Editors note: On Wednesday, reports stated that the Kings were shopping De’Aaron Fox in trade talks with the Pacers and 76ers. Since then, The Athletic has reported that the Kings have reportedly reversed course and will not trade Fox.
According to The Athletic, the Kings will remain active in trade conversations but have informed teams in the trade market that are intent on building their franchise around Fox and Tyrese Haliburton. The Kings reportedly informed Fox and his representation that they do not want to trade him and want to center the team around him and Haliburton as well.
The Athletic further reports that a deal for Domantas Sabonis will not happen. It remains to be seen how the Kings decision will impact their ability to trade for Ben Simmons.
According to Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee, the Sacrament Kings are shopping De’Aaron Fox in trade talks for Indiana Pacers All-Star Domantas Sabonis and Ben Simmons ahead of the NBA’s trade deadline in February,
Fox was reportedly off the table in trade discussions during the offseason, but the Kings (18-28) are 11th in the Western Conference and have reversed course as they fight for a spot in the play-in tournament.
The Kings were also rumored to have been involved in trade talks with the Philadelphia 7ers for Simmons during the offseason, but negotiations stalled since the Kings didn’t want to give up Fox. That has reportedly changed, per Anderson, The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported on The Athletic NBA Show podcast that he sees Sabonis and Simmons as the KIngs’ two biggest priorities ahead of the trade deadline.
The Kings rewarded Fox with a five-year contract extension after the 24-year-old point guard averaged a career-high 25.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 7.2 assists per game last season while shooting 47.7 percent from the field and 32.2 percent from deep. The front-office brass reportedly had lofty expectations of Fox, expecting the Kentucky product to match or exceed those numbers during the 2021-2022 season.
Through 42 games, Fox is putting 20.9 points, 5.1 assists, 3.7 rebounds on 45.7 percent shooting from the field, and a career-worse 25.3 percent from downtown.
For Sabonis, his name has been involved in trade talks since December. The Pacers are 15-29, 13th in the East, and are reportedly looking to rebuild and move Sabonis, Caris LeVert, and Myles Turner. The two-time All-Star has put up solid numbers, averaging 18.9 points, 11.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.0 steal per game on top of shooting 57.3 percent from the floor.
Exchanging Fox for Sabonis or Simmons could reverse the fortunes of the Kings who have toiled through two decades of perennial futility. Sacramento hasn’t reached the playoffs since 2005-06, the longest active drought in the League by 10 years. Trading Sabonis, LeVert, and Turner will only accelerate the Pacers’ reported intent to rebuild.