The Sacramento Kings is trying to inject new blood into its system as they traded their shooting guard Marco Belinelli for the 22nd pick of the Hornets in Thursday’s NBA Draft which was held in Brooklyn.
The Hornets selected Syracuse shooting guard Malachi Richardson who will be shipped to the Kings next month once the proposed trade becomes official. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical noted that the trade has yet to be official due to due to salary cap issues. It is noted that increase in the salary cap will take effect on July 1.
For the Kings, they signed Belinelli to a three-year $19 million contract last July 2015 but failed to live to the expectations. Because of his dismal performance, the Kings are thinking that he would best improve with other teams. Aside from trading Belinelli, the Kings will get financial flexibility as they try to use their cap in landing a superstar via free agency.
Kings coach Dave Joerger wants a diversified system to run his team and with the hopeful addition of Richardson it could add fluidity as they also picked Isaiah Cousins in the second round and the 59th overall pick. Joerger is looking as running on both ends of the floor as they are adding more guards to their roster. For the Hornets, they must first build financial flexibility for them to re-sign their free agents and accommodate Belinelli as well.
By acquiring Belinelli, the Hornets according to the Charlotte Observer won’t re-sign shooting guard Courtney Lee, who the team acquired from the Memphis Grizzlies at the trade deadline. The Observer noted that Lee might command an annual salary of $10 million or more per season this summer since the NBA has granted a $94 salary cap for the teams next season.
What the Hornets will try to do is have Nicolas Batum re-sign with them and slide him at the shooting guard position with Belinelli as his backup. From there, the Hornets would have Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at the small forward position.
This is not the first time the Hornets have expressed interest in Belinelli. The Hornets were reportedly pursuing him last summer via free agency before he chose to pay for the Kings.
Belinelli has also played for the Golden State Warriors, Toronto Raptors, New Orleans Hornets, Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs, wherein he won an NBA championship in 2014. Belinelli was also the 2014 NBA All-Star three-point shootout winner, wherein he beat Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal.
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