Welcome back to Chainmail! Thank you to everyone for your fabulous questions this week. We got to talk about De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield trades, Luke Walton's future with the team, the Kings future roster, and much, much more!
Before we get into your questions, we do want to thank our sponsor for the mailbag, Carter Imports! Carter Imports is a Sacramento-based company that imports some of the very best Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Cretan Thyme Honey available in the world today. There has never been a better time to support one of our own than right now!
Which current Kings are still on the roster in three years (at the start of the 2022-2023 season)?
Tim: De'Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes, and Bogdan Bogdanovic. D'Aaron will still be viewed as the cornerstone piece, while Bogdanovic and Barnes haven't been moved because of their contracts:. Marvin Bagley doesn't finish his rookie deal in Sacramento, and Buddy Hield is dealt this offseason.
Will: De'Aaron Fox will definitely be playing through a max contract in three years and Marvin Bagley will be on a lower-than-expected prove it deal, akin to what Curry signed during his Dorito ankles stage. I think everyone of importance is moved on from, though there maybe a small time straggler like Kyle Guy or Justin James who hangs around at the end of the bench unnoticed.
What is your over/under on remaining games with Luke Walton as head coach of the Kings?
And will our next coach be cool with Gentry as lead assistant, since he's on a 3 year contract now? I know he's respected, but most coaches will have someone in mind who they want as their #1 guy/gal.
Tim: 100 games. I don't think Walton is removed at any point during the 2020-2021 campaign, and I would bet that there's a large chance he's around for at least a part of the following season as well. Whenever the Kings do part with Walton, they will likely dismiss most or all of the remaining coaching staff as well. The new hire would be allowed to bring in his own staff, including a lead assistant, meaning Gentry would almost certainly be gone.
Will: Assuming a full 82 game season is back in order, I think it's pretty likely we see Walton for at least 120 games and getting fired at the All Star break a season and a half from now. Really wouldn't surprise me if money and promises keep Walton here two more full seasons. The pandemic has changed the economic landscape for everyone in the league, especially the minor billionaires and millionaires that the Kings seem to have. We have a situation where the Kings might just have to make due until the world starts returning to a more normal state of being, and that won't be next season at all. Firing Walton on the last year of his contract is a pill that is easier swallowed, especially if he does nothing but drag the team around in circles. Get comfortable - Walton is going to be here awhile.
Is a Myles Turner for Buddy Hield trade realistic? How does McNair get a trade like this done and how would this trade affect next years roster?
Tim: It all depends on what the Pacers want to do in their soon to be post-Oladipo world. If they're still looking to win behind Sabonis and Warren and their other pieces, Hield makes a lot of sense. From my discussions with Tony East (Locked on Pacers), Hield for Turner feels like a fair exchange of talent. However, if Indiana wants to go into a mini-rebuild, Buddy doesn't fit that timeline.
From a roster perspective, the Kings would be much more balanced with that swap. Turner would be the best starting caliber rim protector that the Kings have employed during the last decade, and his ability to play with pretty much any big man on the depth chart makes him incredibly valuable. Sacramento would certainly miss Hield's elite shooting, but swapping out a terrible defender for a very good one would help to shore up the Kings weakest point on the floor. I would be thrilled with that sort of transaction.
Will: Tim pretty much nailed it with the transactional part of the trade for Myles Turner and both sides seem to think it would be rather fair. As for how it would affect the Kings roster: I think a center rotation of Myles Turner and Richaun Holmes would be pretty damn good from a play perspective and pretty terrible for the tank that my heart wants. But, it would also give Sac proven talent that lines up better with Fox's prime and in a position of great needs, so that evens it out a bit. I think it also takes some pressure off Marvin Bagley to be the player fans expected him to be, with Fox and Turner running pick and rolls and Marvin having a chance to play elite clean-up man off of misses and drive-and-kicks. Now whether Bagley sees it that way, is another question as he very well might see Turner as a replacement rather than as a complimentary piece and sulk rather than fight. Having a big man who could space the floor and play solid post defense would be huge, especially in an offense that is designed to run. It's a good trade idea with solid feedback from both fanbases, therefore it shall never happen.
From TomZiller PretendGhost:
If you could get any player outside of the top 20 to pair with De'Aaron Fox, who would you take? Let's assume that the top 20 are: LeBron, AD, Kawhi, Embiid, Jokic, Luka, Giannis, Harden, Steph, Lillard, Durant, Westbrook, George, Butler, Simmons, Tatum, Kyrie, Towns, and 2 wildcards of your choosing (I'd probably pick Mitchell, and either Gobert or Pascal here).
Tim: My two wildcards would be Bradley Beal and Rudy Gobert. In that case, I'm taking Bam Adebayo (over even Justin Jackson and Harry Giles!) to be the perfect big man to Fox's guard. The Kings would be a playoff team next year and for years to come with that pairing.
Will: I'm going to go with Devin Booker. Having a weapon like Devin Booker to take the A1 scoring role from Fox would be a massive coup for both parties involved. Fast break situations with Booker and Fox rolling down the floor would make for an impossible choice: help down on Fox's drive and let Booker free or stay out on Booker and let Fox blow by the defense. Opening the floor for Fox and giving a few inches of space for Booker would make the Kings one of the very best 1-2 guard punches in the league on Day 1 and while the defense would never be great, the offense could more than compensate for it. Booker can also handle the ball and facilitate when needed and as we saw in the bubble, can lead a team in crunch time.
What changes do you think might happen with the Kings and the NBA at large over the next few years as they reconcile with the major cash crunch caused by the economic collapse from the poor response to the pandemic? Cap decrease, return of the amnesty clause, expansion, contraction, G League folds, etc?
Tim: We're going to see a lot of changes, many of which aren't predictable. The cap is definitely going to flatten or even decrease, which directly affects team's abilities to spend money on free agents. I believe the summer of 2016 was the last real period of overspending that we'll see for some time, with emphasis being put on either max-level players or cheap replacements. The mid-range free agents who are used to making $10 - $18 million per year are the ones who are probably going to feel the burn the most.
Regarding the points above, I don't see the amnesty clause returning. The NBPA hates that out for owners, and I would be surprised to see them give that up in negotiations. Expansion teams take years to plan and execute, so that feels less than likely, at least in the short term, while contraction would only cost the league and teams money. If an owner truly can't afford to operate a team, either another owner will step up and buy the franchise, or Adam Silver will take control of the team. The G League won't fold completely, but I wouldn't be shocked to see it disappear for the 2020-2021 season and return the following year.
Will: I think we're honestly more likely to see expansion in a year or so. Remember that the expansion fees for a new franchise have always been heavy and could be anywhere from $750 million to a $1 billion per added franchise, so adding two franchises in coming years could help make up for a bit of lost revenues etc. It's also really easy, good press. The NBA would have an increased share of TV time and attention on it as it goes through the process of choosing the cities, opening teams to the expansion draft, logos and naming ceremonies, jerseys etc.
I'm also certain the league will flatten or decrease the salary cap for a few years, but there was discussion of some stagnation happening before Corona with the Daryl Morey-China fallout. Politically that could be relevant again depending on who runs the government. Obviously there's been discussion from one side on retribution or a sense of payback for China's response to the Corona Virus outbreak and if that comes to pass, well China pulling back or completely out of things like the NBA could further exacerbate the money issue. The NBA is a global game now, for better and worse.
Lastly, I think there might end up being a push from owners to assign players their pay based on % of the team cap rather than straight dollars. So, for example, Lebron will be signed for 40% of the cap space of a given year rather than for an X amount of dollars. It would allow for more money to be made by players in years of expansion but would also allow for flexibility for owners in years of economic downturn like the ones to come.
What is fair value for Fox? I am against trading Fox, but I know Monte has to be open to all options.
Tim: Chent really wants to stir some trouble in the comments, eh? The topic of trading Fox has been a hot one in the private discussions of The Kings Herald crew, with several factions emerging.
First, let me say that Fox isn't going anywhere. I can't imagine that Monte McNair walked into his interview with Vivek Ranadive, pitched trading the one good, young player on the roster, and got the job. However, if I'm wrong about McNair's plan, I don't mind trading Fox if the package is good enough. The issue is finding a package that's good enough. For example's sake, here are a couple of frameworks that I would consider, although it would be a higher price than the other teams would likely want to pay.
Knicks: #7 overall pick, 2021 NYK first rounder (unprotected), 2021 DAL first rounder, Dennis Smith Jr.
Timberwolves: #1 overall pick, #17 overall pick, 2023 MIN first rounder (top-3 protected), Josh Okogie
Will: So I think it's 100% fair to think that Monte should listen to every single offer for every single player on the Kings roster. There is no Lebron, no Kevin Durant types on this roster. If a point guard who averaged a triple double over the course of a season and won an MVP award can be traded... De'Aaron Fox can be traded. Should Monte McNair be actively looking to move Fox? No. Should he move Fox if a team is desperate enough to throw the kitchen sink at the Kings? Yes. Obviously, these deals aren't necessarily realistic or even plausible but I want to give you a baseline for three types of deals I would be fine with.
If the Thunder called and offered an absolutely mess of picks for Fox? I'd say yes. (I'd say yes to SGA coming back as well, but OKC wouldn't.)
If Philly grew tired of their current arrangement and offered a deal around Ben Simmons that didn't involve the Kings sending a lot back? I'd do that deal as well.
If for some reason Cleveland found themselves in the mood for Fox and would give up Colin Sexton and draft picks, I'd do that as well.
Honestly, most deals for a player of Fox's caliber would end up being a three teamer to accommodate varying salaries and my brain is just not built to handle putting together those kinds of whoppers. I love what Fox brings to the Kings. It would take a good amount for me to be okay with moving him, but... McNair should absolutely be listening.