Trade Deadline Marathon: Day 7.1
The Sacramento Kings sit at 21-21 and in 10th place in the West. They are currently one game out of 8th place, behind the Lakers who are limping without King James. They need an infusion of talent to maintain pace in the playoff race.
Sacramento is set at the guard spots with De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic. They have a plethora of young power forwards that need playing time: Marvin Bagley, Harry Giles, and Skal Labissiere. What they don’t have is a reliable center or small forward.
This trade brings Nikola Vucevic and Jonathon Simmons to the capital of California. Vuc is a borderline All-Star this year (20 points, 12 rebounds, 3.7 assists) and can help the Kings in half-court offense. Cauley-Stein, who is departing in this deal, has been maddeningly inconsistent.
Vucevic is regarded as a liability on defense but the advanced metrics say that he is a plus defender (3.3 DBPM and 2.2 DWS). Simmons is a defensive minded wing whose shooting has cratered and his minutes have been reduced in Orlando. Vuc finally gets to play on a winning team and Simmons gets revitalized by playing with a real point guard again.
The Kings ship out Cauley-Stein and Zach Randolph as, essentially, expiring contracts. The Magic take a flyer on the young wing Justin Jackson and get back a reliable 2nd string point guard in Yogi Farrell. For the Magic, they free up playing time for Mo Bamba and Jonathan Isaac.
The projection calls this a win-win as both squads increase their projected win totals. The Kings are projected to increase their win total by 7, which may get them in the playoffs for the first time since 1972...okay, it was 2006 but that was a dozen years ago.