Sacramento hasn't made the playoffs since the Rick Adelman era ended about a decade ago. In fact, they haven't even gotten close to entering the post-season, as missing by eight games during the 2015-16 campaign has been the closest the franchise has been. It isn't all doom and gloom in California's capital, however, as DeMarcus Cousins is as good a player to build with, to go with a mid lottery pick and incoming cap space. With the right moves, Sacramento may be back into the thick of things as a contender for the bottom half of the West's final eight.
FRONT OFFICE: Vivek Ranadive has put all trust in the hands of former King, Vlade Divac, to try to change the fortunes of the franchise around. I'll stick with Divac for this upcoming season and give him a chance to turn things around in Sacramento. However, I throw some money at Gary Sacks and whittle him away from the Los Angeles Clippers to be Divac's assistant and the head scout.
George Karl was already fired, leaving the search for a new head coach wide open. A players' coach is definitely needed, as Cousins clashed with Karl, and someone that can control his ego would be great. Lionel Hollins would be the guy I go after. During his tenure with the Memphis Grizzlies, Hollins' got the most out of his players, and despite his struggles with the Brooklyn Nets, Hollins would get the Kings to, hopefully, play as a unit and the defensive side would be exponentially greater.
DRAFT NIGHT: Sacramento needs to win a coin-flip to keep it's selection, which is projected to be #9, and let's say things end up staying as-is. That will be the only selection Sacramento currently has during the 2016 NBA Draft. I'd use the 9th selection to try to trade down to the mid-teens, while ridding myself of the contract of Kosta Koufos. A move that wouldn't be easy to do without falling too far down, or taking back a similar contract that isn't a great fit. I'd take a gamble and contact Phoenix, offer Koufos, the ninth selection in exchange for Tyson Chandler, the 13th selection, the 34th selection and a future second round selection. While this adds about $5 million to Sacramento's payroll, Chandler will provide some solid veteran leadership, and it also gives the Kings an additional pick to play with.
At #13, I take a flyer on Dejounte Murray, the freshman guard out of the University of Washington. Murray is a solid combination guard, though doesn't have the strength to guard most two guards, and his three point shot still needs a bit of work. His positives, however, include great athleticism and quickness, handles that are among the best you'd find, with a motor that is ever improving. At #34, I take Tyler Ulis and don't even look back. Ulis would look great as a scoring super sub, and comes in the mold of an Isaiah Thomas, but will remain in NoCal for as long as plausible.
TRADES|FREE AGENCY: The biggest question heading into the summer for Sacramento is the status of Rajon Rondo, as an unrestricted free agent. Let him walk and get paid elsewhere. Sacramento should have somewhere in the vicinity of $20 million plus to spend, the roster needs to be finalized to get the playoff drought done with. Needs do include a point guard with Rondo leaving, and getting a solid two guard would also be great. Mike Conley would be the top target at the point-guard slot, and with Hollins, that may be possible, though, can't see it occurring. End up giving Seth Curry a two year deal, valued at $25 million to stick around and start, with two capable backups in Darren Collison and Ulis.
At the wings, Eric Gordon is brought in on a three year deal valued at $28 million, greatly cutting into the Kings cap space, with insurance put in due to the injury concerns. Gordon makes Ben McLemore expendable, sending him to Philadelphia for the future pick that is owed to be extinguished, and three second round selections. Jared Dudley is brought in on a one year deal to be a glue bench guy, while Solomon Hill is given a minimum deal to be the emergency small forward.
Up front, the Kings need to bring in a low post banger, and Ian Mahinmi would be great. However, I expect Mahinmi to get overpaid elsewhere. Kings end up settling for another veteran in Nene, giving him the remainder of available cap space on a two year deal with year two being a team option, and bring back Quincy Acy for another year to finalize the unit.
DEPTH CHART: CE: Willie Cauley-Stein | Tyson Chandler | Nene PF: DeMarcus Cousins | Omri Casspi | Quincy Acy SF: Rudy Gay | Jared Dudley | Solomon Hill SG: Eric Gordon | Marco Belinelli | Dejontue Murray PG: Seth Curry| Darren Collison | Tyler Ulis
Will that be enough to make the playoffs and end the decade plus long drought? Possibly. Enough to win it all? Not at all.