clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Who's who in rumored Nets-Kings talks

New, comments

No one is saying that a proposed trade with the Kings is imminent or even likely, but due to its transformative nature, we asked Brian Fleurantin, who does our game previews, to take a look at what it could mean. We added some game videos and Nik Stauskas DraftExpress profile

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

With the news that the Brooklyn Nets might be looking to make a trade with the Sacramento Kings, this is a good time to learn about the players at the center of the rumored trade. Keep in mind no trade has been made as of yet.

Coming to Brooklyn: Darren Collison

2014-2015

Darren Collison

Games Played

24

Minutes per game

34.7

True Shooting percentage

53.6

Assist rate

26.7

Turnover rate

10

Usage rate

21.7

Rebound rate

6.1

PER

18

Win Shares per 48

.132

Collison would be the center piece of this proposed trade from Brooklyn's perspective. This is Collison's sixth season in the NBA, but he's bounced around a bit. He's played for New Orleans, Indiana, Dallas, Sacramento, Los Angeles and now Sacramento. He also has a bit of a connection to the Nets. He was part of the four team trade in the Summer of 2010 that sent Courtney Lee to Houston and Troy Murphy to the Nets.

On the court, he's dealt with some injuries (missed three games in November), but has been having a fine season despite that. His shooting splits (field goal percentage/three point percentage/free throw percentage) are at career lows two months into the season, but he's still averaged 15.7 points a game while getting to the free throw line at a career high rate. He's shot 46 percent from the field throughout his career, so this temporary blip shouldn't be too worrisome for fans. The biggest benefit Collison gives his team is in his playmaking. He's committing turnovers at a career low rate and is 17th in assists per game at six per game. When he's on the court, the Kings score 107.5 points per 100 possessions, four points better than their overall average and almost 11 (!!) more than when he is out of the game.

Collison's defense has helped Sacramento despite their recent struggles without DeMarcus Cousins. Opponents are only shooting 42.4 percent when DC is defending. Digging into that a bit, they're only shooting 33 percent from three point range against Collison. In a league that has placed a greater emphasis on three point shooting, having a player that is capable of preventing opponents from good looks downtown is crucial. Collison can adequately defend all kinds of perimeter players even when he is at a size disadvantage.

Collison is safely in the second tier of point guards, but this is the best collection of point guards since the glory days of Gary Payton and John Stockton in the 1990s so that's not a knock on his game. A player like DC that sets up his teammates, play quality defense and score when necessary can be very valuable for a team that's trying to hang on in the playoff race.

Collison is only 27 years and is signed to a pretty team friendly contract. He has two more years left on his contract and will only be making a shade over $5 million in those two seasons.

Speaking of his role as the Kings' third best player (behind Cousins and Rudy Gay), Sactown Royalty's Section214 wrote:

The play of Darren Collison in this young season has been one of the better things about this Kings team. He is looking to be a tremendous value to contract, and an invaluable (if not irreplaceable) piece of the current roster. The Kings languish almost every time that he is not on the floor. But this is fool’s gold as long as Collison is the third best player on the roster. His talent and productivity will likely not be enough to get this team to the next level.

The Kings trio has been fantastic when playing together. The trio has been almost 21 points per 100 possessions better than their opponents in their 330 minutes of playing time, next in line after the Cleveland trio of LeBron James-Kyrie Irving-Tristan Thompson and ten (!!!) combinations of Warriors lineups. With Cousins back, the Kings should get closer to the eighth seed.

If he were to join the Nets, he would also be the third best player, trailing Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson. Having a productive, cost effective player like Collison will do wonders for a team like Brooklyn that is trying to free up some cap space for the next couple of seasons. On the court,

Coming to Brooklyn: Derrick Williams

2013-2014

Derrick Williams

Games Played

22

Minutes per game

14.4

True Shooting percentage

53.1

Assist rate

4.5

Turnover rate

10.3

Usage rate

21

Rebound rate

8.2

PER

12.4

Win Shares per 48

.065

Williams has had a pretty disappointing NBA career. The former number two pick in the 2011 draft underachieved in Minnesota and has spent the last season and change in Sacramento. He's playing better than he did in Minnesota, but he's a throw-in in this potential deal. He can extend beyond the three point line, but is a career 30 percent shooter from downtown. He can defend multiple positions and the Kings are a better team on that side of the ball when he's in the game, but he hasn't shown himself good enough to stick at one spot. If he were to join the Nets, he would likely be one of the last big men coming off of the bench.

Why would the Nets be interested in a player like Williams? He can become a free agent this offseason and if the team were to retain him, Williams would receive an $8.26 million qualifying offer. He won't get that so it's best to think of him as salary cap relief.

Of course, he's still only 23.

Coming to Brooklyn: Jason Thompson

2013-2014

Jason Thompson

Games Played

27

Minutes per game

27

True Shooting percentage

45.5

Assist rate

14.1

Turnover rate

14.1

Usage rate

11.9

Rebound rate

14.7

PER

7.6

Win Shares per 48

.037

Thompson has been having the worst season of his six year career. He's shooting a career worst 42 percent from the field and is turning the ball over at a career high rate. If there's anything that can sort of give us a key as to why his percentages are down, it's in where he is taking his shots. In all of his previous seasons, the majority of his attempts came from within three feet of the basket. This year, his shots have come further away from the basket and when he has gotten attempts near the rim, he isn't making them as often as he usually does. He's a capable defender and solid rebounder, two traits that will help the Nets. He would be one of the first big men off the bench along with Mirza Teletovic.

Thompson, 28, is currently making $6 million this season. He has one more season to go on his current contract before a partially guaranteed $6.8 million in the 2016-2017 season. The guarantee would give him $2.65 million. Considering what he can provide and some of the other players with bad (from the team's perspective) contracts, JT isn't so bad.

Coming to Brooklyn: Nik Stauksas

2013-2014

Nik Stauksas

Games Played

27

Minutes per game

13.6

True Shooting percentage

42.3

Assist rate

12.8

Turnover rate

7.5

Usage rate

14.0

Rebound rate

4.1

PER

5

Win Shares per 48

-0.001

Stauskas, a 6'6" shooting guard, wasn't named in original Woj piece, but has been discussed as a piece in the trade. In fact, we've been told he is a critical piece.  He's a 21-year-old rookie and the backup to starting shooting guard Ben McLemore. Sactown is allowing almost 113 points per 100 possessions when Stauskas is on the court, and the concerns about his defense coming into the draft appear to ring true at the moment. Zach Travis of sister site Maize N Brew told Sactown Royalty's Greg Wissinger back in July:

In the end, defense is just something he needs to focus on in the same way he spent time improving his offensive game.  I don't see a physical reason why he can't be a good defender, or even a great one.  It just depends on how bad he wants to improve in that area

Rookies almost always have bad stats, so I wouldn't worry about Stauksas' disappointing start right now. He's only 21 and earned some good reviews coming into the draft. As he gains more experience and playing time, the Canadian should begin to display the potential that made him a lottery pick. And he's not just a spot-up shooter either. He has good handles and athleticism.  He was also the first white NBA player to wear the "I Can't Breathe" warm-up shirt.

Going to Sacramento: Deron Williams

2013-2014

Deron Williams

Games Played

27

Minutes per game

34.5

True Shooting percentage

53.3

Assist rate

28.5

Turnover rate

10.7

Usage rate

23

Rebound rate

5.1

PER

17

Win Shares per 48

.116

Williams is the biggest name involved in this rumored transaction. Since he joined the Nets, Williams has dealt with injuries but hadn't missed a game this season until Sunday's contest against Detroit. In those games, he's averaged 15.6 points and 6.8 assists in 34.5 minutes a night. A recent shooting slump has wrecked his field goal percentage, and he currently sits at a career worst 40.3 percent from the field. Williams did play well in November, and was named "Player of the Week" after one particularly outstanding stretch. When Williams is on his game, he is attacking early in the shot clock and in transition. My colleague Reed Wallach has more on Deron when he's healthy and playing at his best.

Throughout his career, Deron has been best utilized when he isn't the lead option on offense. In Utah, he had Carlos Boozer along with him for most of the ride. In New Jersey and Brooklyn, he's had Brook Lopez (when healthy) and Joe Johnson alongside him. If he were to go to Sacramento, he'd be tasked with setting up Cousins and Gay. With Cousins in the low post, Williams can defer to him when it comes to taking shots.

Williams would also be another big trade acquisition in General Manager Pete D'Alessandro's belt. In the Kings section of the SB Nation NBA Preview, Akis Yerocostas (Aykis16) wrote of D'Alessandro and the Kings post Rudy Gay trade:

Since then, the Kings have been mentioned in just about every trade rumor imaginable, but two names keep coming up with consistency Josh Smith and Rajon Rondo. As the Kings are not a premier free agent destination, trades are usually the only way to get talents like those.  Regardless of whether or not the Kings go after those two, expect Pete D'Alessandro and company to be aggressive.  So strap on your seatbelt Kings fans, because I'm expecting more twists and turns before we get to the end of this rebuilding tunnel.

A two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time All Star certainly fits the bill of a big name. With Kings management looking to boost attendance, a player of Williams' profile could help bring Kings fans back to Arco Sleep Train Arena.

Williams is on year three of the five year, $98 million max contract he signed back in 2012. After this season, he will be making over $21 million a year in the final two years. That max contract has alienated Nets fans in recent years as they feel his performance has not lived up to high expectations. At least nobody's put up a missing poster yet. Oh wait, they did.

NOT Going to Sacramento: Mason Plumlee

2013-2014

Mason Plumlee

Games Played

26

Minutes per game

18.8

True Shooting percentage

51.2

Assist rate

8.4

Turnover rate

8.8

Usage rate

21.5

Rebound rate

18.2

PER

17.6

Win Shares per 48

.114

Here's where things get incredibly interesting. At the beginning of the season, Plumlee was unable to get in a groove as he didn't get consistent minutes and even found himself demoted in the rotation of Jerome Jordan. However, like last season, things opened up once Brook Lopez went down due to injury. Since then, the big guy has averaged around 15 points and nine rebounds with three double doubles during that time frame.

Plumlee did play some with Boogie Cousins during the World Championships this past summer. A player like Plumlee would fit well with Cousins in Sacramento, but Nets insiders insist, in the strongest possible terms, that he is not going to be traded. Sacramento wants him included and the Nets reluctance to add him could scuttle the deal

He's young, full of energy and still has room to improve his game. He's begun to include a hook shot when he enters the low post, but is a player best utilized when being set up by a teammate. If Plumlee can extend out to 12 feet, he would become an even better player.

As a young player on his first contract, Plumlee's deal is very team-friendly. He's got one more season before his team option can be picked up (which it will) and then on to restricted free agency. Having a player pile up double doubles while making under $3 million sounds like a dream come true for management.

And again, the Nets brass is saying he will not be dealt.  Might someone else.  Sure, but not Plumlee.

Does this rumored trade make sense?

It's not the worst idea in the world. For the Kings, they would be gaining a star point guard that has deep postseason experience and has managed to stay mostly healthy for the first time in a while. If Williams can remain healthy, he provides another dimension to the Kings offense. In Plumlee, Sacramento has a second big to pair with Boogie in the starting lineup or a great sixth man coming off of the bench.

For the Nets, if they were to move Williams, they would save millions of dollars in the next couple of seasons. The Nets reportedly lost $144 million last year, and even though Mikhail Prokhorov is Scrooge McDuck taking a swim in the money bin, that's still a heavy hit. The move would fall in line with the Nets' goal of maintaining their 2016 cap space.

Here's where it can prove to be troublesome. For Sacramento, shocking as it sounds, you have to ask if Williams would actually be an upgrade over Collison. The two point guards have similar numbers across the board while Williams has the advantage from three point range and Collison on defense (although it's worth noting the different responsibilities required of both players). Collison is also three years younger than Deron and is signed to a friendlier contract from the team's point of view. Having to integrate a star player like Williams into the offense with high usage players like Gay and Cousins while transitioning to an interim coach could prove to be incredibly difficult. Tyrone Corbin, with whom D-Will was close in Utah, is the current coach, but just like the Kings are looking for "flashy" players as the Sacramento Bee noted over the weekend, the same is true of their coaching search.

With Williams departing, the Nets would be losing the face of the franchise and the person that led the Nets into Brooklyn. It's a tough sell considering Williams' stature and the trade that brought him East many years ago, but maybe it's time for the Nets to go in a new direction.