SACRAMENTO–The NBA trade deadline can hatch some absurd scenarios and head-scratching juxtapositions, a couple of which found their way into Golden 1 Center on Monday night.
The lottery-bound Kings and Timberwolves are unlikely to stand still come Thursday afternoon, but you have to wonder what it is either club will come up with to swing a deal, let alone significantly affect their futures.
As an aside, the Kings enjoyed a rare winner on the hardwood, lapping Minnesota early only to hold on late in a 113-109 win, sending the visitors to a telling, 12th consecutive loss. Minnesota’s centerpiece big man, Karl Anthony-Towns picked this depth of losing before the game to express his displeasure with All-Star voters who bypassed Towns in the game’s final vote tallies, prompting him to say, “It’s unfortunate this year’s All-Star Game won’t have the 24 best players in the NBA.”
“It’s about being in the NBA finals, being in the playoffs, winning games,” Towns said in trying to rationalize his thought process at this particular moment. “That’s how you build a legacy. All-Star is cool and stuff for the fans, but I’m here for the people in this locker room.”
Towns who has drawn interest from the Warriors and Celtics as a finishing piece to their title aspirations might not be sending championship signals with his play. Minnesota is 0-16 in the last 16 games Towns has been available, and the team’s defensive rating plummets with the big man on the floor.
Regardless, the Wolves would prefer to hold on to their biggest asset which is how forward Robert Covington’s name is heard most frequently in trade talks. But reportedly, the Wolves are demanding two first rounders in exchange for their 6’8″ defensive whiz.
And how’s that discourse going? Well, on Monday, Covington looked distracted, missing seven of his first eight shots, including three air balls as Minnesota fell behind by 18 points before the half.
For the Kings, Dewayne Dedmon returned from two days away from the team with an illness to turn in his most inspired performance as King: 12 rebounds, five blocks (including a big one on Andrew Wiggins with 20 seconds remaining and the Kings nursing a five-point lead) four assists, four points. Dedmon’s previous trade demands have relented, and now with Marvin Bagley Jr. and Richaun Holmes still unavailable, the journeyman center seems to have a place in the Sacramento rotation.
“He did a lot for us today, altering shots, saving possessions,” said De’Aaron Fox of Dedmon.
Fox led the Kings with 31 points, 5 assists. The Kings shot 51 percent from the floor for the game, including 14 of 27 from three. Towns led Minnesota with 22 points.
“We just got to keep pounding the rock,” said coach Ryan Saunders, who hasn’t endured any speculation about his job status despite 26 losses in the Wolves’ last 31 games. “Eventually it breaks. You just keep pounding the rock and that’s not an empty line because if you just keep staying with it, keep being diligent in your preparation and do things the right way, eventually good things will come.”
Bogdan Bogdanovich contributed a super efficient game for the Kings with 23 points on just seven shot attempts along with three assists and just one turnover in 31 minutes. Could he be the missing piece in Laker land? Maybe, but why would the Kings deal one of their prized assets at the moment he’s establishing himself as a starting NBA combo guard, or be so helpful to the rival Lakers even if a trade yields Kyle Kuzma?
The Kings have won four of six, after a six-game losing skid, and have three days of preparation–and two days of trade deadline anticipation–before hosting the Miami Heat on Friday.