What was the path not traveled?
If Kris Murray had still been on the board, if the Blazers had drafted Marcus Sasser or Leonard Miller, what might have been different? The Kings may have taken Murray with the 24th pick, keeping Holmes on the books and limiting their cap space.
They still could have executed the rest of their moves in a certain order, bringing over Vezenkov and re-signing Barnes and Lyles. What would have been different was Sabonis: he would play out this season on his former salary and then be eligible for the same deal next summer with the Kings at the front of the line to pay him.
The risk of him walking would have been extremely low, and the Kings would have saved themselves $8.6 million this season and added another two-way wing in Murray.
There’s no question that would have been the better move for this franchise. They scored an own-goal on themselves extending Sabonis, and it may be Portland’s fault. If the Kings turn back into the Kangz over the next few seasons, all credit and hate mail may be directed up the coast to Rip City.