Sacramento Kings Trade Ledger Offers Little Hope Entering Key Offseason

The best the Sacramento Kings got out of a player who, just 16 months ago, was considered a very tradeable asset is a hearty chuckle.

Last January heading into the NBA trade deadline, there was ample talk about interest around the league in forward Nemanja Bjelica, then with the Kings. He shot 41.9% from the 3-point line last year and, despite his defensive deficiencies, Bjelica was the kind of stretch-4 multiple potential playoff teams wanted. The Kings were said to have offered him for Kyle Kuzma of the Lakers, a trade that was never going to happen, but there was interest from plenty of other teams.

Instead, the Kings waited until Bjelica’s trade value fell apart this year and dealt him to Miami, getting back Chris Silva and Moe Harkless. Silva played four games and scored a total of two points before Sacramento waived him, while Harkless averaged 6.9 points in a 26-game audition for the Kings, and now heads into free agency.

Harkless’s main NBA contribution in recent weeks was when he tweeted “LOL” after the Heat were swept by the Bucks, a surprising but completely relatable (as well as pretty funny) bit of pettiness for a guy obviously still bitter about being sent from South Beach to inland NorCal.

Harkless will be a free agent this summer and could yet stick around in Sacramento as an end-of-bench defensive option for coach Luke Walton, and in that sense, maybe he is a special case for the Kings. Because all too often, at least going back to the Vlade Divac reign (which ended with his firing last summer), one of the hallmarks of Sacramento’s handling of potential trade targets has been to get nothing in return.

Harkless is not much, not for a team looking to rebuild like the Kings. But he is, at least, not nothing.

Nothing is precisely what Sacramento received, in the end, for Bogdan Bogdanovic, who was an oft-requested player at last year’s NBA trade deadline. The Kings had offers from the Lakers, Knicks, Heat and others at the 2020 deadline, according to sources, but rebuffed all comers, despite the fact that the team knew it would be nearly impossible to re-sign Bogdanovic after the deal the Kings gave Buddy Hield the previous October.

Divac should have pounced on a Bogdanovic deal last winter. It was his fault the Kings did not do so. Back in November, new GM Monte McNair tried to include Bogdanovic in a sign-and-trade with Milwaukee that would have brought back Donte DiVincenzo, but because that deal was constructed (and leaked to the media) without Bogdanovic’s involvement, the whole plan was deemed illegal and forced to the scrap heap by the NBA office.

So Bogandovic went to Atlanta as a free agent, with no Kings return. That was McNair’s fault.

Dewayne Dedmon? Also Divac’s fault. The Kings had high expectations when they brought him in during 2019 free-agency, but wound up sending him out to Atlanta for the low price of Alex Len and Jabari Parker, plus a second-round pick to the Hawks for the price of taking on Dedmon’s salary.

Len played 15 games for the Kings last year and split this year between Washington and Toronto. Parker played nine games in Sacramento before he was released this season.

There were some positives, like unloading Trevor Ariza last year for second-rounders in 2024 and 25. McNair did add Delon Wright, too, for Cory Joseph and two second-rounders, also bringing in 24-year-old guard Terence Davis in a deal for a low-end second-rounder.

Still, the ledger on Kings trades in the past two go-rounds is decidedly unfavorable and has brought the team very close to nothing of real value. For Bjelica, Bogdanovic, Ariza, Dedmon, Joseph and three second-rounders, the Kings came away with 54 games worth of Harkless, Silva, Len and Parker, plus fliers taken on Davis and Wright, and one second-round pick. That is a grim intake considering the value of those outgoing players entering last season.  

There is reason to have some hope that McNair will have a defter hand than Divac when it comes to trades—the Wright deal was certainly a good value, as was the Davis trade, even if neither has a real long-term impact. The stench of the Bogdanovic fiasco lingers, though, and it belongs to McNair.

The organization will need to do a lot better on the trade market in the coming weeks. That’s because it is likely that center Richaun Holmes, a free agent, played himself beyond the Kings’ ability to pay him and will wind up elsewhere—via sign-and-trade, the Kings are hoping.

McNair also must drum up interest in two players who have very little traction around the league at this point—Hield, who has made little secret about his desire to escape Sacto, and 2018 No. 2 pick Marvin Bagley, who stands as one of the great draft blunders of the past three decades and also wants out of town.

Getting some kind of value for those two would be a huge step for McNair. And considering the lack of value Kings assets have drawn in the recent past, bringing back some actual assets would be a huge step for the franchise as a whole.

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