Ranking Sacramento Kings' Most Believable 2014 NBA Free-Agency Rumors
But now it is time for the Kings to go shopping to fill their biggest needs. The major problem is that the Kings are pressed up against the cap with Gay’s option costing $19.3 million this upcoming season.
The team will be better off the following year, but we are talking about the present, and the Kings only have about $7.7 million to dish out during free agency.
So, where do the Kings start? What rumors are true?
Let’s take a look at the five most believable rumors going forward.
5. Isaiah Thomas Will Be in Another Uniform at the Start of the Season
Isaiah Thomas wants to be paid the value that he is worth. He finished the season with a line of 20.3 points, 6.3 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game.
Whenever a player is negotiating salary, one of the smartest things for that person to do is to look at the best offer available and leverage it with the team where he is currently playing. Thomas is currently in that spot.
There are a multitude of teams that could use a point guard who can shoot the ball and command an offense. In fact, according to Chad Ford of ESPN (h/t Slam), there is a team in the southern part of the state that has already put its feelers out.
Thomas was a Los Angeles Lakers fan growing up, as his father hinted at what teams the household should favor.
Other teams taking significant interest in the point guard, per Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee, are the Detroit Pistons (possibly as part of a Josh Smith trade) and the Boston Celtics, just to name a few.
There is a fit out there, and money might be the biggest reason that Thomas slips out of town.
4. Sacramento Kings Will Execute a Sign-and-Trade with the Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge was the first person to lob a call to Isaiah Thomas’ management group, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN (h/t Dime).
The Celtics have point guard Rajon Rondo in the trade window since the team recently drafted Marcus Smart, who plays the same position.
The team is limited in cap space, so it would have to go the sign-and-trade route to acquire Thomas. The biggest problem for the Kings is the team would probably have to include Ben McLemore in the deal.
The Celtics would love to have a young and exciting backcourt team of Smart and Thomas to usher in the next era of Celtics basketball.
The Kings would receive a proven point guard who can handle running the offense and provide a spark to the DeMarcus Cousins-led offense.
This rumor is very possible, but we shall see how serious the two teams are going forward.
3. Ben McLemore Will Not Be Traded
Ben McLemore was drafted with the seventh pick in the 2013 NBA draft. He struggled in his first year, as he put up a line of 8.8 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game.
McLemore didn’t start showing his true talent until the last month in the season, averaging 13.9 points in eight games in April. However, the Kings drafted Stauskas with the eight pick in the 2014 NBA draft, and they both play the same position.
Before the draft, the Kings were hinting that they might use their pick to acquire either Josh Smith of the Pistons or Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics. With McLemore perhaps no longer needed, the Smith rumors have started again.
However, Kings head coach Michael Malone sees how Stauskas and McLemore can co-exist on the floor, especially since outside shooters are such a big need for the team.
2. The Kings Will Trade for a Shot-Blocker
Trade talk was abuzz at the draft before the Kings kept their pick and took Stauskas. Rumors were floating around, courtesy of ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, that the Kings were amenable to trading for either Rajon Rondo or Josh Smith.
Of those two possibilities, Josh Smith would be the better choice to improve the team's shot-blocking.
Even though the team is up against the cap, the Kings have some wiggle room in the expiring contracts of Derrick Williams, Reggie Evans, Travis Outlaw and Jason Terry.
The Kings could acquire the athletic shot-blocker for Terry and Williams. Smith could then be a solid partner to the soon-to-be All-Star DeMarcus Cousins.
Sacramento would have a high-scoring frontcourt with the ability to alter and block shots. Combining the big men with a developing perimeter would put the Kings in a more favorable position in the Western Conference standings.
If the Kings don’t get the likes of a game-changer like Smith, expect the Kings to acquire a lesser-known talent that fits into the team's budget.
1. Isaiah Thomas Will Be Re-Signed
Isaiah Thomas is the lifeblood of the Kings’ backcourt. He can shoot, distribute the ball and make plays on offense.
Thomas will get paid. He is a restricted free agent who the Kings have already given a qualifying offer to before free agency.
His statistics are solid. Thomas possesses a line of 20.3 points, 6.3 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game, which is comparable to new $90-million point guard Kyrie Irving’s 20.8 points, 6.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game.
However, since he is a restricted free agent, Sam Amick of USA Today estimates that Thomas will only receive offers between $4 million to $6 million per season since the Kings can match any offer.
The new salary will be a significant raise from the $884,293 that he made last season. The Kings just hope that Thomas doesn’t break the bank since they have their eye on other pressing roster needs.