Despite how you feel about the moves Monte McNair made to improve the Sacramento Kings this offseason, the end result is a roster that looks a lot like the roster that lost to the Golden State Warriors in Round 1 of the 2023 NBA Playoffs. I think it’s fair to say, while inserting however many caveats you’d like here, that the Kings are running it back and banking on internal improvement, health, and some new options on the fringes of the rotation, to improve.
I also think it’s fair to say that this isn’t a bad bet. It’s probably a sensible bet. There are enough good young players on this roster that internal improvement and new options on the fringes could be enough to secure a deeper playoff run – a successful season to most critics. And I don’t believe that we’re just having the dreaded internal improvement conversations of the Maloof era all over again. These young Kings actually have the capacity to improve to the degree necessary for a better result next season.
However, if the Kings stumble and take a step back, an entirely possible outcome in an improved Western Conference, McNair is going to take some heat for what he didn’t do. But we aren’t there yet. There is a lot of basketball to play, and plenty of trades to (likely) waste our time discussing.
That leads us to today’s question: Wiill Monte McNair make a big move this season? Will it be out of desperation because the Kings are struggling? Will it be out of aggression because the team is playing well and he wants to turn this squad into a legitimate title contender?
Nobody can answer that, but it sure feels like there is a lot on the trade table right now. OG Anunoby. Pascal Siakam. Karl-Anthony Towns. DeMar DeRozan. Paul George. Deandre Ayton. Zach LaVine. Trae Young. Mikal Bridges. Damian Lillard. James Harden. Some of those players make significantly more sense for the Kings than others, but there is plenty of discontent around the league, and McNair has the assets to strike.
We know the Kings have had legitimate trade discussions about several of these players. I’m looking squarely at OG Anunoby when I say this because the fit seems so ideal considering cost, skills, position, and team needs. If OG is a King at some point this season I will not be surprised, and that addition would change the ceiling of this team dramatically. The Kings don’t need a savior. They need one more legitimate difference maker.
Will McNair find one before the playoffs start?