When I first saw media commentary that De'Aaron Fox needs to be traded, I was shocked. Frustrations with the max-player had obviously been growing and the "Well, what could they get for him?" question understandably has surfaced, but I refuse to view it as a necessity.
I spent the entirety of this 90 minute Kings Pulse podcast episode explaining why I disagree. The Sacramento Kings need more talent first and foremost. And De'Aaron Fox is kinda good at this whole basketball thing.
Last season, he averaged upwards of 25 points and seven assists at the age of 23. Those are historic numbers at that age and something only six other players in NBA history have ever accomplished -- I listed all seven on the pod.
There's no way to know how good De'Aaron Fox truly can be because of the constantly changing subpar circumstances around him. He's dealt with three coaches and two general managers and he's just halfway through his fifth season. And he still led the 2018-19 team to a win percentage that Sacramento hasn't accomplished since 2006.
Fox has ended every season of his career as Sacramento's leader in assists per game. Before Tyrese Haliburton, no other player even manages to contribute an average of more than four assists.
I spent a lot of time diving into teams into all teams from that timeframe who had only one player averaging more than four assists and shared my findings on the episode. To put it vaguely, expecting De'Aaron Fox to carry the surrounding talent that he's had is unfair.
Tyrese Haliburton is (probably) the best player that De'Aaron Fox has ever gotten the opportunity to play alongside in the NBA. Haliburton has proven to be phenomenal, but think about that from Fox's perspective...
And now, when Fox finally has a teammate with a potentially comparable ceiling, people are demanding they be split up?
I respond to the idea that Haliburton can't be the best version of himself alongside Fox and vice-versa. Spoiler: I disagree.
The roster is imbalanced, yes. The roster also lacks talent, consistency, and ideal coaching. Trading De'Aaron Fox is not a necessity.
I always enjoy hearing everyone's responses and opinions to episode topics, so please leave them in the comments section or reach out on Twitter!
🚨 NEW EPISODE 🚨
🔘Fox is good now, imagine him with a good coach & team
🔘The historical value of multiple playmakers
🔘Keeping Fox should NOT limit Hali's growth
🔘The FO needs to take a risk soon
🔘Hali is Fox's first teammate to average 4+ assistshttps://t.co/jwVRIq6ION pic.twitter.com/0Ews72Dpr0
— Kings Pulse (@Kings_Pulse) January 5, 2022
The Kings Pulse podcast is available on all major listening platforms.
There was no need to trade DeMarcus Cousins…until there was. Just sayin’. There may not be a NEED to trade Fox today, but tick-tick-tick.
“Need” cheapens the analysis. Of course there is no “need” to make any one move.
The proper question is: what is the best path to meaningful improvement? And if trading Fox is the best of all the bad options to get there, then he should be traded.
What the kings are missing is good consistent coaching and a good “alpha male type” player. This new player doesn’t necessarily need to be an all-star, but he needs to be both mentally and physically strong and get in other players faces when they don’t give full effort. Ideally, you’d get said new player without having to trade Fox and/or Hali.
Lets get real…. Players are not going to listen to other players. Unless, those said players are Stars or that team already has a long and extensive culture of winning. LIke the Heat, Spurs, etc. You think one person is going to come in hear and change the Kings culture. Please… You’re deluded. Especially, with this team.
What your suggesting has already been done over the last 16 years. In case you haven’t remembered. Signing role players who are past their prime but have pedigree. How did that work out for the Kings. Desmond Mason, Rondo, Thornton, and now Thompson.
You’re NOT getting much for a grab bag of 2 players making 20 plus million in Barnes/Hield. In addition, you’ll be lucky to get a second round pick for Bagley.
Idealistic you are. Realistic, you’re not. Alot of teams have more assets than the Kings. Teams will be lining up for Lillard, Brown, Sabonis, Wood, Ingram, Reddish, etc
Trading, Marcus Smart and his 25 million for the next 4 years, sounds about something the Kings Brass will pull. That would be oh, so typical.
Sure thing. Now that he has a few good games, let’s keep him. Myopic media and Kings management have no idea how to value Kimgs players or build a team.
Fox is the Kings best player and as long as he is the best player losing seasons are likely to accumulate ! Hope it’s possible to trade others and pick to upgrade talent but doubt it !
It’s not as simple as a better player INSTEAD of Fox would all of a sudden lead the Kings out of the first round of the playoffs.
Last season, Steph Curry averaged 32ppg and Draymond Green finished 3rd in DPOY voting. Golden State still didn’t make the playoffs… The other guys matter too!
I mean, this is clearly true. But how does trading away all the Kings decent “other guys” jive with that? I’m certainly not saying it’s definitely the best or only way to go, but trading Fox is one way to ensure that you aren’t creating a 2020 Warriors top-heavy situation. Also, I’ll point out, that the Warriors were 39-33 last season. There are worse outcomes. For example, every Kings season for the past 15-going-on-16 years.
The point is that you, and a lot of media and Kings front office folks, swing from one direction to the next depending on the last few games. Three weeks ago, the thinking was completely different. He was fat, indifferent, and not a winner. Of course Fox is a really good player, but any franchise worth its salt would have evaluated him by now and decided whether he’s a good fit or isn’t.
There is zero thought about future planning and overall team construction. It’s been that way for a decade.
Should they trade Fox? The answer is simple. If it it puts them in position to turn the franchise around and be a playoff and title contender in three or four years, you make the trade. Period. Simple. That is all.
By the way, that takes forethought, cleverness and patience.
Kings have none of that.
If he were their best player, you might be right. Inconsistent effort on defense and poor shooting and BBIQ continue to hinder him. He’s certainly not the problem with the Kings but he’s not part of the solution either. Defense is part of the solution. I’m not a huge fan of Simmons and was absolutely against trading for him. I may still be on that side of the fence but damnit his defense is enticing. After watching this team play poor defense game after game it’s becoming unbearable. My pipe dream is for the Kings to become that bruising, punishing, physical team that win or lose teams hate to play and are in pain after they do. I’ve always felt you have 6 fouls for a reason, might as well use them.
Fox has been bad bad on defense this year, no doubt. But… we’ve seen him be at very least a capable one-on-one defender for stretches & being surrounded by zero notably positive wing/big defenders is a problem.
Portland (Dame & CJ) had the 6th best defensive rating in 17-18 because they had defensive difference makers on the wing/forward (which ironically includes Harkless). The Nuggets (Murray & Barton) were 11th in def rating last season because of good smart defensive wings/forwards like Gordon & Milsap.
And we’ve seen guys give meh effort outside of flashes show that they are actually not bad on that side of the ball when on a winning team: Devin Booker & Zach LaVine
Both of those guys are still terrible defenders. As you point out, their teams just mitigate it by having good-to-excellent defenders around them.
Fox and Haliburton certainly CAN be part of a good defense. Now you just have to go out and get: A two-way front court playmaker, A 3-and-D stud, and a high level interior defender/rim-protector (preferably one that can shoot a bit).
All true but how do you get those guys. I think you have to trade Fox.
I’d offer Fox, Bagley, and 2022 first rounder for Sabonis and LaVert. Maybe Mitchell,, 2023 first rounder, 2023 and 2024 second round picks, Thompson for Wood and Gordon. Buddy and Holmes to Boston for Pritchard and Smart. We have no draft until 2024 but I think a pretty solid lineup along the lines you mentioned.
Usually, I like Nunes. I am afraid he’s deluded here.
You’re not getting much back in a grab bag of Barnes/Hield/Bagley. Your return on any of those said players will be at best: more role players, possible young assets and late first round picks. In addition, the Kings draft picks are not that valuable. They usually pick 8-12 historically. Kings are not getting any difference makers unless they are trading equal talent.
I would love to hear how Nunes elaborates on how the team becomes good. Holding on to both Fox and Hali.
The team has dire needs at the 3-5 positions. You cannot WIN in the NBA without competent wing players. Kings have one. They have no stretch 4. The front line is one of the bottom 5 in the NBA. Holmes is competent(But Undersized) Gets manhandled against real bigs.
Besides that you have the comedy group of bumbling hands Len, Kardashian Thompson. Moe, I can shoot Harkless, I always have the green light Metu, Journeyman Jones, who usually can’t handle physical athetic players and definitely can’t handle real bigs, and lastly Bagley. That’s 6 players. Not a single one of them would get any more than 15 minutes on a good team.
I’ll be sure to do hypothetical trade article and/or pod soon to give some potential trades I find interesting.
For now, I’ll just list these two recent deals for All-Star caliber players:
Buddy Hield (or Harrison Barnes if need be), Davion Mitchell, SAC’s 2023 & 2025 1st feels like a pretty comparable package to those two. And Vuc/Zingis, to me, are kinda comparable talents to someone like Sabonis
Sabonis makes the Kings better than Vic/Zingis ! Fits an exact need as a triple double caliber power forward !
I agree with both your perspectives, KOJ and Brenden. I do think the Vuc deal would be something the Kings should mirror for a Sabonis type.
A trade like this would provide talent and answer both of your wants. I agree that Fox and Hali just need talent.
My big gripe is that we are top-heavy with below-average talent. Get some talent!
Really? I’d say we’re more pear shaped. The Kings are a team made up entirely of guys that would be decent 3rd-6th guys.
My top-heavy comment was directed at the Kings needing Fox/Hali and to some extent Holmes providing max and efficient production in order to be close to .500.
I think we are on the same page with your pear analogy.
I disagree. Buddy has one skill. Shooting 3s. He’s a liability otherwise. Barnes is 29, owed 20 million. Barnes might net you a mid-late first rounder. Maybe a young asset. But, your’re not getting the Likes of any players like Sabonis, Wood Reddish Siakem for that. Other teams have more young assets and picks. Mitchell has close to no value. Sac’s picks are not that valuable. You speak as if a 8-12 pick is high value. Kings rarely get a top 5-6 pick. The Pick doesn’t hold much value for teams on the rebuild. Both Buddy and Barnes will also be 30 next year.
Indy won’t bite on that package. I understand from their organization is going total rebuild. Everyone is on the table. Lavert, Sabonis, Turner, brogdan and lamb. They are not competing anytime soon. They are looking for low picks and young assets.
Houston: Self explanatory. Unless you have picks and young assets, forget it. Wood is only getting paid 11 million. They also would have Zero interest in any of Barnes/Hield/Bagley
Atlanta” Hawks want a low first rounder for Reddish at a Minimuum. Hawks would also have zero interest in Barnes/Hield. Once Collins, Hunter, Bogi, and Trae come back, they will be fine.
Toronto: Will also want young assets and picks. They are not competing for a championship. So, taking on Barnes/Hield makes little sense.
Hield and Barnes will only make sense for teams that are competing now for a serious playoff run. Rebuilding teams or those on the cusp will have zero interest.
The teams that could have interest in those 2: Dubs, Knicks, Celtics, Philly, Lakers, Miami, Brooklyn, etc
Teams that have at least one young player of multiple young assets they can move for a vet that can help now.
For example a team like the Warriors could easily get Wood. They have Peyton, Kuminga, Wiseman, Toscano, etc. I t would be easy from them to take on that salary.
Kings have nothing the Rockets could want. Unless, it involves Hali and a PIck. The Kings bench is loaded with Fodder that most teams would have zero interest in. Thompson, Harkless, Len, Metu, Bagley, and Jones. That’s 6 players that have little to no worth on the trade market. None of them would get 10-15 min on any good team.
What is more important talent or culture? Will the current Kings ‘ players ever make the playoffs? Can the current players ever play defense?Can Alvin Gentry coach the Kings to the playoffs? How can they improve on rebounds,turnovers or toughness? All of these questions and more need to be addressed. The Kings have talent but need more.My opinion on a Ben Simmons trade should not be done. You are giving up too many assets for one player.In order to rebuild you will have to give up some of your favorite ones to improve. I have some ideas on trades.I would appreciate comments both positive or negative.Here goes. Trade Harrison Barnes and a first rounder for Christian Wood. Trade Holmes,Bagley,Metu and Davis p;us 2 second rounders for Myles Turner and Caris LaVert. Trade Buddy Heild to the Pelicans for Josh Hart and Tomas Satoransky. Satoransky’s contract is up this year and save 10 mil. Trade Fox to the Spurs for Dejonte Murray,Deivn Vassell,Zach Collins and a first rounder.The roster would look like this. Starters – Murray, Haliburton, LaVert, Wood, Turner.Backup- Mitchell, Hart, Vassell, Collins, Jones.Trade Len for whatever. Thompson’s contract expires this year and save almost 10 mil. You will still have your first pick in the draft next year.
I feel like this doesn’t really follow the Monte rule of considering it from the other team’s POV. Young talent like Wood on a team-friendly is exactly the type of player the Rockets would want to keep. I’m not sure what the Pacers gain in your deal. Murray by himself is probably more valuable than Fox. This year he’s basically been what people hoped Fox would be, and he’s doing it for half the contract.
The Rockets are looking for trade partners for Wood. A first rounder could be their incentive along with an above averae SF/PF. The Pelicans are really looking for a shooter and scorer. I believe this trade could be possible.They also want to getr id of Satoransky’s contract. The Pacers are looking to move both Turner and LaVert. We would give them young players. Holmes is the biggest incentive in this one and 2 seconds. Fox is a far better player than Murray. Vassell and Collins are subs on the Spurs but both have really good potential going forward. Turner and Wood would solve your rebounding problems.Wood is good stretch four and Turner can rim protect, rebound and play with the other bigs of the league.Toughness needs no excuse. Hart can play three different positions and likes to drive to the basket.I reallyappreciate ypur comment. GO KINGS
Talent and balanced rosters with chemistry win games. The Kings lack all three elements. IMHO the best avenue to balance the roster and receive equal talent in return is to trade Fox. He has the most trade value on the team. With that said, I’m holding out for a Brown, Simmons, Sabonis, Siakam, Grant + 1st, or Sabonis type deal. I do not advocate trading him just to trade him. I don’t think we should trade him solely for picks, but for the right deal the Kings should pull the trigger, hand the keys over to Haliburton, and whoever comes in the deal.
If the Kings can pull off getting the type of talent I outlined above without having to give up Fox by all means go for it. It is just not realistic. I also wouldn’t trade Haliburton. To me, Hali is the franchise player. The one who when given the reigns can elevate the rest of the team with this style of play.
This team doesn’t have that dawg. Our defense continually stinks because the organization doesn’t have that pride, toughness like a Doug Christie, Bobby Jackson, Brad Miller or Ron Artest and Bonzi Wells. The Kings are bunch of pretty boys. Hopefully Daivon Mitchell becomes that but where’s the toughness and leadership?
There’s no need to fix this team.
Kings pulse = 0
To me this is a far more granular question than trading or not. For starters its first and foremost based on the return. And with that I would agree that the majority of Fox trades I see rumored don’t make a lot of sense.
For me the larger questions is on the potential of Fox’s strengths as a player and timeline, and those existing and or supporting a more competitive team down the line. I have always had doubts about how his game fits in a collective, and when Haliburton presents that more apparently, with a timeline that is more reasonable the staggering of those two personally becomes a possible issue. It’s not a seamless fit in the timeline and or in their chemistry. And I don’t expect that to be resolved over Fox’s deal.
That opinion is opinion and I do think that trading Fox comes with a larger question of identity and goals. Ones own philosophies on how a team should play. And in that I admit my bias of seeing Tyrese navigate on and offball gravity to equal measure, passing between scoring entities, improving at not the expense of others supporting bias’s yet also concepts I think becoming more paramount in the league.
The Kings are far away and in my opinion yet have an opportunity by investing 7 years around a player who regardless of where he ends up on his potential curve, has strengths at the highest level. To me the decisions should be using his rookie deal to construct a core come his 2nd deal. And Fox doesn’t aid that vision while also being the biggest catalyst to supporting that vision as an asset.
Yeah…..this is stupid.
If Fox can get someone decent. He goes.
I think everyone agrees (I know Brenden does) that there are players in the NBA we’d trade De’Aaron Fox for. I don’t think the argument of “if the right deal is on the table, you take it” means much when you’re talking about any specific player, since it’s true for almost every player in the NBA. Of course, George Karl reminded us you don’t always need to say the quiet part out loud for the sake of not alienating your players, and if Monte came out and said tomorrow “there are deals I would make that would send Fox out of Sacramento”, that would be pretty Kangzy, even if clearly true.
So what we’re all actually arguing here is who we’d be willing to trade Fox for, and how/if it is important to the long-term success of the team to trade him. I said on Twitter that I can respect/totally disagree with anyone who believes that trading Fox is the right way forward to improving the team, because it is at least a way forward that isn’t just “keep throwing this tilted, under-talented roster out there every night and pray they figure it out.”
I would not actively look to trade Fox, and of the common names bantered around that I’d trade him for is very small (starts and ends with Jaylen Brown). I think that it would very likely end up a mistake to move on from the Fox/Haliburton guard core when they’ve only played 84 games together, especially since most of those where with Luke Walton at the helm. I also think this team is pretty damn bad, and I don’t know that we can really consider if Fox can be a core piece of a good team when the talent around him has always been that damn bad.
Fox has plenty he needs to improve on, and I don’t even mean that in a “he needs to be a better shooter” way (I think we all can admit his deep shot is likely never going to be league average). His on-ball defense is shit, especially when someone has the audacity to throw a screen at him. His off-ball activity is pretty miserable, and he absolutely needs to find avenues to do something when it’s Hali’s turn to operate. I could blither and blame Luke Walton more for failing to come up with ways for Fox to excel off-ball, but I don’t need to give De’Aaron Fox excuses. He’s making the big bucks (on a contract every single team would have given him, but again… don’t let that be an excuse).
That said, I don’t think that him failing to drag the damn Kangz to success is the right way to look at the guy. Here’s a mental exercise – take every worthwhile NBA player drafted in the past 10 years and pretend they got drafted by the Kings at pick #5 in 2017. Pretend that from then on, everything happened exactly as it did for Fox – same teammates, same bungled Vlade draft picks, same Puke Walton hiring/delayed firing, same Monte inactivity. How many players drafted in the past 10 years make this exact Kings team a legitimately good squad at this point in their careers?
Off the top of my head, I think my answer 5 – Davis, Lillard, Giannis, Embiid, and Luka. There maybe a few more (Booker, Donovan Mitchell, Trae Young, Morant…) but even these guys, I’m not sure they’d survive in basketball hell. Seeing Booker’s name there reminds me that Devin might be the best case scenario for Fox at this point – a dude who could be a 1A/1B on a great team, but not with terrible depth, bad coaches, and awful roster decisions. Indeed, I know a lot of the questions bantered around Fox right now were tossed around Booker a few years ago.
It does suck that Fox isn’t a transcendent basketball player, not a generational talent who can thrive in even basketball hell, but I also cannot hold it against him when – like Brenden said – I stare at this roster since he got here and realize that Tyrese Haliburton is the best player he’s played with in his Kings career. The Sacramento organization has failed to put talent around Fox, and it’s made it impossible to really know if they can win with him or not. But I do not believe the right way out of a half-started rebuild is to trade Fox or Hali.
To me, the path forward is clear, and it’s the same one I’ve thought they should do since it was obvious Marvin Bagley wasn’t gonna pan out. This Kings team needs to stop aiming for the play-in. Keep Fox, Hali, and Mitchell (although I’m more open to trading the latter than I think many here are). Trade every veteran of note. Play the young guys. Pray to god you find a good head coach who will come to Sacramento. It sucks for us, as fans, because we were so close in 2018 to the foundation of a good team. But the Kings should realize they rushed the last rebuild and once again toss thy luck to the lottery gods.
Maybe it doesn’t work out, and maybe (as Rob said in the first comment) the clock ticks itself down until Fox gets out one way or another. Maybe we look back and can say with certainty “they should have traded De’Aaron sooner.” But that’s not a gamble I’m willing to take, and I hope Monte agrees.
I hope people read this.
I’m in no special hurry to trade Fox and have said many times that I think there are a variety of viable Fox-based and non-Fox-based team-building strategies that could work. I’m open to any of them. But, really, is trading Fox that much more of gamble than betting on a Fox/Hali core? The downside to both looks a whole lot like the “Kings are bad and miss the playoffs” trope we’ve been witnessing for the past generation.
The risk depends on the return. If you’re bringing back a Jaylen Brown or Sabonis, then it’s either equal or less depending on how lost in basketball hell you think Fox is. If your return is a package of lesser dudes and picks, then yes, I think the risk is much, much greater.
But I also think trading Fox for Simmons, bringing Simmons to basketball hell without both Hali AND Fox to immediately give this team that baseline of talent, is the biggest risk of all.
I think both opinions reasonable, but I would say the leverage of Fox for simply a present contributor is one option of many possible options. More encouraging at the most hypothetical personally is looking to use Fox to garner assets or players that will pay out over the duration of Haliburton’s pre and post rookie scale. This team is on a 7 year clock for Haliburton (not to say he could not be usurped by better talent but he is the current primary). Considerable time if handled pragmatically to both maximize draft odds in the early going while also stockpiling potential assets that begin to split the difference when the team improves after a likely extension.
I look at the 4 year window with Fox and Hali and don’t think its enough time to realistically maximize or drastically improve. Their most pertinent current surrounding support will expire before that and aren’t wise extensions or proving viable for success anyway. A few non premium lottery picks aren’t likely to cut the difference. And the ability to attract to the core seems unlikely. And that is on the hypothetical that even if there is improvements it would be convincing enough for a 3rd Fox deal. Obviously he could be traded before that junction but asking what the rationale or returns would be in that instance compared to now is at least worth pondering.
Fox clearly isn’t the first problem or place to look in trading. That extends more to a needed Barnes and hopeful Hield trade, if not other players to buoy or add assets to them two. Those are essential deals that should happen and could change the calculus of everything mentioned above. But even with those I doubt we will have a lot of clear ways to improve over the next 4 years to a satisfying degree to warrant that choice over maximizing the most inconsequential years of our most important asset.
The trove the likes of Barnes, Fox hopefully Buddy and eventually Holmes could garner collectively I suspect warrant a better chance of having a more competitive team in say Haliburton’s sixth year. IMO that is the operating timeline and decisions should be made in accordance to that. Fox might not be the first order in supporting that initiative but I do suspect an inevitable one which begs worthy of considering deals now and on.