The Sacramento Kings haven’t made the playoffs since 2006. The team has been close over the last few seasons but doesn’t have enough to compete in the Western Conference. The Kings need to make some changes this offseason if they want to end their fifteen-year playoff drought.
The Kings are an interesting team. They have a young superstar in De'aaron Fox and a promising player in Tyrese Haliburton. However, the west is very tough, and that isn’t enough to make some noise in the conference.
The Kings have been one of the more inconsistent teams over the last two seasons. There are games where they look unbeatable and other games where they look like one of the worst teams in the league. It’s tough to win when you have one of the worst defensive ratings in NBA history.
Last season the Kings had a defensive rating of 116.5 which means they allowed 116.5 points per 100 possessions. The Kings are close to finally ending that 15-year playoff drought. However, they need to make some moves this off-season to ensure they do that in 2022.
Bring back two free agents
Terence Davis and Richaun Holmes are the only free agents Sacramento should prioritize on bringing back. Davis and Holmes are both young, talented players that could play key roles next season.
Davis was acquired last season from the Raptors and appeared in 27 games for the Kings. He averaged over 11 points per game off the bench.
Holmes is a free agent looking for a little payday this off-season. Since joining the Kings, Holmes increased his points, rebounds, and field-goal percentage.
He went from a bench body to a legit starting center in this league. He finally got the chance to play and he made the most out of his opportunity.
His opportunity came last season when Marvin Bagley went down with an injury. Speaking of Bagley, let’s talk about what Sacramento should do with the 22-year-old forward.
Time to think about moving on from Marvin Bagley
Bagley has a lot of talent and has shown flashes, but he can’t consistently stay healthy. He’s averaged less than 40 games played per season since entering the league in 2018.
Bagley is a solid option when he’s available to play. He’s consistently averaged 14 points and over seven rebounds while shooting over 50 percent from the field.
His numbers would be good for a majority of the players in the league. However, when you’re the second overall pick, you should be doing more when you’re healthy and available to play.
Bagley was in the same draft as Luka Doncic and Trae Young, and he was taken before both of them. Both players have become superstars just three years into their careers, and Bagley hasn’t contributed a full season. Bagley isn’t the only player the Kings should look to move this off-season.
Find trades for Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield
Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield are fan favorites in Sacramento. However, they both have large contracts, and their play hasn’t resulted in much team success.
Both players signed huge, multi-year extensions in 2019 and are decent options to go to. However, neither player is that second star that De’Aaron Fox needs for the team to be successful.
Barnes and Hield are both guys who can score 15 to 20 points a night. Barnes is coming off one of the more efficient seasons of his career, and Hield consistently shoots around 40 percent from deep.
Both players have solid trade value but don’t fit the Kings long term plans. Sacramento could use Barnes, Hield, and even Bagley to trade for another star this summer.
Trading for another star
The Kings have their backcourt of the future in Fox and Haliburton. However, they need to explore the possibility of acquiring another star. If Sacramento is serious about ending their playoff drought, they need to pull the trigger.
Fox is quickly becoming of the top point guards in the league but needs some help to stay competitive in a tough conference.
They have pieces to trade and a decent pick in this year’s draft. A few stars will probably be moved this summer, and the Kings should be aggressive in their pursuit of one.
The top three players the Kings should call about are Domantas Sabonis, Tobias Harris, and Pascal Siakam. Sabonis is only 25-years old and is coming off the best season of his career. He averaged over 20 points, 12 rebounds and was an all-star for the second consecutive season.
Harris is a consistent 20 point scorer who is coming off of the most consistent season of his career. If the 76ers lose to the Hawks in this year’s playoffs, they could have an interesting offseason. If that’s the case, Sacramento should attempt to bring in the 28-year old forward.
Siakam is an interesting one. He’s coming off of a “down year” but still averaged over 20 points a game and seven rebounds. The only difference was the Raptors struggled, and Siakam wasn’t an all-star.
Siakam did have shoulder surgery and will be out around five months. However, he should be back by November so he could still play a majority of the season.
Trading for another star and adding some key free agents could help the Kings finally end that playoff drought in 2022. Trading Barnes and Hield could free up some cap space to sign some free agents to really fill out the roster.
Filling out the roster with valuable free agents
Kawhi Leonard and Chris Paul are the two biggest free agents this off-season. However, there are plenty of free agents that could come in and contribute to Sacramento.
There’s plenty of young talent and veteran role players who won’t cost a ton and could come to Sacramento and have an immediate impact. Players like Lauri Markkanen and John Collins are free agents and veterans like Will Barton and Lou Williams.
The Kings were the worst defensive team in the league last season, so that could be an area to address in free agency. Whether it’s rim protection or perimeter defenders, Sacramento needs to do something to improve their overall defensive rating. The Kings are close, and a solid offseason could get them back in playoff contention.