With the Winter Holiday season among us, we are now about one-third of the way into this NBA season. This also means that we have reached the point where trade talks around the league are starting to buzz a fair amount.
With General Managers and Executives now having a clearer picture of their team’s strengths and weaknesses, many will be looking to see what potential trades can elevate their respective teams heading into the second-half portion of the season. A wise trade could make a huge impact on teams that are right on the precipice of playoff or even championship contention.
A team that could certainly benefit from a trade before the trade deadline in February is the Sacramento Kings. Sacramento currently sits 5th in the Western Conference Standings with a 16-10 record. While they have displayed some levels of excellence this season, they have also had their fair share of blowout losses. Arguably, the Kings’ most pressing need is a wing defender who can also fit into the flow of their explosive offense. While that won’t necessarily be easy for the Kings to acquire, some tradeable players do fit that description. Here are three players that should be on the Sacramento Kings’ trade target list.
Three Players That Should Be on the Sacramento Kings’ Trade Target List
For a while now, the Toronto Raptors have been at the center of attention when it comes to trade talks. Torontos’ biggest trade chip is arguably their young star small-forward, OG Anunoby. Anunoby is probably the best two-way player in the league that seems to be available for other teams to potentially acquire. He is expected to decline his $19.93 million player option for next season and become a top free agent this summer. While the asking price from Toronto, as well as Anunoby’s long-term commitment to a new team, may raise some hesitancy from teams looking to trade for him, he still will likely be a very high trade target for teams across the league heading into February.
If the Kings are willing to go all in ahead of this trade deadline, this is the way to go. Anunoby is essentially the perfect piece to fit with this Kings’ team. His ability as an elite defender at the wing position could immediately help Sacramento’s weakness. Anunoby made the All-Defensive Second team last season and led the league in steals with 1.9 per game. He has also improved greatly on offense. Over the last two seasons, Anunoby has shot 38% from three on close to 6 attempts per game. He’s also improved at putting the ball on the floor and finishing near the rim. His two-way versatility is remarkable and makes him a valuable asset on nearly any team. It would take a hefty trade haul, but Anunoby would be an outstanding addition to the Kings and thus should be high on their trade target list.
With many NBA executives keeping a closer eye on Donovan Mitchell and his status with the Cleveland Cavaliers, this opens a window for some of the other potential trade targets on the Cavs. One intriguing player that the Cavs may be forced to move off of is Isaac Okoro. Cleveland will have to make a decision soon on the former No. 5 overall pick, especially with restricted free agency looming in 2024. The Cavs value Okoro’s upside and defensive versatility. However, with them having to invest heavily to keep their core four together, as well as luxury tax implications, they likely won’t be able to retain Okoro.
Okoro possesses a strong all-around game. His offensive game has improved immensely since he entered the league in 2020. In his rookie season, he struggled with his scoring efficiency, shooting 42% from the field and 29% from three. Now, three years later, he has improved that efficiency, shooting 48% from the field and an impressive 39% from three. He has also worked on his ability to drive down the lane and become a better decision-maker. On the flip side, his defense has been renowned since entering the league. At 6’5 and 225 pounds, Okoro does an incredible job of using his strength and agility to defend other forwards in the league. He possesses a lot of the defensive qualities that could make him an All-Defense caliber player soon.
All-in-all, Okoro could be a great wing player who can fit right into the Kings’ system. At just 22-23 years of age, he also fits well alongside Sacramento’s youth timeline. Okoro should very much be a player that the Kings should inquire about and have high on their trade target list.
While most of the trade talks surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers involve Zach LaVine as of late, there are other trade pieces that the Lakers could be exploring. One of those pieces is forward, Rui Hachimura. Hachimura, who is on a three-year $51 million contract, has continued his high level of play going back to last season. His 54% effective field goal percentage this season is his 2nd-highest season average in his career so far, and his defensive presence at 6’9 has continued to be impactful. However, his playing time has stagnated at just 23 minutes per game, and likely won’t change given the Lakers’ depth.
For that reason, Hachimura could look to find an increased playing role elsewhere. This is where a team like Sacramento could be a wonderful fit. Hachimura would add an immediate physical presence to the Kings frontcourt that could benefit them. A starting frontcourt of Keegan Murray and Rui Hachimura, with Domantas Sabonis at center, could be imposing both in the paint and out on the perimeter. Hachimura could add the two-way threat the Kings are looking for at the forward spot, while also offering him a greater playing opportunity to showcase his worth on another playoff team in the West.
For Sacramento, this could be a sneaky move that could go a long way, especially down the line in the postseason. Now with playoff experience under Hachimura’s belt from last season with the Lakers, he could add a lot to the Kings both with his talent and experience. While Sacramento may need to give some draft compensation to make this trade happen, considering the Lakers’ potential hesitancy to give Hachimura to a nearby Western Conference opponent, Hachimura should be another player high on the Kings’ trade target list.