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Markelle Fultz to the Kings Is Your Latest NBA Draft Rumor

Plus: Are the Lakers out on Lonzo Ball? The NBA draft fire is getting smoky.

(Getty Images/Ringer illustration)
(Getty Images/Ringer illustration)

A tweet sent in the middle of the night might single-handedly save Vlade Divac from the mob that assembled outside his spot shortly after the All-Star break, when he traded DeMarcus Cousins away to New Orleans:

"What," to paraphrase a reply to the tweet, "is Vlade cooking up?" Well, maybe nothing, as "there are no indications" that Boston is talking to Sacramento. But what would it take to make the Celtics interested?

In terms of assets, the Kings have the no. 5 pick, the no. 10 pick, the next Steph Curry, Willie Cauley-Stein’s artsy Instagram, and a number of other young guys who represent only potential for now. They’ve repeatedly been linked to Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox, who The Ringer’s own mock draft has them selecting with the no. 5 pick. But it might not be so simple — earlier this week, ESPN’s Chad Ford reported that Sacramento was considering giving away both picks to trade up and secure Fox if it needed to. And it might, with a report coming out Friday that the Lakers are not enamored with Lonzo Ball, who has been widely projected to land with them at no. 2. The Lakers could take Fox at that spot instead, meaning the Kings, all the way back at no. 5, would miss out on the best three point guards in the draft.

Now, Sacramento is working out the projected no. 1 pick. The only problem: If, as Ford reported, two top-10 picks must be dealt to acquire one in the top four, what would it take to get [gulp] Markelle Fultz?

Boston would only trade away the first overall pick if there’s an All-Star at the end of the road. The Kings don’t have that — they only have more picks and more youth, which the Celtics have in abundance. Sacramento’s assets could facilitate a trade for a star, but even then, the Kings might not stand a chance of piquing Danny Ainge’s interest unless another team is involved. The 76ers look interested in Avery Bradley —

— and we’re really quite proud of them for seeking out a guard. But Philly has the same problem as Sac: all picks and potential, no bona fide stars (assuming Joel Embiid is off the table). A more realistic partner could be Chicago, who has watched Jimmy Butler be a part of trade rumors all season.

But there was always another star Boston liked, and Butler and his sock monkey might not even be on the front burner:

With Dion Waiters hitting free agency and only $41.5 million promised away next season, the Heat have the cap space for Gordon Hayward. The city of Miami being the city of Miami helps to sell the Heat, currently the lesser of the two rosters, as an option, but Hayward’s Butler connection to Brad Stevens could give Boston an edge.

Sacramento’s ability to fit into the Celtics plans becomes even more narrow if Boston looks beyond the draft and sees more attractive options in free agency. But with the no. 5 and no. 10 picks, Vlade might be able to cook something up without the Celtics.