Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

May 8, 2012
Kings have restricted options in free agency

Now that I've enjoyed a little bit of time off, time to start looking forward.

The Kings (once again) will have plenty of room under the salary cap to make moves this offseason, with about $15 million to work with.

But it's also time for a free-agency reality check.

I see only one franchise player who can be an unrestricted free agent (Deron Williams).

The rest of the top young players who could fill needs for the Kings are restricted free agents. That's something the Kings' front office realizes going into the offseason and will affect how it goes about pursuing players.

The team doesn't want to overspend to add to the roster unless it's for a big-time player.

But the Kings might not have any other option unless they can pull off a big trade.

The list or restricted free agents includes small forward Nicolas Batu and centers Roy Hibbert and JaVale McGee.

There are other players out there such as Eric Gordon and O.J. Mayo, but they would duplicate who the Kings already have.

Batum would be the ideal small forward to add while Hibbert and McGee could be the type of defensive presence the Kings never replaced by not re-signing Samuel Dalembert.

But it's going to cost the Kings to get a player to sign an offer sheet.

The only way the Kings could possibly get in the race for one of these players (all of whom will be wanted by their current teams) would be to offer a big contract before the players reach a deal with their current teams.

One so big their team would balk at matching it. That might mean offering McGee more than $10 million a season.

The other alternative would be to pursue veterans who are on the downside of their career who might use the Kings as leverage to land get more money out of a contender.

One easy way around this would be for the Kings to win the Draft Lottery and land Anthony Davis.

But let's assume that won't happen.

The Kings will have to spend to get the improvement they want. How much they're willing to spend (as opposed to just waiting on the current roster to improve) could be the difference between being competitive or heading to the lottery for the seventh year in a row.



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