Ranking trade targets for the Sacramento Kings

The Sacramento Kings are gearing up for a splashy trade deadline. Let's rank their reported targets.
Kyle Kuzma, Harrison Barnes
Kyle Kuzma, Harrison Barnes / Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
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The Sacramento Kings are 23-18, which currently places eighth in the absolute bloodbath known as the Western Conference. While last season proved Sacramento can win in the regular season and put up a fight in the postseason, it's hard to win a championship with the No. 14 offense and No. 17 defense.

Essentially, Sacramento has improved on defense compared to last season, but their offense is far less explosive. The individual excellence of De'Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis persists, but Kevin Huerter and Harrison Barnes are on downward turns, and the second unit leaves a lot to be desired once you move past Sixth Man of the Year frontrunner Malik Monk.

The Kings are expected to pursue upgrades at the trade deadline in a few weeks. While Fox and Sabonis has the feel of a contending core, how many teams have we seen climb the mountaintop without a top-10(ish) player and at least one elite element, either on offense or defense? Sacramento faces long odds. The Kings probably won't add All-Star help with Pascal Siakam off the table, but the Kings can still swing a meaningful trade to boost their slim odds in a kill-or-be-killed West.

Based on reported trade targets from Matt More of The Action Network and Marc Stein, let's rank the players currently tied to Sacramento.

5. Kings should probably avoid Kyle Kuzma

In reality, Kyle Kuzma's four-year, $90 million contract looks worse than it is under the new salary cap. As the NBA's cap ceiling continues to rise, Kumza's payment is in line with a strong role player — not some world-beating superstar. Still, it's a lot of money committed over a long period of time, and Kuzma doesn't necessarily move the needle a ton for Sacramento.

It's clear the Kings want an upgrade on the wing. The Harrison Barnes, Keegan Murray, Kevin Huerter triumvirate hasn't quite lived up to expectations in 2023-24. Kuzma has been stuck on the god-awful Washington Wizards, carrying an outsized burden for a roster held together by Elmer's glue and thumb tacks. We can't really blame Kuzma for having some of the worst impact metrics on the Wizards and basketball at large.

Teams are instead focused on the archetype and his past accomplishments. Kuzma is still a positive asset from all indications, so Sacramento would have to part with multiple first-round picks to even get the conversation started. Kuzma won the championship with Los Angeles in the Bubble. When his role is more streamlined, there is value to be mined from a talented secondary shot-maker who can defend a couple positions.

Still, Kuzma isn't an elite 3-point shooter (34.3 percent on 6.7 attempts) and he has a maddening habit of forcing contested mid-range jumpers and freestyling more often than he should. That's fine, maybe even necessary in Washington, but he would need to adjust rapidly to a new setting in Sacramento.

He's not a bad target necessarily, but Kuzma simply isn't the best target either.