by Charlie O. Mallonee
The NBA preseason came to an end for the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night. Now comes the tough job of setting the final roster to begin the regular season. The Kings must be down to 15 players by October 24 and they have 18 players on the roster right now.
To complicate the issue, many teams are evaluating their personnel and are realizing that they do not have the players they need or do not have the players they want to keep for the beginning of the new season. That has caused an uproar of rumors to rise up as “leaks” from reliable sources are reported and repeated about trade deals that teams would like to make or are thinking about making before the start of the season.
The Kings have figured prominently into some of those rumors. If the rumors are to be believed, the Miami Heat are ready to ship point guard Goran Dragic to the Kings in return for Rudy Gay and Darren Collison. Why would the Heat be willing to make this deal? Miami is now in a rebuilding mode after the loss of Dewayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Gay will opt out of his contract at the end of the season and Collison’s contract expires. The money from those contracts plus the money available from Bosh being off the books would give Miami approximately $42-million to spend in 2017-18 season to spend on free agents.
For the Kings, they would receive a high quality player that they would control through the 2018-19 season. Dragic does have a player option in 2019. Dragic would give them a quality point guard to go with Serbian shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic who the Kings anticipate signing before the beginning of the 2017-18 season.
There have also been rumors that a deal with Miami might happen that would send DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay to Miami for Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic. Such a deal cannot happen immediately because Whiteside cannot be traded by league rule until December 15 because he just signed a four-year $98-million contract. The Kings are not going to wait until December to move Gay because his value is falling daily because of his ability to opt out of his contract at the end of the season. That is not to say a Whiteside for Cousins deal could not happen but they will not be tied together with a deal involving Rudy Gay.
On Wednesday, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported that the Kings are pursuing Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio. Rubio – who is owed $43-million over the next three years – is expected to become the Timberwolves back up point about 20 games into the season when number five overall draft pick Kris Dunn takes over the point. Then, Rubio is expected to become expendable. The Kings are trying to expedite the process.
The Kings officially announced on Wednesday afternoon that guard/forward Lamar Patterson has been waived. Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Vlade Divac made the announcement.
The Kings claimed Patterson off waivers from the Atlanta Hawks during the off-season. Patterson played his first season in the NBA with the Hawks in 2015-16. He was drafted in 2014 out the University of Pittsburgh by the Detroit Pistons and round up playing the season in Turkey.
The Kings roster is now down to 17 players. They must make another two cuts before October 24 to have their roster at the league mandated 15 players.