a first round pick or expiring contract to get him.
Everyone knew the Maloof family drafted Fredette more for his marketability than his play, and now that Fredette is coming into his own as a shooter off the bench and knocking fown .430 from three-point range, his trade value is pretty high. Would a playoff contending team such as the Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets or Memphis Grizzlies that lacks outside shooting make an intriguing offer for Fredette’s services while he’s still under his rookie contract? Absolutely.
Look further at the Kings roster, and you’ll find some rather large contracts to a few over-paid players. Forward Jason Thompson has four years at $24.6 million left on his deal. Travis Outlaw has two years at $6 million remaining. John Salmons has two years at $14 million, although the final year has a team option of $7 million. Veteran post defender Chuck Hayes has two years at $11.7 million left of his deal. These are all contracts that a moving franchise needs to dump in order to rebuild a winning team.
Surprisingly, the only player on the Kings roster that should be untouchable at this time is DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins may have had his personality issues with the Kings, but a change of scenery and a turned-over locker room could be the motivating factor to keep Cousins on the straight and narrow. Plus, you just don’t trade away potentially 17-20 points and double-digit rebounds into his third season unless he assaults the coach. Cousins hasn’t reached that level of crazy, yet.
With the right roster moves and a new city, the soon-to-be Super Sonics have a chance to turn things around rather quickly and with the Hansen-led group coughing up $525 million to acquire the Kings you can be certain they will try to right the ship. Don’t be surprised if the Kings become a prominent player in the trade market come deadline time.