• Russell Schmidt

The Free Agency Profile for the Sacramento Kings


*Via NBC.com

2014-15 Record: 29-53 (4th Pacific, 13th Western Conference)

Season Summary: The Sacramento Kings had about as successful of a season as you could hope for considering they had three different head coaches. The Kings went 11-13 to start the season under coach Mike Malone. Malone was fired just 24 games into his second season with the team.Tyrone Corbin was named interim coach, and the team went 7-21 during his time in the position.George Karl finished the season as the Kings head coach with an 11-19 record.

The Kings started the season 9-6 before DeMarcus Cousins was diagnosed with viral meningitis. Cousins would miss the next ten games, and his absence would start the downfall of the Kings’ season. Despite being one of the first coaches on the pro level to connect with DeMarcus Cousins, Mike Malone was fired less than a third of the way into the season. The Kings did finish 2-7 in Malone’s final nine games as coach, but it is hard to blame him for the poor record considering Cousins’ absence. This firing has contributed to many of the rumors surrounding Cousins this offseason. Cousins went from having a coach he trusted in Mike Malone to having a coach that appears to want no part of him in George Karl. Cousins is the face of the franchise and one of the best players in the league. The Kings need to do everything in their power to mend the relationship between the team and Cousins. The Kings were not as bad of a team as their record suggests. In addition to a brutal Western Conference, injuries played a major role in the Kings poor season. The Kings rarely had their top three players on the court together. Cousins missed 23 games, Rudy Gay missed 14 games, and Darren Collison missed 37 games. Better health from these three and continued development of young players like Ben McLemore, Nik Stauskas, Ray McCallum, and rookie Willie Cauley-Stein could go a long way in changing the franchise's fortunes.

Cap Space: about $15 million under the current salary cap projection of $67.1 million.

Impending Free Agents:

Omri Casspi (Unrestricted Free Agent)

Andre Miller (UFA)

Derrick Williams (UFA)

Will They Stay or Go: Omri Casspi had a strong season coming off the bench for the Kings. Casspi was fifth on the team in both scoring and rebounding (8.9 PPG and 3.9 RPG). The Kings should look to keep him on a deal that pays around $3-6 Million per year. Entering his 17th NBA season at 39 years old, Andre Miller is obviously nearing the end of his career. Miller can still provide value for the Kings as insurance at point guard behind Darren Collison and Ray McCallum. Miller is a favorite of coach George Karl from their time together with the Denver Nuggets. Unless Miller decides to retire it would be surprising to see him suiting up for another team. Derrick Williams has not lived up to the lofty expectations placed on him after being selected with the number 2 pick in the 2011 draft, but nonetheless he has proven that he has a place in the NBA. Williams’s play picked up after the Kings acquired Andre Miller at the deadline. Miller and Williams formed a nice pick and roll tandem and developed great chemistry together coming off the bench. Despite this Williams is likely to try and find a new home where he can have a fresh start and get more minutes.

Team Needs: Reserve Small Forward, Power Forward

Possible Targets:

Rajon Rondo: Point guard is not a pressing need for the Kings with Darren Collison and Ray McCallum under contract (and Andre Miller likely resigned), but Rondo would be an upgrade at the position. Rondo has been linked to the Kings in free agency rumors, and the fit would make sense. Rondo would upgrade Sacramento’s defense at the point guard position and help set up the team’s main scorers. Rondo would get the ball to Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins in their sweet spots, and could also help rookie Willie Cauley-Stein adjust to a NBA offense. Rondo could be for Cauley-Stein what Chris Paul has been for DeAndre Jordan.

Ty Lawson: Lawson is another point guard the Kings have been linked to. Unlike Rondo, Lawson is under contract. To get Lawson the Kings would have to execute a trade with the Nuggets. Lawson has suggested over media that he wants out of Denver and would welcome playing in Sacramento. The Nuggets drafting Emmanuel Mudiay already gives them a replacement for Lawson. In addition Lawson was a favorite of Kings coach George Karl during their time together in Denver. A trade for Lawson would require a package from the Kings that might include Darren Collison and at least one of the two of Nik Stauskas and Ben McLemore.

Sources:

http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/12711616/teams-told-nba-salary-cap-hit-100m-2017-18-season

http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/12307054/nba-free-agents-2015-2016

http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/SAC/2015.html?lid=header_teams

http://espn.go.com/nba/player/gamelog/_/id/4258/demarcus-cousins

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