ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has a thorough and fascinating tick-tock of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ trade deadline maneuvering, and you should gobble it up if you are into that sort of thing. But if you just want another chance to laugh at the Sacramento Kings, it’s also good for that.
As Woj tells it, Cavs GM Koby Altman locked down a trade with the Lakers that would bring him Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., and then went about trying to pry George Hill away from Sacramento and Rodney Hood away from Utah. He apparently got the idea to orchestrate a three-way deal between his squad, the Kings, and the Jazz, and everything was going fine until the dysfunctional and hapless Kings front office got involved:
Altman had negotiated the trade with Kings assistant general manager Brandon Williams, who works under GM Vlade Divac. The management structure in Sacramento can make deals dicey, because Divac seldom gets on the phone for the trade-building parts — and yet he ultimately has decision-making power with owner Vivek Ranadive.
That’s why a 3 a.m. ET deal memo sent from Sacramento to Cleveland left Altman at first incredulous — and then angry. Suddenly, Kings center Georgios Papagiannis had been included as part of the three-way trade. Cleveland and Utah were adamant that Papagiannis’ name had never been discussed. Williams would later say that Papagiannis or Malachi Richardson were set to be included in the deals and insisted his notes confirmed that.
This was reportedly a deal-breaker for the Cavs and Jazz, because neither team was too keen on wasting a roster spot on Papagiannis or being forced to waive him and eat his salary. But why were the Kings so intent on including Papagiannis, a guy they drafted 13th overall in 2016, in the deal? Take it away, Woj:
Because Sacramento had the makings for a trade with Toronto for Richardson, rival executives say that the Kings pushed to spare themselves the embarrassment of waiving the No. 13 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft — and let someone else do it.
Altman eventually worked out a solution, getting the Jazz to agree to join the Cavs in financing the balance of Papagiannis’s salary. They didn’t save the Kings any embarrassment, though, as the team went on to waive the former first-round pick a few hours later.