Sac-Town in Shambles

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Updated: November 24, 2021
fox

The Sacramento Kings have finally fired head coach, Luke Walton. The question now is if they will use this event as a launching point for a new chapter and a full-blown rebuild or if they will continue to pretend to be relevant only to find themselves again in the late lottery? Everyone who cares to know it already knows their story. They botched the Luka Dončić pick going Big as they already had selected speedy De’Aaron Fox the year before…only to now take a pair of guards with their lottery selections two years running in Haliburton and the recent defensive monster Davion Mitchell…after giving Fox a max extension. To add insult to injury, they let a point 3 point shooting guard with size in Bogdan Bogdanović walk for nothing in restricted free agency after instead deciding to pay Buddy Hield…a player they have been begging other teams to trade for a protected first and a bag of Ruffles.

Every year we’re promised a new version of the Sac-Town Kings and yet we end up with the same shit sandwich. Because the franchise hasn’t made it to the playoff in many of its young fans’ lifetime, they have been given a pass on the title or bust pursuit and allowed the Kings’ front office to be thirsty for even the slightest taste of the playoffs. But it is time—not for half-measured hedges or readjustments to the roster, but a full-blown unapologetic explosion.

Here is a route that they can take.

Step 1: Unload Fox

 Philadelphia

The problem at the moment is that last year De’Aaron Fox’s “All-Star” numbers have not been replicated this season as the fans have made their way back to the stadiums. They were the ones originally reporting that they would not include Fox in a trade for Simmons, yet with his current production early this season, without a stack of picks there is no way that Morey and Sixers are taking Fox for Ben. So, Sac must put up a trade with an offer Philly simply can’t refuse. The 76ers depth has been impressive this year, mostly due to the internal development of Tyrese Maxey, Seth Curry, and Matisse Thybulle.

If they added to this arsenal of weapons, rather than swinging for a tier 1 guard (that is not available), it probably would be their best bet at the title. A combination of Fox and Maxey could be special, but even if Fox ends up being a B-level guard, with Curry and Thybulle, Fox doesn’t have to be the guy that he has been asked to be in Sacramento.

But the key to the exchange is the addition of veteran presence and 20-point per game scorer Harrison Barnes. He is the piece that makes the trade one that forces Morey and the front office to seriously consider since arguably going into a 7-game series, Barnes is a better closing forward than Ben Simmons ever has been. He has championship pedigree with the Warriors and arguably is the best version of himself since his growth in the Olympics a year ago.

A ten-man rotation of Embiid, Tobias, Barnes, Fox, Curry, Maxey, Thybulle, Niang, Korkmaz, Drummond, and Green is for real.As much as has been made about the distance between the two teams at the top in Milwaukee and Brooklyn and the rest of the East is a mirage. Both teams are one minor injury away from being very beatable in a series, and with these additions, arguably Philly enters this top tier.

Sacramento

 Ben Simmons has the potential to be a top 15 player in the league, which is something no current player on the Kings or any player they will ever sign in free agency will be. He also is still a project on a long-term deal which allows the Kings to slowly develop organically with the growth of their guards. What he is already established as is one of the best defenders of this generation, and in combination with a backcourt of Davion Mitchell and Haliburton, their defensive potential could be special moving forward.

They would trade Richaun Holmes and Tristan Thompson for value at the deadline and retain their 2nd pick in the draft Marvin Bagley III. At his current value he is not worth trading, but instead should be the dynamic 5 next Ben Simmons. It is unlikely anyone would offer him over 10 million per year in restricted free agency, but whatever number (as long as it is under 13 million) should be matched and try to actually develop a player they believed in so much they took him over Luka only a few years ago.

They would lean on this mental health issue of Simmons and bring him back slowly to embrace the tank and get themselves a top 7 pick in the draft. With Simmons in training camp and a new real head coach, they create a new concept that centers around Simmons, Bagley, Davion, and Haliburton. They would draft the best wing available who has 3-point shooting potential, and an additional small ball-ball big with the pick they acquired from the Holmes trade.

The key to the entire equation is they have to get value for the misstep in maxing Fox and the Simmons situation is a unique opportunity that will not manifest itself in the years moving forward. Obviously, it would be nice to keep Barnes, he’s a good player and appears to be a positive presence in the locker room. It would also be nice to get Maxey in the exchange for trading away your two best players…but after Fox was outplayed by Maxey a few days back, that simply will never happen. Philly, for as nonchalant as they have acted up to this point, know their Embiid window could close at any time. With the possibility of adding two impact players and only losing 1 of their current rotation players in Shake Milton, they would have to take the deal.

If the Kings want to get to the playoffs, the current version of Ben Simmons is already the best route to getting them there. If he ever became the top 10 talent he has shown flashes of, it gives them an opportunity to finally become a contender.

 

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