Bettings

Basketball never sleeps. To conclude a fantastic day of Olympic qualifying and California Classic Summer League, we capped our Saturday night with a big trade in the NBA.

DeMar DeRozan is joining the Sacramento Kings on a 3-year, $74 million contract. To get him there, the Kings completed a three-team sign-and-trade that sees Harrison Barnes and a 2031 second-round unprotected pick swap go to the San Antonio Spurs, while the Chicago Bulls will land Chris Duarte and two second round picks.

For Sacramento, it’s a win-now move that we’ve been expecting for a while. Does DDR get them over the hump in a loaded Western Conference? Probably not. But there’s no question that this team has raised both its floor and ceiling in this trade. DeRozan may be on the downside of his career, but he’s been as sturdy as they come lately. He started 79 of 82 games and led the league in minutes per game in 2023-24. He was also second in the NBA’s “Clutch Player of the Year” voting. Adding a 24-point per game scorer next to De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Saboinis without giving up a first-round pick? From a team building perspective that’s a win, no matter how you slice it. From a fantasy perspective, DeRozan’s presence will muck things up on paper between him and the two all-star caliber players in this starting lineup. The soon-to-be extension-eligible Keegan Murray is a sure downgrade in fantasy drafts.

Meanwhile, Chicago continues their teardown. It would not be a shock to see more recognizable names like Zach LaVine or Nikola Vucevic get shipped out prior to February’s trade deadline. In fact, if the Bulls are able to find a willing trade partner for either player, they’d be foolish not to take a deal. Chicago must throw in the towel on the latest iteration of its roster. Being a middling team is death in the NBA. For our fantasy lineups, Duarte won’t likely factor into the Chicago rotation in a major way next season, at least until the impending tank ramps up in the spring or another big trade is agreed to before the deadline. With DeRozan out of town, Josh Giddey is an even bigger winner fantasy-wise this offseason. DDR to the Western Conference also benefits the likes of LaVine, Vucevic and Coby White, as long as they remain in the Windy City. 

San Antonio, on the other hand, is quite clearly making a push for the play-in out west. They’ll let a sophomore Victor Wembanyama try to reach new heights now that he’s flanked by a future Hall-of-Fame point guard in Chris Paul and a former NBA champion small forward in Harrison Barnes. The acquisition of Barnes might push rookie guard Stephon Castle to the bench, while Devin Vassell and Jeremy Sochan slot in next to Barnes, Wemby and CP3. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for any news on that front from Texas. Of course, preseason will give us some clarity on what to expect from this rotation, but for now the arrow is pointing up on the Spurs’ win total for this season, and the fantasy intrigue is hazy outside of the young phenom. If you aren’t drafting Wembanyama first overall in your season long or best ball drafts, you’re just doing it wrong.