Lodi News-Sentinel

Kings stand pat at NBA trade deadline; Brown confident in current roster


Despite a flurry of moves throughout the NBA during one of the most hectic trade deadlines in recent memory, the Sacramento Kings decided to stand pat.

General Manager Monte McNair and Assistant GM Wes Wilcox — who signed extensions this month to remain with Sacramento beyond this season — did not make a substantia­l trade ahead of Thursday’s noon deadline despite a slew of playoff competitor­s in the Western Conference making trades to bolster their rosters.

The Kings recently concluded a seasonlong seven-game road trip and will host back-to-back games against the Dallas Mavericks Friday and Saturday. The team sits at 31-23, good for the third seed in the Western Conference. Wednesday’s win against the Houston Rockets exceeded the previous season’s win total with 28 games left in the season.

“We like our team,” head coach Mike Brown said at practice Thursday. “The guys have been competitiv­e and they’re learning and growing throughout this process, and getting a little bit better. So it’s a good challenge for us.”

And given the Kings’ spent the last two seasons rebuilding, starting with the trade to acquire center Domantas Sabonis for Tyrese Haliburton at last year’s deadline, Sacramento could be considered ahead of schedule in their organizati­onal reconstruc­tion. They also traded a protected 2024 firstround draft pick for shooting guard Kevin Huerter.

The Suns added future Hall of Famer Kevin Durant, the Mavericks brought in point guard Kyrie Irving, D’Angelo Russell went to the Lakers, Russell Westbrook is headed to Utah (though he’s expected to get bought out), and the Warriors brought back defensive ace Gary Payton II. The Clippers added Rockets sharpshoot­er Eric Gordon, scoring guard Bones Highland and center Mason Plumless.

The Kings currently lead the Pacific Division, which includes the Suns, Lakers, Warriors and Clippers.

“I’ve been around a long time,” said Brown. “I don’t know if I’ve seen one division have as many as trades as our division. And the reality of it is all those teams got better and they brought in high caliber players and is it going to be tougher? Yes . ... We’ve got to bring our hard hats and boots and get after it.”

The lone move McNair and Co. decided to make was on the margins when they acquired Nets youngster Kessler Edwards, who is far closer to a long-term, developmen­tal project than a potential playoff contributo­r.

Other names that had been linked to the Kings leading up to the deadline made moves elsewhere. The Spurs sent swing man Josh Richardson to the Pelicans. The Lakers, who were the most active team at the deadline, acquired Magic center Mo Bamba for point guard Patrick Beverley.

Standing pat allows the Kings to continue to evaluate their roster as the season intensifie­s. Brown has talked throughout the campaign about how things get tougher as the season wears on, particular­ly if the Kings make the playoffs for the first time in 16 years.

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