According to a report from Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee, the Sacramento Kings are willing to deal Fox in a trade that returns Simmons or Sabonis, each of whom is a multi-time All-Star. Anderson reports that Sacramento’s willingness to move Fox represents a notable shift for the organization.
“The Kings were not willing to entertain the thought of trading De’Aaron Fox last summer when they started surveying the market for a transformational move to alter the course of the franchise,” he wrote.
“A league source told The Sacramento Bee the Kings have stepped up their pursuit of Indiana Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis and they are including Fox in those discussions. Fox was so far off the table he wasn’t discussed when the Kings approached the Philadelphia 76ers about Ben Simmons last summer, sources with knowledge of the talks told The Bee, but now Fox is reportedly part of those conversations as well.”
Averaging 25.2 points, 7.2 assists, and 1.5 steals, Fox enjoyed a career-best campaign in 2020-21. But his shooting numbers have slipped this season, and the continued emergence of second-year guard Tyrese Haliburton has seen Fox’s responsibilities narrowed in recent months to predominantly scoring rather than scoring and passing.
Simmons’ arrival would invigorate a team that finished last in defensive rating a season ago and is 27th this season. He’s a two-time All-Defensive First Team honoree and finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting in 2020-21. He wouldn’t solve all their issues on that end, but he’d certainly help considerably.
Meanwhile, Sabonis would provide an interior playmaking hub to pair well with Haliburton. He’d diversify and improve Sacramento’s 21st-ranked offense, perhaps allowing them to successfully lean all the way into an offensive-minded identity amid the hunt for a playoff berth.
The Kings are 18-28, but find themselves just 1.5 games back of the Portland Trail Blazers for the West’s final play-in spot. Simmons and Sabonis wouldn’t guarantee anything, though each would increase this team’s chances of ending its lengthy playoff drought. And that chance might be enough to entice the front office to deal Fox, despite his own talents and rise over the years.