The Kings' prolonged point guard problem was solved on Monday, when they agreed to terms with Beno Udrih.
According to numerous sources, Udrih received the full five-year deal for the entire midlevel exception (beginning at approximately $6 million in the first season with annual eight percent raises). The deal for the fifth-year point guard can officially be signed when the free agency moratorium lifts on July 9.
"It's good for everybody," said his agent, Marc Cornstein by phone from New York City. "They've expressed tremendous interest not just starting at 12:01 last night New York time but really from the get go.
"They took a chance on Beno when he was really kind of an outcast from San Antonio, and put him in a fantastic position and believed in him and gave him a chance to run their team. I think he's great for Sacramento, and I think Sacramento is great for him."
Leading into free agency, the Clippers were always seen as the most likely team to keep Udrih from the Kings. He he met with Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy in New York City on Monday night and was offered an identical five-year, full midlevel deal that had already been put forth by the Kings. It came down to the Kings and the Clippers, with New York, Miami and Cleveland showing strong interest but unwilling to offer a five-year deal.
"I met with Dunleavy and he made a good impression on me," Udrih said by phone. "I really appreciate him coming all the way here to talk to me and tell me how he sees me.
"But I talked to (the Kings) early this morning, like 10 o'clock (Pacific time) and then I talked to them and to my family and my close friends who have been around the league. Every minute I was leaning to Sacramento."
Yet Udrih's early morning call to Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie left his future uncertain, enough so that the Kings moved down their wish list of point guards in anticipation of Udrih declining. According to the agent for Chris Duhon, Kevin Bradbury, they contacted him just hours before Udrih called back with his final decision.
"I'd never been in this situation before, so I just had to think about it," Udrih explained. "I didn't want to say anything. I was just quiet and listened and tried to go through everything.
"Then I talked to my family and told them how I think and they all supported me. I called Marc and I was like, 'You know what, I see myself more in Sacramento.' It feels like home, seriously."
Keep checking back for more updates... - Sam Amick