There’s an opportunity for the San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings to both get better with sign-and-trade deals in the 2020 offseason.
Continuing on with our “One trade with every team” series, we’re staying in the Pacific division to visit the Sacramento Kings, a team similarly vying for that eighth seed against the San Antonio Spurs in Orlando.
Long considered a laughing stock of an organization, the Kings are shifting their focus toward a core build around point guard De’Aaron Fox. Selected fifth overall in 2017, Fox is a speedy two-way point guard with keen passing vision and potential to be an outstanding three-level-scorer. Their issue thus has been putting a team around him that makes sense.
That leads us to their issue on the wing. They recently locked into a long term contract extension with two-guard Buddy Hield, one of the game’s best shooters, after a rocky negotiation process in the offseason. Head coach Luke Walton toyed with bringing Hield off the bench in favor of soon-to-be restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic because the two are an unnatural fit alongside each other. Instead, they may look to bring in an established player who can serve as a secondary ball-handler to complement both Fox and Hield.
The San Antonio Spurs sign-and-trade DeMar DeRozan to the Sacramento Kings for a sign-and-traded Bogdan Bogdanovic and Nemanja Bjelica.
Ah yes, the sign-and-trade. A once extinct asset to NBA front offices made its triumphant return with players like Malcolm Brogdon and D’Angelo Russell getting flipped to new places with contracts that they couldn’t find elsewhere. Last offseason, we saw a truly spectacular sight: A double sign-and-trade. The Boston Celtics acquired All-NBA point guard Kemba Walker on a new deal in exchange for Terry Rozier with four New Years on his own deal.
That’s what we’re going for here: A win-win-win-win. The way I see it, there are four parties who have to be pleased here: The Kings, Spurs, DeRozan and Bogdanovic. Of course, the organizations will try to do what’s best for them and by swapping youth for a veteran presence, Sacramento would be buying into the philosophy it showed last summer.
When the Kings signed Harrison Barnes, Cory Joseph and a handful of other veterans, they proved to their young players that they believe in the team’s ability to compete now. Sacramento knocked on the door of the eighth seed last season but regressed considerably this year. By swapping Bogdanovic for DeRozan, they’d bring along a true running-mate for Fox.
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For San Antonio, it fills the major gap at the small forward position, where Bogdanovic has spent 57 percent of his career-minutes. The 27-year-old is entering his prime years and wants to take on a starting role after three years of playing backup. He could slide into that starting three-spot in San Antonio and provide secondary ball-handling and floor spacing.
Furthermore, Bogdanovic wouldn’t have to play extended minutes to make a mark. Giving him the starting nod doesn’t mean he had to go 30+ minutes, so the young guards won’t have their minutes cut into. He’s showed that he can assert himself as a team defender and shot creator in less-than-ideal circumstances. Bogdanovic would benefit from playing under a Hall-of-Famer in Coach Pop at a fraction of the price as DeRozan’s next deal.
To make the cap space work, the Spurs would take on the final year of Nemanja Bjelica’s deal as a floor-spacing big man in the best year of his career. Bjelica is a crafty big who can play both frontcourt positions, rebound decently well and hits 42.5 percent of 4.6 triples per game. He’s a solid rotation player that can help San Antonio adapt to the modern game without having long-term financial ramifications.