Jimmer Fredette is almost free.
Update: Thursday, Feb. 27 at 5:50 p.m. ET by Dan Favale
It's official: Jimmer Fredette is actually free!
I know what you're thinking and I concur: "Forever purple" doesn't really apply here.
"Purple for a little bit" suits this situation better.
Anyhow, we're officially on Jimmer watch. Get pumped.
---End of update---
The Sacramento Kings and guard Jimmer Fredette are finalizing a buyout agreement on his contract, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Fredette, the 10th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft, will be a free agent should he clear NBA waivers.
The Kings tried to move Fredette before Thursday's trade deadline, but were unable to find a destination for him. Fredette had been one of college basketball's most prolific scorers at BYU—scoring 2,599 points in his career—and earning consensus honors as college basketball's player of the year in 2011.
Update: Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 12:40 p.m. ET by Dan Favale
Per Woj, Fredette is just about free:
The contract buyout for Sacramento's Jimmer Fredette is on target to be completed today, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 26, 2014
Be free, Jimmer. Be free.
---End of update---
Update: Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 2:00 p.m. ET by Ethan Norof
ESPN's Marc Stein reports that the Memphis Grizzlies have interest in Fredette:
Memphis, I'm told, has indeed emerged as an interested suitor for @jimmerfredette once he clears waivers. But there will surely be others— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 25, 2014
Word is Grizzlies are among teams that have pursued @JimmerFredette in past trade discussions with Sacramento dating to last season— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 25, 2014
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Although Fredette's playing time has been limited and diminished like clockwork since his rookie season, he's proved to be a potent scorer when on the floor, which makes Sacramento's decision slightly curious.
Ahead of the Feb. 20 trade deadline, Woj indicated the Kings were seeking minimal compensation for his services in any deal:
Kings still shopping Jimmer Fredette, unable to find deal for him so far, league sources tell Yahoo. A 2014 second-round pick could get him.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 20, 2014
For a guy averaging 18.7 points on 47.5 percent shooting overall, while knocking down 49.3 percent of his three-point attempts per 36 minutes, that's a bargain. Fredette has long been criticized for his defense and that he's more of an undersized 2-guard than a point man, but you can't teach that kind of efficient scoring.
More likely than not, Sacramento's inability to move him stems from this buyout agreement seeming inevitable. If teams were sensing Fredette could be had for nothing later, it eradicates the Kings' ability to drum up trade interest, similar to the situation between Beno Udrih and the New York Knicks.
Speaking of those disastrously expensive Knicks, Basketball Insiders' Steve Kyler says they may take a look at Fredette:
The New York Knicks are a team to watch with regards to Jimmer Fredette after he completes his buyout with the Kings.— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) February 25, 2014
New York's interest in Fredette is to be expected at this point because: 1) There isn't an available player the Knicks don't find ways to link themselves to; and 2) The team is in dire need of backcourt help.
Jimmer would be a perfect fit in NY right now... Knicks desperately need a PG, and Jimmer needs to prove he's an NBA player— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) February 25, 2014
Fresh off ESPN New York Ian Begley's report of Udrih's departure, starting point guard Raymond Felton was arrested and charged with "second- and third-degree criminal possession of a firearm, which are felonies, and fourth-degree possession of a firearm, a misdemeanor," a New York Police Department spokesman told Begley. Currently, Knicks guard Iman Shumpert also is tending to a sprained MCL.
That leaves the Knicks thin on guards. Depending how Felton's situation plays out, Toure' Murry, who has barely played this season, and Pablo Prigioni, the 36-year-old sophomore, are New York's only viable point guard options.
Standing at 6'2", the 195-pound Fredette is more of a shooting guard trapped in a point guard's body. Tasking him with running the offense for any stretch of time would be a risky move for a Knicks team still lusting after a playoff spot.
Fredette can play alongside Prigioni without the Knicks sacrificing any real size, though. Head coach Mike Woodson has grown fond of a Prigioni-Felton starting backcourt, so a Prigioni-Fredette dyad wouldn't be much different—except that, unlike Felton, Fredette can shoot.
How will the rest of this season play out for Jimmer Fredette?
But it's still very early in the process. Other, more stable teams could show interest in Fredette, who figures to be a valuable weapon for any squad in need of complementary scoring.
"So I can go out and see the interest in (me) and sort of choose where I want to go, so to say," Fredette told Cowbell Kingdom's James Ham on the prospect of exploring free agency this summer. "And go to a team that definitely wants me and it will be nice to go out there be able to see what’s going on."
Sooner than expected, Fredette finds himself with that same opportunity—the ability to go somewhere he's actually needed.