Monday, January 10, 2011

Why the Kings Should go for Devin Harris

It's been a crazy few days for the Carmelo Anthony/New Jersey Nets saga. Reportedly, they've pulled in the Detroit Pistons for a three-team blockbuster deal for the Denver Nuggets' superstar.

So where could the Sacramento Kings fit in? According to ESPN New York, Nets point guard Devin Harris, who is involved in the 3-way trade, might not end up in Denver.

"The Nets and Nuggets, meanwhile, have not stopped looking for other teams beyond Detroit that would be interested in joining the trade," ESPN New York reports. "This is a result of Denver lacking a strong need for Harris with young guard Ty Lawson on the roster."

Ailene Voisin from the Sacramento Bee wrote in late-November that the Kings were looking for a point guard.

"The Kings are aggressively pursuing a move and reportedly have inquired about Atlanta's Jeff Teague and Houston's Aaron Brooks," Voisin wrote in her column, saying that they want a point guard so star guard Tyreke Evans can play off the ball more often.

She also writes that the Rockets want more than what the Kings are willing to offer. The Atlanta Hawks rejected the Kings' offer for a Jason Thompson-Jeff Teague swap, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.

If there was anytime for the Kings to go grab a point guard, now would be the time to grab Harris. Why now? The free agent point guard crop in 2011 this summer looks weak.

Brooks, a restricted free agent, and Mo Williams, if he uses his early-termination option, are the top two free agent point guards on the market this summer. After that, there isn't an impact point guard out there.

Bringing in Harris, a one-time All-Star who turns 28 next month, would bring in a natural point guard who can score better than the Kings current starter Beno Udrih. Harris is No. 10 in shots made at the rim among point guards, No. 6 in shots made within 10 feet No. 14 in shots made within 10-15 feet.

Although Udrih, 28, has a higher assist-to-turnover ratio (2.61 compared to Harris' 2.33), Harris nearly seven assists per game, which is ranked 16th in the league, compared to Udrih's 4.1 APG (37th).

Harris has three years and $26.8 million left on his contract, but the Kings will have a lot of cap space and co-owner Gavin Maloof says they will use it.

The Kings backcourt would consist of Harris and Evans, with Udrih and the speedy Pooh Jeter to back them up. With his shooting ability, Udrih can also play shooting guard if he plays with Harris, Evans or Jeter, although he would be a liability on defense.

Harris could ultimately end up in Denver to start, but according to ESPN Dallas, the Dallas Mavericks, his former team, and the Portland Trail Blazers are interested in trading for Harris if he does stay in with the Nuggets.

The Kings have some pieces on their team to offer. Samuel Dalembert and Carl Landry are in the last year of their contracts. Dalembert has grown frustrated with his role and Landry's production has fallen dramatically since last season, but Houston is said to be interested in getting him back.

A move back to Houston is one he wouldn't mind at all. It could happen either as a trade or free agency.

The Kings have been in and out of trade talk this season. Two players they're sure they won't trade are Evans and rookie big man DeMarcus Cousins. If they are still looking for a point guard, Harris would be the one to go for.

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