Analysis | An NBA draft with more uncertainty than most has a surplus of intrigue

NBA draft week got its first major deal Wednesday, when the Portland Trail Blazers agreed to acquire Jerami Grant from the Detroit Pistons for a protected 2025 first-round pick and other draft considerations. League executives have been forecasting the possibility of a busy trade market Thursday, and the Kings have been a regular topic of conversation.

Sacramento is synonymous with perplexing draft decisions: The Kings took Marvin Bagley III over Luka Doncic and Trae Young in 2018 after reaching for little-known center Georgios Papagiannis in the 2016 lottery, among other whiffs. This year, the Kings hold the No. 4 pick but have received the cold shoulder from the consensus fourth-best prospect: Purdue’s Jaden Ivey.

During a call with reporters this week, Ivey confirmed that he hadn’t worked out for or met with the Kings. “If I got drafted there, it wouldn’t be the worst option,” Ivey added, according to the Sacramento Bee. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement or a slogan worthy of a T-shirt. It’s also worth noting that Ivey is represented by the same agency as Tyrese Haliburton, whom the Kings blindsided with a trade deadline deal that sent him to the Indiana Pacers.

Ivey, an attack-minded scoring guard, would fit on several lottery teams, including the Pacers, Detroit Pistons, Washington Wizards and New York Knicks. That puts Sacramento in position to auction its pick if it concludes De’Aaron Fox and Ivey have redundant skill sets. If the Kings can’t find a trade partner, they could always default to another prospect, such as Iowa’s Keegan Murray or Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin.

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