Despite all the “young talent” in Sacramento, the Kings are headed back to the Lottery this June. So what do you do as a franchise when you’re sitting at 7-24 a third of the way through the season? You start to plan for the future. And apparently part of that plan may involve moving Omri Casspi to either Chicago or New York.
The Bulls, in particular, like Casspi not only for his ability to shoot but also his experience in pressure situations after playing at the highest levels of the Euroleague with Maccabi Tel-Aviv as well as his defensive potential, believing that the energetic swingman would develop nicely on D under the guidance of Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. The bonus: Casspi is shooting 40 percent from 3-point range this season – up from 36.9 percent as a rookie – to further squelch his pre-draft rep as a non-shooter.
Yet there are obstacles for interested parties. Casspi is also a favorite of Kings co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof. Sources say Sacramento, furthermore, would likely insist on attaching a long-term contract from the Kings’ roster (such as Francisco Garcia‘s) for the right to acquire Casspi, who’s earning a bargain $1.25 million this season. That could dissuade both the Bulls and the Knicks, with New York especially mindful of preserving salary-cap space for the summer.
Interestingly enough, if the season were to end today, the Bulls (22-10) and Knicks (19-14) would face each other in the first round of the playoffs. With that said, both teams are trying to assemble squads to battle the likes of Boston, Miami and Orlando. If a deal for Casspi were to fall through, other shooting guards that are most likely available for the right price (and have been previously linked with Chicago) include Courtney Lee, J.R. Smith, Stephen Jackson and O.J. Mayo.
If you’re a Kings fan though, you should brace for change before the NBA Trade Deadline comes in February. If not Casspi, Stein notes that Carl Landry (with an expiring $3 million contract and unlikely to re-sign with Sacramento this summer) is “the most likely King to be moved before the deadline.”
What do you think?
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