The Sacramento Kings already had the worst record in the NBA, and now they’ll also have a revamped roster after making a bevy of moves before the trade deadline.
Several players could make their Kings debuts Friday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, and they’ll be looking to help their new club avoid a 10th straight road loss and a seventh consecutive defeat overall.
The six-player deal Sacramento made Wednesday with Chicago and its four-player trade with Minnesota on Thursday were both designed mainly to help out the team’s salary cap situation as it tries to rebuild from what is on pace to be the worst season in franchise history.
The Kings (11-44) dealt veterans Brad Miller and John Salmons to the Bulls for Drew Gooden, Andres Nocioni, Michael Ruffin and Cedric Simmons, sparking a series of other moves in which Ruffin was dealt to Portland for Ike Diogu, and Quincy Douby and Sam Cassell were waived.
Barely 12 hours later, they traded Bobby Brown and Shelden Williams to Minnesota for Rashad McCants and Calvin Booth. Aside from Nocioni, all the players Sacramento acquired have contracts that expire at the end of the season.
“It is (tough), but everyone knows this is a business,” guard Bobby Jackson said. “We were very close with the guys who got traded and I have been traded plenty of times. I know how that happens. That is the one thing that you cannot let affect you when you step on the court are the things that happen during trades.”
It’s unclear which of the new players will be in uniform in Memphis, especially since Gooden has not played since Jan. 19 due to a groin injury. Gooden, who’s averaging 13.1 points and 8.6 rebounds, Nocioni (10.4 points) and McCants (9.1) seem like the players most likely to help Sacramento this season.
With one win in their last 15 games overall - and one in 22 road games dating to before Thanksgiving - the Kings need plenty of help.
They opened the second half with a 105-100 home loss to Atlanta on Wednesday night, playing with a short-handed roster due to Miller and Salmons having just been traded.
Kevin Martin, the team’s top scorer with 24.2 points per game, had 32 points and 11 rebounds, but Sacramento’s defense was again the problem. The Kings gave up more than 100 points for the 16th time in their last 17 games, allowing 116.7 over that span.
Memphis (15-39) has also struggled, coming off three straight losses to give the team 24 defeats in its last 30 games. But the Grizzlies’ last three games have all been on the road, and they’ve won three of their last four at FedEx Forum, including victories over Houston and New Orleans.
They lost back-to-back games at Utah and Portland this week coming out of the All-Star break, but challenged the Trail Blazers before falling 94-90 on Wednesday night. Point guard Mike Conley had 15 points and 10 assists, scoring in double figures for a career-best 10th straight game and notching his first double-double of the season.
The home team has won the last six games and 13 of the last 14 between these teams, including one contest in each city in November. At that time, both teams had different coaches who were eventually fired.