Do the Sacramento Kings need a big trade to be genuine contenders?

Sacramento Kings guards Malik Monk and De'Aaron Fox, power forward Domantas Sabonis (Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)
Sacramento Kings guards Malik Monk and De'Aaron Fox, power forward Domantas Sabonis (Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Sacramento Kings lit the beam again on Monday night, pulling away from a Ja Morant-less Memphis Grizzlies to record a blowout 133-100 win. It continues an incredible season for Mike Brown’s men, with the Kings solidifying themselves in third-place in the West with a 27-19 record.

Sacramento are on the verge of making the playoffs for the first time in 17 seasons, though few expect them to make an even more significant jump into becoming an actual threat for the title.

Could the Sacramento Kings make another seismic deal and enter genuine championship contention before the trade deadline?

The Kings are no stranger to making a major move at the deadline — just last season they made a controversial move to acquire Domantas Sabonis for Tyrese Haliburton. The trade was met by immediate criticism on the Kings side, but it’s worked out as a rare win-win deal so far with both players in All-Star level form.

Sacramento’s roster is far from bulletproof despite their considerable leap this season. The major question is whether any realistic targets could actually move the needle significantly enough to have fans truly dreaming of ultimate glory.

The immediate upgrade could be finding greater depth at the forward positions — Brown is really only utilizing starters Harrison Barnes and Keegan Murray, along with veteran Trey Lyles. The Kings major two bench pieces are both guards, Malik Monk and Davion Mitchell, meaning they often find themselves playing smaller with Kevin Huerter at the three.

However, there’s a couple of issues with filling the hole of forward depth. Firstly, Barnes’ salary would be the one most likely moved in any deal for a player around $20 million. Secondly, any potential major upgrade would have the seller demanding Murray as part of the package. Thirdly and most importantly, the Barnes and Murray pairing is really freaking good.

That was never more evident than when the duo went an absurd 8-for-8 from three-point range in the first-quarter against the Grizzlies. Players like Bojan Bogdanovic, OG Anunoby and Kyle Kuzma could each be realistic targets, but they’re all minimal upgrades from Barnes at best.

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Like some other young teams around the league, the Kings would be best served standing pat and gaining some playoff experience first and foremost. If they could get another forward option on the cheap (they were linked to Rui Hachimura before his trade to the Lakers), then that would be a worthy deal to make. Unless a genuine All-NBA calibre player were to become available though, don’t expect Sacramento to be making headlines at the deadline this time around.