The Sacramento Kings missed the playoffs for an NBA-record 16 seasons and are desperate for that streak to end, telling new coach Mike Brown they expect a Minnesota-style turnaround next season.
The Portland Trail Blazers are looking to retool Damian Lillard on the fly and build a competitor.
Neither of these teams is on the Let’s Design And Develop A Man For The Lottery timeline, so it’s no surprise they both try to switch places. Marc Stein wrote about it at Substack.
A rare NBA draft rumble from your notoriously draft-shy correspondent: It’s widely expected that both Sacramento and Portland will give serious thought to trading the No. 4 and No. 7 overall picks, respectively, if they come up with appealing win-now swaps can put together. And now I’ve been told that Washington is another top-10 team (10th overall) reportedly weighing the same possibility.
Being open to trade and finding a deal that works are two different things.
Sacramento got lucky in the NBA Draft Lottery, moving up to No. 4, and rumors that they were ready to trade the pick surfaced almost immediately. Assuming Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero are drafted in any particular order (as most would expect) 1-2-3, that would make the very athletic Purdue point guard Jaden Ivey the likely No. 4 make. There are teams that rank him very high (some scouts like him better than Banchero), and the Kings might find a suitor willing to give up an experienced starter to step up and pick Ivey.
Portland slipped a few spots in the draft lottery to No. 7 and there isn’t the same demand for their pick right now, but there is interest. The Trail Blazers can probably find a trading partner, but that pick alone won’t give them back a star player.
Washington is in the same win-now boat with Bradley Beal (if they re-sign him) and Kristaps Porzingis. It’s also no surprise that the Wizards are open to a deal.
The 2022 NBA draft really does start in 4th place, and the Kings will likely be in the thick of it — trading that pick away.