Kings Remain Committed to Core for Playoff Push


What were the Kings and General Manager Monte McNair thinking?

While others in the West made moves to improve their teams, the third-place Kings stood pat.

Dallas added Kyrie Irving. Phoenix traded for Kevin Durant. The Lakers shipped Russell Westbrook and added D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt. Portland acquired Matisse Thybulle and Cam Reddish.

The Kings?  Oh, they acquired Kessler Edwards and his average of 1.1 points in 14 games for Brooklyn this year.

That should move the needle.  Not.

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The day after the trade deadline, McNair said the Kings had many conversations with other teams and looked at many options.  There just wasn’t anything that made sense to him and his staff.

McNair said he wanted to be “disciplined, but aggressive”.  He also mentioned several times during his post-trade-deadline media conference that he wanted to be “protective of our core group”.

“Our starting lineup is one of the best, if not the best, in the NBA”, said McNair.  “Our bench unit has been fantastic as well.”

He said he didn’t want to be “reactionary just to be reactionary” to all the moves others were making.  The Kings’ short-term goal is to make the playoffs, but “long term we want to become a contending team in the West”.

You can watch to McNair’s full media conference below.


The Kings first two games after the trade deadline were back-to-back home games against the Dallas Mavericks and newly acquired Kyrie Irving.

In the first game, the Mavericks didn’t have Luka Doncic, who was sidelined with a foot injury, but the Kings still stumbled out of the gate.  The Mavericks outscored the Kings 45-25 in the first quarter.

Even though they outscored the Mavs in the final three quarters, the Kings never recovered.


That set up what might be the most-important game the Kings have played to date this season.  If they lost, the Mavericks would leap frog them and take over third place with the Kings dropping to fourth.

For the first time, the Mavs would have Luka and Kyrie on the court together in this game.

The Kings responded with an overtime victory 133-128 behind All-Star De’Aaron Fox.  “Mr. Clutch” scored 26 of his game-high 36 points in the fourth quarter and overtime to once again put the team on his back.


The importance of this win is big.

First, it was a win over an opponent right below the Kings in the standings that was ready to knock them down a notch.

Second, it was a win over one of the teams that made a big move at the deadline.

Third, it gives some credence to McNair’s decision to believe in his core group and stick with them rather than make a trade-deadline move.


The Kings have 25 games left.  Their remaining schedule is not an easy one.  The Kings go into Thursday’s game against Portland with a one-game lead over the Suns, but the distance between third place and twelfth place is only 4.5 games.

It is not an easy road.

About Dave Andrade

Sports Director, KRCR-TV Redding 1968-81; Shasta College football & basketball play-by-play; marketing rep; retired, but still doing a daily sports report & commentary for KKXS 96.1 FM, Redding; contributor at Kings Lead

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