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If that Sacramento Kings De’Aaron Fox drafted number 5 in the 2017 NBA draft, the franchise hoped the lightning-fast point guard could overcome the franchise’s playoff drought. With Fox in its fifth NBA season and Sacramento no closer to a playoff game, changes could be on the cards.
Things looked promising, even after a disappointing 2020-21 season for the Kings. Fox had career highs for the first time in his young career in points (25.2 ppg), three points (103), averaging more than 20 points and more than seven assists. Arguably the fastest player in the NBA was ready to take another step forward in the first year of his massive contract, even if Luke Walton returned as head coach.
But things are out of joint, an all-too-well-known trend for one of the most unfortunate franchises in professional sports. Heading into yet another season with a record under 500 and a 16th straight year without a playoff appearance, it’s time for the Kings to hit the reset button by exploring radical change.
Let’s examine three potential landing sites for a De’Aaron Fox trade.
De’Aaron Fox was traded to Houston Rockets
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Realistically, few teams have the needs and potential assets to pursue a De’Aaron Fox trade. One of them happens to have some significance to Fox. While the 23-year-old was born in New Orleans, Houston is his hometown and it might be an ideal landing spot for the young guard.
Houston is trying to get it working at point guard with Kevin Porter Jr., but the results so far cast serious doubts that it will work. Porter Jr. flips it four times per game and plays a pivotal role in that -1.0 offensive profit shares. Houston needs a guard who can pair it with Jalen Green’s shootout.
There is one possible scenario that salaries could align. If the Los Angeles Clippers are interested in acquiring John Wall, many have suggested that Serge Ibaka, Luke Kennard, and Eric Bledsoe go to Houston. But Ibaka ($ 9.7 million expiring contract and Bledsoe could travel to Sacramento, with salaries matching for all parties.
Houston brings Fox home and places him next to a developing shooter who could develop into a stellar player, and Wall’s contract continues. Meanwhile, Sacramento receives two first-round picks and long-term financial relief.
Boston Celtics swing with talented point guard
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the Boston Celtics will always be scouring the trading market to see if they can buy cheap a player who may be fixated in a better environment. Fox is struggling in Sacramento, but joining a stable Celtics franchise with two exciting young talents (Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown) could quickly change things for him.
- Boston Celtics Trade: Marcus Smart. Aaron Nesmith, first round pick 2022, first round pick 2024
- Sacramento Kings trade: De’Aaron Fox
Fox would benefit greatly from being in a situation where he doesn’t have to be the star. Opponents will continue to focus on Tatum, creating lanes for Fox to drive to the tire. It would likely help him get back to that unstoppable eruption he had previously shown in Sacramento that made him so dangerous in transition and driving to the edge.
Sacramento is weak along the wing, so Nesmith would be a nice buy-low talent who would get a lot of run with the Rebuild Kings. Smart could start alongside Tyrese Haliburton, with Davion Mitchell coming off the bench. Adding two first-round picks would also give the Kings more momentum in future draft classes, the only way this franchise to acquire talent.
New Orleans Pelicans roll the dice for potential All-Stars
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The New Orleans Pelicans have made many point guard mistakes this off-season, issues that need to be corrected in order for things to be reversed. New Orleans hoped that Kira Lewis Jr. could become the next De’Aaron Fox, but that experiment failed. Landing the real thing could be the first step in convincing Zion Williamson upon his return that it can work here.
- De’Aaron Fox’s contract: $ 28.1 million (2021-’22) $ 30.35 million (2022-’23), $ 32.6 million (2023-’23), $ 34.85 million (2024-’25) , $ 37.09 million (2025-’26)
When it comes to a trading package, there are several directions that conversations can go. Tomas Satoransky ($ 10 million expiring contract) and rookie striker Trey Murphy III would likely have to enter the deal along with a future selection for the first round. Sacramento may want a future first-round pick of the Lakers, given the direction their rival is headed. The goal of the Kings is to acquire as many young talents and draft picks as possible.
As for the pelicans, this is the kind of talent that David Griffin needs to target. He’s kept years of draft picks in store for a reason to attract potential all-star talent. Fox showed this ability every year and considering he will only turn 24 on December 20th there is plenty of time to develop his game. The combination of Fox, Zion and Brandon Ingram could give the Pelicans a chance to fight for the playoffs every year.