The Kings are looking more and more like buyers instead of sellers at the NBA trade deadline.
Sacramento is "aggressively pursuing" a deal with the Chicago Bulls for veteran big man Pau Gasol, according to Yahoo! Sports.
The deal has plenty of issues before proceeding, but according to the report, the Kings would send prized free agent acquisition Kosta Koufos, former first-round pick Ben McLemore and reduce the restrictions on the team’s 2016 first round pick, which Chicago currently holds.
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Gasol is no spring chicken. But the six-time All-Star is still productive at 35, averaging 17 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists and two blocks per game. He also fulfills the Kings need for defense in a big way.
The 16-year-vet makes $7.5 million this season and has a player option next year at $7.8 million. He has consistently said that he would like to opt out and re-sign with the Bulls during the summer, but there is no word on whether that would still be the plan if dealt to Sacramento.
Along with Gasol, the Kings would reportedly receive small forward Tony Snell. Sacramento was high on Snell during the 2013 NBA Draft process. They brought him in for two separate workouts before settling on McLemore with the seventh overall selection.
Like McLemore, Snell, 24, has struggled to find consistency as a pro. He still has potential as a 3-and-D wing, but he’s averaging just 5.5 points in 20.7 minutes per game.
The Kings owe the Bulls a top 10 protected pick either this summer or next. In the proposed deal, the Kings are allegedly willing to adjust the lottery projections this summer, but in order to do that, they need permission from the Philadelphia 76ers, who have the right to swap picks with the Sacramento if falls in the top ten.
Wednesday night general manager Vlade Divac promised the Kings would be active at Thursday’s trade deadline.
“We’re going to do our best to make some trades, if possible, only to improve our team,” Divac said. “If that’s the case for tomorrow, we’ll do that.”
When pressed on whether he thought the Kings would make a deal, Divac spoke confidently that something would get done.
“Yeah, I expected it today, but it didn’t happen, but I expect tomorrow, we’ll see,” Divac said.
Clearly the Kings haven’t given up on a potential playoff run this season. They currently sit at 22-31, 4.5 games behind the Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers who are tied for the seventh spot in the Western Conference standings.