The trade deadline has come and gone, and it came and went in a big way for Sacramento. The Kings made two trades to bring in two new players to their already-near-playoff lineup. Harrison Barnes and Alec Burks are now suiting up in purple and fans should be ecstatic for their upcoming future.
First though, let’s talk about what was lost in the two trades. Starting with Iman Shumpert, the Kings may have trouble replacing the veteran leadership and perimeter defense from the former NBA champion. In his short, one-year tenure in Sacramento, Shumpert not only captured the hearts of thousands of fans, but also his teammates. Following the trade, De’Aaron Fox tweeted out an unsettled emoji and deleted it just moments after. Playing without Shump will certainly present a learning curve for Fox and the young Kings alike, but they’ll have to learn eventually.
Along with Shumpert, the Kings also let go of second-year small forward, Justin Jackson, who never put together his whole game while in Sacramento. He never found his niche on the offensive side of the ball, and it appears he still lacks a standout skill to keep him in the NBA. The expiring contract of Zach Randolph was also included, which is nothing more than a contract as he played a grand total of zero games this season.
On face value, the Kings couldn’t have had a better trade deadline. While Iman Shumpert may have been an essential locker room presence and a glue on the court, Barnes and Burks are each far better statistically. Both players are shooting well above league average from three-point range, 39%, and 38% respectively.
On top of their skill, each player appears to be great people. Following Alec Burks’ trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Utah Jazz were distraught in losing him. His teammates were “shellshocked” by the trade and really missed his presence. With Barnes on the other hand, he was a huge piece of the Golden State Warriors’ first championship run. He sacrificed a lot of his opportunity in order for his team to become real contenders who eventually won the NBA Finals.
Where the trade may not look as perfect, however, is when taking a look at the salaries involved. The acquisition of Harrison Barnes locks the Kings into a two-year deal, rather than the expiring deals involved in the move. Luckily though, it will be unlikely the Kings make any blockbuster signings this offseason anyway, so the slightly decreased cap space shouldn’t make a huge difference. All in all, the Kings won the deadline, and their acquisitions could be huge pieces of their eventual playoff run.