The Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings had one of the best rivalries in the sport in the early and mid-2000s. The playoff battles between these two teams were intense and for a long time, there was real animosity between the two fanbases.
That animosity has since subsided as the Kings did not have a playoff season for nearly two decades while the Lakers had bigger fish to fry. However, as is the case with every team it seems, Kings fans seem to still think of the Lakers as a big rival.
The front office may think that way as well. Sacramento has made some interesting moves at the center position in recent weeks that all feel strangely pointed at disrupting Los Angeles. It culminated Tuesday when the Kings released Nerlens Noel.
Kings’ roster moves feel pointed at disrupting the Lakers
Los Angeles ended up signing Christian Wood to fill the center vacancy that the team had but that did not appear to be in the cards for a long time. There were several other names that were floated out for the Lake Show before Wood signed with the team.
One of those names was Nerlens Noel. It was reported shortly after the Kings signed Noel that the Lakers had expressed interest in the veteran big man. It was no secret that the purple and gold needed a center yet the Kings added to a roster surplus.
Then when JaVale McGee was waived by the Dallas Mavericks there was speculation that he could return to Los Angeles. Instead, he also signed with the Kings. Sacramento could have released Noel then and there but no, the team decided to keep him on the books.
Is it a coincidence that the Kings so happened to waive two centers a week after the Lakers filled their center need with Christian Wood? It might not be. Sacramento could have held onto these players longer, or the team could have parted ways sooner. The timing of the moves in conjunction with Los Angeles’ signing is very interesting, to say the least.
Regardless, the Lakers ended up getting the most talented option available for the veteran minimum, even if he does come with some baggage. Sacramento didn’t end up disrupting much but it is worth questioning if there was an extra layer of intent behind these moves.