Grade the Trade: Kings add perfect Sabonis partner in proposed deal with Pistons

Domantas Sabonis
Domantas Sabonis / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
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DET-SAC Huerter-Stewart Trade

Who gets moved in a trade proposal involving Detroit and Sacramento?

The Pistons are surprisingly without cap space, just over seven million above the cap threshold. However, Detroit can create cap space by relieving themselves of a $31 million cap hold via James Wiseman. Additionally, Malachi Flynn has a $11 million cap hold. Both players were inconsistently a part of the team's rotation, becoming likely departures in free agency. Simone Fontecchio has a cap hold of over five million dollars, and he'll likely return as a starter next season.

Detroit does have nearly all of its first and second apron cap space, in addition to the additional cap space it will open up. Detroit is expected to be active and aggressive in both the free agent and trade markets. One of the biggest areas of need for their roster is shooting, where they ranked 26th in three-point percentage (34.8), dead last (30th) in makes per game (11.0), and 27th in points per game (109.9), and 24th in both field goal percentage (46.3) and makes per game (40.9).

Rumors have begun to swirl regarding the availability of Pistons forward Isaiah Stewart. Not only is Detroit interested in shopping Stewart's potential market, but his potential market is increasing. Just 23 years old, Stewart is entering year one of his four-year, $60 million contract extension. Teams in the league view the promising big man similarly to Naz Reid; as a versatile, young frontcourt option for teams looking to fill their roster to contend. For Detroit, though, contention isn't in their near future.

Stewart averaged 11 points per game and seven rebounds per game, shooting 49 percent, 38 percent from three, and 75 percent from the free throw line. Stewart's efficiency increased in season four from season three for Stewart, both on nearly identical volume for the versatile big man. With a chance to add another young forward in the draft, Detroit could explore trading Stewart for a shooting wing to improve their perimeter play heading into the next season and beyond.

Transitioning to Sacramento, the Kings have been shopping both Kevin Huerter and Harrison Barnes for roughly two offseason now. Starting with Huerter, his market appears to be growing, as a 25-year-old sharpshooting wing that could help most teams in the league. Huerter will be entering year three of his four-year, $65 million contract. Meanwhile, the 32-year-old Barnes has two years left on his three-year, $54 million contract. As a chippy veteran, Barnes can contribute for a multitude of teams.

Sacramento has rumored interest in several big names, such as Kyle Kuzma, Zach LaVine, and Brandon Ingram. However, this isn't the only way the Kings can improve. Even though Sacramento could choose the deadly route of super-teams, which has been unproven in recent NBA history, they could easily attempt to fill their roster out through the draft or marginally upgrade their roster.

By packaging Huerter, Barnes, and the 13th pick, the Kings are hopeful they can find a suitable partner, intrigued by their best package. However, with limited draft assets and physical players to move, the Kings can easily be outbid by teams with more to offer, like the Knicks, Rockets, Thunder, Grizzlies, and Jazz, among other teams. As a result, preparing for separate trade packages involving Huerter and Barnes would be a reasonable solution, both with and without their 13th overall pick.

Two teams facing two different paths of uncertainty, a trade between them could help kickstart their futures. Whether it's Barnes or Huerter, Detroit can insert a key floor spacing veteran to an extremely young core trying to win more games (or be more competitive at least). Meanwhile, Sacramento took a step back in 2023-24 after breaking out in 2022-23, remaining a few key pieces away from becoming a top contender.

The proposed trade addresses needs for both teams. Detroit gets much-needed shooting, while Sacramento finally finds a potential long-term solution in the frontcourt at forward alongside Domantas Sabonis. There are a few variations of this trade that can be done. If Detroit is looking for a veteran presence and more defense, they could ask for Harrison Barnes and Chris Duarte or Davion Mitchell from the Kings. However, as discussed earlier, shooting is a desperate need for the Pistons.

There are no major salary dumps going on in this deal, although Detroit is taking on a few million dollars more per season in the short term. Throwing in a 2026 second round pick sweetens the deal for Detroit, in a lateral move for both sides that could pay off positively in the long run thanks to player fit and team need. While the trade seems marginal, both teams have justified reasoning for accepting.