The Kings made the only kind of trade a team expected to be sold could make – cost-saving.
The Kings on Wednesday traded 2012 first-round draft pick Thomas Robinson, veteran swingman Francisco Garcia, forward Tyler Honeycutt and a second-round draft pick to the Houston Rockets for forward Patrick Patterson, center Cole Aldrich and guard Toney Douglas.
The Kings also will receive $1 million from the Rockets. Of the three players acquired, only Patterson is under contract beyond this season.
As part of the deal, Houston will send forward Marcus Morris to Phoenix, according to Yahoo Sports. The Suns will need to release a player to make room for Morris.
With the looming sale of the Kings to a Seattle-based group or one that would keep the team in Sacramento, the team wasn't expected to make any deals that would add future salary, and this deal fits that criteria.
The three players traded by the Kings will make a combined $10.3 million this season, while the players acquired will be paid $6.6 million. Next season, Robinson is owed $3.5 million and Patterson $3.1 million.
Finances aside, dealing a player drafted as high as Robinson before his rookie season is complete is stunning. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Robinson is just the fifth top-five pick in the lottery era to be dealt during his rookie season.
Robinson, the fifth pick in last year's draft, had played in 51 games and averaged 4.8 points and 4.7 rebounds in 15.9 minutes.
Patterson plays Robinson's position.
Kings management had Robinson rated as the second-best player in last year's draft and were ecstatic he slipped to the fifth spot.
And even as Robinson struggled against bigger power forwards, the team remained high on his potential to become an impact defender and rebounder who also could score.
The trade also ends Garcia's stint in Sacramento after seven-plus seasons, the longest tenure on the team. Garcia has a team option for next season that likely would not have been picked up by the Kings.
Garcia was the 23rd overall pick by the Kings in 2005 out of Louisville. In the Kings' Sacramento era, he is fifth in games (462), seventh in blocked shots (343) and ninth in steals (391). He is averaging 5.2 points this season and 8.3 for his career.
With Garcia's departure, Jason Thompson, in his fifth season, will be the team's longest-tenured player.
Honeycutt was the first of the Kings' two second-round draft picks in 2011. He played in 24 games in two seasons, including nine this season. Injuries and time in the NBA Development League defined Honeycutt's time with the Kings after two seasons at UCLA.
In Patterson, the Kings add the 14th pick from the 2010 draft and a college teammate at Kentucky of Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins. Patterson is averaging career highs of 11.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 47 games (38 starts). His career averages are 8.4 points and 4.3 rebounds.
Aldrich was the 11th pick in 2010 by New Orleans out of Kansas before being dealt to Oklahoma City. He was part of the trade that also sent All-Star guard James Harden to Houston.
Aldrich, who has averaged 1.7 points in 74 career games, will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
Douglas was a first-round pick (29th overall) by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 out of Florida State before being traded to the New York Knicks. He would be a restricted free agent if the Kings make him a qualifying offer, which is unlikely.
Douglas was dealt to the Rockets before this season as part of a sign-and-trade that sent center Marcus Camby to the Knicks. Douglas is averaging 8.1 points in 49 games.
The Kings are scheduled to fly to Atlanta this morning and start a five-game trip against the Hawks on Friday.
Kings coach Keith Smart is expected to meet the team in Atlanta after missing Wednesday's practice. Smart was in the Bay Area after his oldest son, Andre', was injured playing basketball and needed emergency surgery.