Sacramento Kings 2014 NBA Free Agency Big Board: Ranking Top Targets Post-Draft
With only 11 players currently under contract, the Sacramento Kings still need to fill out their roster. Now that the draft is behind us, the best way for the team to do it is through free agency.
Never much of a free-agency destination, the Kings need to lure players to Sacramento, but there's a bit of a catch: The team doesn't have much salary-cap space to work with. That means it'll need to find players who can help but also won't cost too much.
It's not an easy task, but there are some options on the open market who fit the bill.
Let's break down some of those free agents, keeping in mind only those who are realistic options will be included. As great as it'd be to see LeBron James in a Kings uniform, the team has neither the cap space or pedigree for consideration. The same goes for players of a similar mold.
Of the ones who are possibilities, here's the free-agency big board for the Kings.
Unless noted otherwise, all stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.
5. Ramon Sessions
A lot of what the Kings end up doing at point guard will depend on what happens with restricted free agent Isaiah Thomas. But either way, Ramon Sessions could be a decent option as a backup point guard.
Even with Ray McCallum on the team, the Kings need a backup who's got a passing mentality. Sessions could help fill that void. The 28-year-old has averaged 6.5 assists and 2.7 turnovers per 36 minutes over the course of his career.
He's also coming off somewhat of a down year, as he only hit 28.2 percent of his threes and saw his assists dip to 5.5 per 36 minutes. That means the Kings might be able to get him on a team-friendly contract.
4. Thabo Sefolosha
Prior to the draft and the Kings adding another shooting guard in Nik Stauskas, Thabo Sefolosha would have been a perfect option. Even now, there could be a fit there, although the need no longer seems as dire.
Sefolosha is the veritable three-and-D player, meaning he provides solid three-point shooting and perimeter defense. Incidentally, those are two areas the Kings are lacking.
The Kings only made 33.3 percent of their three-pointers last season, which was 27th in the league. For his part, Sefolosha is a 34.8 percent three-point shooter for his career, although he saw that number dip to 31.6 percent a year ago.
As a team, the Kings were even worse defending the three than they were shooting it, allowing opponents to make 38 percent of their three-point attempts, which came in 29th in the league. Sefolosha's perimeter defense would help fill a team deficiency there.
The 30-year-old is also a solid individual defender. According to 82games.com, he held opposing 2-guards to a player efficiency rating of 15.0 (15.0 is league average) and opposing small forwards to a PER of 10.7. That's just what the Kings could use.
With Rudy Gay, Ben McLemore and Stauskas providing offense on the wing, Sefolosha would provide the defense. To get him, it'd likely cost the Kings their mid-level exception, but depending on how things shake out, he could be a good option.
3. Cole Aldrich
Most Kings fans are familiar with Cole Aldrich from his stint with the team at the end of the 2012-13 season. If their memory serves them correctly, they'll remember that Aldrich isn't the flashiest of players. But the one thing he does best—block shots—is what the Kings need him for.
Obviously no center the Kings bring in could supplant DeMarcus Cousins, but few on the free-agent market could supplement him like Aldrich. For as great as DMC is, he'll never be much of a shot-blocker. He had the best season of his career in this regard, averaging 1.3 blocks per contest, and it's hard to envision that number climbing much higher.
Aldrich, on the other hand, is a bona fide rim protector on the occasions he's in the game. The former Kansas Jayhawk averages 2.6 blocks per 36 minutes for his career. To put that into perspective, Cousins' average is 1.7.
Perhaps most importantly, the Kings could get Aldrich without spending too much money. That fits their situation perfectly since a) they already have a great center in Cousins taking up the bulk of the minutes and b) they don't have much cap space to work with.
2. Josh McRoberts
The Kings are already stacked at power forward with Carl Landry, Jason Thompson and Reggie Evans at the position. They also have players in Derrick Williams and Travis Outlaw who are capable of playing the 4.
However, with the exception of Outlaw, Josh McRoberts brings something to the table that none of the others possess—the ability to stretch the floor.
The former Duke Blue Devil is a career 34.2 percent shooter from three-point range, including 36.1 percent last year. And unlike in past years, the forward shot the long ball on a pretty regular basis, hoisting 3.7 triples per game.
On top of his ability to shoot, McRoberts also provides help in other areas, as he collected 4.8 rebounds and dished out 4.3 assists a night.
The Kings could use help in all those categories—perhaps most notably in three-point shooting. Not only could the team's 33.3 percent shooting from long range use improvement, but McRoberts would also help space the floor. That makes him a good option for playing next to DeMarcus Cousins.
As an unrestricted free agent coming off a career year, there will be other teams looking to acquire the power forward. But depending on what's out there, Sacramento may be able to nab him with its mid-level exception.
1. Isaiah Thomas
Isaiah Thomas should be Sacramento's No. 1 priority in free agency for a couple reasons. For one, as a restricted free agent and an incumbent Kings player, the team has Bird rights to match any offer for him, including ones that exceed the salary cap. But secondly, as good as Ray McCallum was in flashes last season, the team doesn't want to go into 2014-15 with him as the primary point guard.
After averaging 20.3 points and 6.3 rebounds, someone is going to give Thomas a strong offer in free agency. It'll come down to whether he gets one the Kings deem as too expensive for a player of his caliber.
It's debatable whether or not Thomas is the point guard of the future. His numbers would certainly indicate so, but the team's win-loss record with him at the helm isn't stellar. But with no in-house options capable of filling his void, the Kings almost need to sign him if they're trying to improve upon their 28-54 record.
It may cost a lot of money, but retaining Thomas will be the team's top priority. And barring some crazy above-market offer, expect to see him back in a Kings uniform next year.
If you want to talk Kings basketball, you can find me on Twitter @SimRisso.
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