SACRAMENTO - Welcome to propaganda season. It’s that time of year when misdirection, embellishment and flat out lying is almost completely acceptable in the NBA world. Adding intrigue to this summer’s free agency sweepstakes is the fact that almost every team in the league has a boat load of cash to spend.
Kevin Durant is held up in a house in The Hamptons, hosting five teams like he’s The Bachelor. According to reports, the Clippers, who are on Durant’s short list, have asked Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan to join them on the recruitment trip. Is it acceptable to just invite three extra guests to the Hamptons without asking?
Kent Bazemore is expected to earn as much as $17 million per season. Yes, the same Kent Bazemore that spent the first year and a half of his career as a cheerleader on the Warriors bench. According to Marc Stein, the 26-year-old wing will wait until after the Fourth of July weekend to meet with teams.
You put $17 million per season on the line and I have a pen super glued to my hand waiting to sign for the highest bidder.
Where do the Sacramento Kings fit into all of this madness? That’s a huge question mark.
Very few teams have the holes that the Kings do coming into free agency. They have plenty of money to spend, but after a decade of dysfunction, and with so many other teams flushed with cash, it’s going to be hard to overpay to get a guy to come to Sacramento.
Here is a look at the Kings current situation walking into an incredibly important free agent period.
Cap Space: $31-35 million
Roster Space: Counting the three rookies, the Kings roster currently stands at 12, but that number could shrink to 9 with very little effort.
Free Agents: Rajon Rondo (unrestricted - $11.4 million cap hold), Seth Curry (restricted - $1.2 million qualifying offer), Quincy Acy (unrestricted - $980K cap hold), James Anderson (unrestricted - $980K cap hold)
Needs: point guard, shooting guard, small forward, stretch four, overall depth
Known Interest: Rajon Rondo, Ryan Anderson, Courtney Lee
Rumored Interest: Allen Crabbe, Lance Stephenson, Dion Waiters
Rudy Gay - Gay is guaranteed at $13.3 million this season with a $14.3 player option for next season. With salaries jumping around the league, Gay, 29, becomes a budget scorer for teams that swing and miss in free agency. Sacramento might hold onto him and wait for the trade deadline, but following the season it was made known that he wouldn’t mind finding a new home.
Kosta Koufos - Koufos signed a four-year, $33 million deal last summer with the Kings, but after drafting Georgios Papagiannis and Skal Labissiere in the first round, the 27-year-old big man is expendable. When the dust settles on free agency, Koufos and his remaining 3-years and $25 million will look like chump change to teams that missed on one of the big names.
Ben McLemore - At just 23-years-old, there are teams out there that would gamble on a low-risk investment on McLemore. He regressed in year three under George Karl and a change in scenery might be just what the doctor ordered. If Sacramento needs an extra $4 million in cap space, it won’t be hard to find a taker for the athletic, yet infuriating shooting guard.
The Kings have too many holes to fill and with a weak free agent class and B-list free agents set to make a killing, they have to spend wisely. Anderson and Lee are both legitimate targets that make sense, but even if they land both, they still have a massive hole at the point guard spot, which must be addressed.
DeMarcus Cousins would love to have Rajon Rondo back for a second tour of duty, but the team has cooled on the idea. He might be the best option when everything shakes out, but the Kings, as well as Rondo, will look at other options.
Expect at least one substantial trade and one decent free agent signing. Hopefully that is enough to fill the gaps in a very unbalanced roster. If not, it could be another long season in Sacramento.