The Kings might not be selling at the trade deadline.
In fact, the earliest indication is they’re buying(/saving money).
Sacramento will send Cory Joseph and picks to the Pistons for Delon Wright in exchange of point guards.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Kings are sending a 2021 via second-round pick via Lakers and their own 2024 second-rounder to Pistons in the deal, source tells ESPN. https://t.co/yXGXXwbsL6
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 25, 2021
Wright is better and younger than Joseph. Though the 28-year-old Wright isn’t an ideal match age-wise with De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton, Wright is near Harrison Barnes, Richaun Holmes and Buddy Hield. At 6-foot-5, Wright can also better handle multi-guard lineups with Fox and Haliburton.
Of course, this wasn’t just about ability.
Wright will cost Sacramento $1,306,849 less than Joseph would have the rest of the season.
Though Wright ($8,526,316 guaranteed salary) will be more expensive than Joseph ($2.4 million guaranteed) next season, the Kings will have time to reorganize their payroll by then. They’ll also be further removed from the economy-upending coronavirus pandemic.
This follows the Mfiondu Kabengele-Clippers trade, which netted Sacramento cash.
The Pistons come out ahead after trading Trevor Ariza for Wright last offseason.
Ariza just fetched only one second-rounder. The Pistons got two second-rounders for Wright.
Detroit must accept Joseph’s cap hit next season while the Thunder took no long-term salary for Ariza, but that’s a small price. The Lakers’ 2021 second-rounder is rising. By prioritizing the present and, well, being themselves, the Kings aren’t inspiring for 2024.
The Pistons also got a partial season from a contributing Wright in case they were ready to compete this year. That value was merely hypothetical, though. Detroit is last in the Eastern Conference.
So, it was a good time to sell on Wright and get a couple picks.
Why Sacramento (19-25, three games and two teams out of play-in position) is trading picks for an immediate upgrade is more suspect. Even with Wright, the Kings’ postseason chances are slim. The payroll reduction is minor.
But Wright could also provide value next season, when his salary is quite reasonable. This trade will be more likely to pay off for the Kings then.