The Sacramento Kings are trying to make the playoffs this season, so they figure to be buyers during the trade deadline. They have been linked to the Bulls' Pau Gasol and now are reportedly pursuing the Cavaliers' Iman Shumpert as well, according to the Sacramento Bee. Kosta Koufos and Ben McLemore are two rumored players that could be exchanged in the proposed deal.
Shumpert was traded to Cleveland last season in the last year of his rookie contract. He provided perimeter depth during the team's playoff run and was re-signed to a multi-year deal in the offseason. It now seems the Cavaliers might be ready to part ways with him, as his name has appeared in several trade rumors.
The Kings need to shake things up if they want to make the playoffs, as they are currently 4.5 games behind the Jazz for the eighth seed in the West. Perimeter defense is definitely a need, so it makes sense for them to be interested in Shumpert.
Let's take a closer look at the rumor.
Why the Kings will trade for Shumpert
George Karl has not found the right combination in the starting lineup. Ben McLemore was the starting shooting guard earlier in the season before being replaced by Marco Belinelli. The change helped on offense, but made the already porous Kings' perimeter defense even worse. Sacramento needs a real 3-and-D wing for the position and Shumpert fits that description. If they trade for him, they could slot him next to Rajon Rondo and Rudy Gay and likely see an improvement on the defensive end.
Shumpert is still young and could continue to improve. He's under contract for the next three seasons after this one at a reasonable price and could become a core player for the Kings. Sacramento is not a free agent destination and has had to overpay for free agents in the past. Getting Shumpert now instead of waiting until the offseason to address their lack of wing depth would allow them to use their resources elsewhere with the knowledge that they have a long-term answer at shooting guard already in the roster.
Why the Kings won't trade for Shumpert
Shumpert has the reputation of a solid 3-and-D wing but he has been very inconsistent throughout his career. When he's focused he can play above average defense, but that's not always the case. He's also a career 34 percent shooter from beyond the arc that is connecting on just 32 percent of his three-point attempts this season. He certainly has the tools to develop into a lockdown defender and solid shooter but he's not there yet. It's unclear how much he could help the Kings win now, even if he is an upgrade over McLemore and Belinelli.
While he's a fit on the court, he might not be one in the locker room. There have been reports that one of the reasons the Cavaliers are open to trading Shumpert is because he wants the spotlight. That could prove to be a problem in Sacramento. The Kings already have two big personalities in Rondo and DeMarcus Cousins. They don't need another one. If Shumpert is as interested in his off-court ventures as reported, he might not be happy in a small market that rarely gets national coverage. Adding a potential malcontent to an already volatile situation might not be worth it, considering we are not talking about a star.
Likelihood of happening: 6/10
The Kings need perimeter depth. McLemore could be on the move and Belinelli shouldn't be a starter on a team trying to make the playoffs. Shumpert looks like one of the best wings available, so if Sacramento wants an upgrade, they might have to settle for him, even if the fit isn't perfect.
The Cavaliers have also been reportedly interested in Koufos. If that's true, there's a simple framework to work with already in place for a potential trade.
Both teams will likely explore other options before settling for this one. If nothing better comes along, it would make sense to just pull the trigger and get it done.