It’s been 12 years since the Sacramento Kings last made the NBA playoffs, and even with second overall pick Marvin Bagley III joining the team, hardly anyone has the Kings as a potential playoff team heading into the 2018-19 season. But since they have a number of players who can be used as trade bait, as well as a good deal of salary cap space, some NBA scouts believe that the Kings could make some big moves during the 2018-19 season, including trading for star players with big contracts such as the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Andrew Wiggins and the Detroit Pistons’ Blake Griffin.
In a season preview published Wednesday, a number of unnamed NBA scouts spoke to Sports Illustrated and gave their assessments of all 30 NBA teams and, in some cases, the moves they might make in the 2018-19 season, which is scheduled to kick off next Tuesday, October 16. The scouts who analyzed the Kings’ season outlook were largely complimentary toward rookie forward Bagley and second-year guards De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic, but expressed concern regarding former lottery pick Buddy Hield, who was described as a “specialist” who can score big off the bench, but not a potential star like many hoped he would be. Center Willie Cauley-Stein was also projected as a “career backup” in the making who hasn’t made the most out of his chances as a starter.
Given the projected lack of depth and defense on the team’s roster, the scouts predicted that the Sacramento Kings could enter a trade with a team looking to dump a good player with a big contract.
“Circle these guys as a trade team. They can take on a bad contract or someone else’s mistake and offer some young guys in return. They searched for Rudy Gay and Buddy Hield in the past and I think they’ll try to do that again. They tried to sign Zach LaVine too. I could see them chasing an Andrew Wiggins or a Blake Griffin in a trade.”
Commenting on Sports Illustrated’s forecast for the Sacramento Kings, HoopsHype wrote that the team has been quite aggressive in trying to sign top free agents over the past few years, but hasn’t had the best of luck in doing so. The potential trade for Wiggins was mentioned as one that makes a lot of sense, as Sacramento’s weakness in the wing positions would have made him a good free agent signing last year, had the Minnesota Timberwolves not offered him a maximum contract extension one year ago to this day.
Playing in his fourth season last year, former first overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins averaged 17.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, and two assists for the Timberwolves in 2017-18, as he teamed up with Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler to lead Minnesota to its first playoff appearance in over a decade. According to Basketball-Reference, the 24-year-old Wiggins is due to receive a shade over $25.4 million in the 2018-19 season. Meanwhile, Blake Griffin split time between the Los Angeles Clippers and Detroit Pistons last year, averaging 21.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, and five assists per game as a starting power forward.
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