The No. 3 seed in the Western Conference, the Sacramento Kings, look to be closing in on a playoff berth and breaking their 16-year playoff drought. Our friends over at DraftKings Sportsbook have them as a (-650) favorite to secure a spot in the playoffs currently.
And with the NBA Trade Deadline approaching, there’s been a lot of speculation on if the Kings will make a move, and it’s clear what the team needs heading into this deadline: a consistent backup center and better defense.
Sacramento is carrying the No. 1 rated offense in the NBA, but their defense continues to stick at the bottom of the league as they rank 25th in defensive efficiency. While the Kings will be actively looking for deals in the market, adjusting to the new trade market may have the team standing pat.
Here are a couple of hypothetical deals I think could help the Kings further bolster their playoff odds.
There have been names linked to the Kings over the last few weeks. Most notable among them has been Charlottes Hornets center, Mason Plumlee. Plumlee, who has one year left on his contract, and should garner plenty of attention as an expiring big that can rebound the ball, pass and run the floor. With the Hornets clearly in the running to land the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, acquiring assets for a player that won’t be on their roster next season wouldn’t be the worst idea.
Recently it has been reported that the Kings could also be in the market for Philadelphia Sixers wing, Matisse Thybulle. NBA insider Marc Stein recently wrote that “Sacramento is monitoring the availability” of the forward in his fourth season.
The trade market is in a bit of disarray after the Rudy Gobert trade that saw five first-round picks get moved in the deal. Gauging the value of a player like Thybulle is a bit tough because his size and defensive prowess could be used and wanted on so many teams.
However, he’s also a player that has found himself in and out of the rotation this season for the Sixers and Thybulle has still shown his inability to shoot the basketball. Reportedly, the Sixers are looking for shooting as well as a center that can play in place or with Montrezl Harrell. The Kings have a few players that fit this bill and if they could land a lockdown defender in Thybulle, it could be a big boost to their defensive efficiency.
These small moves are the trades that the Kings should look to be pursuing. While there’s an outside chance Sacramento could do a deal that would ship out Harrison Barnes, as he is on an expiring contract, but from everyone that I’ve spoken with, there’s a growing belief the team will look to keep him on the roster past this season.
With the Western Conference being so tightly knit in the standings, moves like these could improve the Kings’ odds of making the postseason from -650 to perhaps getting them to -800 or so. Securing a defensive wing and a consistent, playmaking backup center could be what Sacramento take them over the edge.
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