Kings set sights on at least one of Rajon Rondo, Monta Ellis, Wes Matthews

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The Sacramento Kings made their trade to clear out cap space.

Now the Kings want to put that money to use — they want Monta Ellis. Or Rajon Rondo. Or Wesley Matthews.

The Kings, for all their dysfunction of late, are trying to be players in free agency, according to multiple reports, including Marc Stein at ESPN.

While Sacramento probably doesn’t have enough cap space to sign two of them, it is getting closer after striking a deal with Philadelphia…

The trade should allow the Kings to outbid Indiana for Ellis if they can convince the Dallas Mavericks’ leading scorer from last season to stay in the Western Conference.

The Kings are not the kind of franchise free agents are necessarily drawn to right now, not with DeMarcus Cousins calling coach George Karl a “snake in the grass” on Twitter (using emojis). If the Kings are going to land any of these guys they likely have to overpay, the extra tax of getting them to Sacramento.

The Pacers have emerged as the front-runners to land Ellis, but the Kings are looking for playmakers and Ellis showed in Dallas he was more adept than previously thought at that skill. Ellis worked well in Dallas with shooters around him on the court, the Kings don’t have the same kind of floor spacers, but if they can offer more cash than Indiana they will get Ellis’ attention.

Matthews can space the floor as a shooter, and he has told teams he is not taking a discount coming off Achilles surgery — the price to land him likely starts at $15 million a year. Dallas is considered the front-runner to land Matthews.

Rondo is the oddest case of all — does pairing Cousins, Karl and Rondo seem wise? On the court, Rondo doesn’t have the kind of jump shot that strike fear in the heart of opposing defenders, which can mess with floor spacing. Of late, Rondo’s opponents go under picks and wait for the mistakes. His defense isn’t as good as its reputation. There are not a bunch of teams bidding on Rondo after his disastrous half season in Dallas, the Kings can add him at a fair price. He reportedly still wants $10 million a season, there is no reason to pay that much.

The Kings want to be players, we’ll see if they can land he guys they want.