Not possessing much salary-cap space but in need of some upgrades, the Sacramento Kings need to start looking for free agents who won't cost much money.
Sacramento already got one of those players, inking Darren Collison to a three-year, $16 million deal, per USA Today's Sam Amick. However, even Collison's pact with the Kings is a bit rich, at least as far as the bargain bin is concerned.
That's especially true of the Kings and their situation, as the team is already $6.1 million over the cap, according to Spotrac.
With limited resources available to them. there's only so much Sacramento can do. Getting an impact player through free agency is out of the question. But there are a few players out there who would be good fits that the Kings could get on the cheap.
Cole Adrich is someone I mentioned in a previous article as someone the Kings should target. Well, the center is still available, and Sacramento should still look into signing him.
Aldrich isn't an impact player, and he's not someone who will fill a big role on the team. With DeMarcus Cousins on the roster, most of the minutes at center will be allocated to him. Jason Thompson is also capable of playing the 5 when Cousins rests. But Aldrich would be the perfect backup to spell both of them.
As I cited in the previous article, what Aldrich does best is defend the rim. That's one of the areas in which the Kings are lacking, and as good as Cousins is, he'll likely never be much of a rim protector.
Aldrich averaged 3.3 blocks per 36 minutes in a limited role with the New York Knicks last season. That kind of interior presence on the defensive end is something the Kings can bank on if they sign him.
For those who are skeptical, think of it like this: Would you rather have Aaron Gray or Cole Adrich? That's the role Aldrich figures to play, at least in terms of playing time. We're not talking very many minutes, but the Kings would be better off having Aldrich playing those minutes than Gray. Aldrich averages more rebounds (11.6; 11.1) and blocks (2.6; 0.8) per 36 minutes than Gray, on top of having a better field-goal percentage (.540; .509).
Furthermore, Aldrich made only $916,000 last year, according to Basketball-Reference, so he's the type of player the Kings could get on the cheap.
I promise this won't be a list of only Kings retreads, as Toney Douglas, like Cole Aldrich, also had a previous stint with the team. But in a minimal role Douglas would be a good fit.
With Collison and Ray McCallum already in the fold, Douglas wouldn't get much time on the court as it is.
However, Douglas would be a solid addition for his three-and-D capabilities, meaning he'd provide three-point shooting and perimeter defense.
As far as the shooting is concerned, Douglas is a career 35.3 percent three-point shooter. He had a down year last year, hitting only 30.4 percent of his tries from deep, but he's had three seasons where he's connected on at least 37 percent of his triples.
On defense, Douglas is solid. He's averaged 1.6 steals per 36 minutes over his career. And if you remember back from his time with the Kings, the team was much better on defense with him on the court.
According to Basketball-Reference, the Kings held opponents to an offensive rating of 107.0 when he was in the game, opposed to a rating of 112.0 when he was on the sidelines.
At only 28 years old, Douglas is still young enough to where a decline isn't much of a concern, at least not on a short-term contract. Given that he made only $1.6 million last year and had a diminished role, he likely won't even get that much this time around.
Considering the price and the need he'd fill, there could be worse options than Douglas.
Ekpe Udoh was selected relatively high, going No. 6 overall—one spot behind Cousins—in the 2010 draft. However, unlike Cousins, Udoh hasn't panned out relative to his draft position.
He hasn't developed on the offensive end, never averaging more than 5.6 points per game or 9.5 points per 36 minutes. He's also not very efficient, as he's shot only 42.8 percent from the field for his career and has a career player efficiency rating of 10.8 (15.0 is average).
Truth be told, Udoh is similar to another player on this list: Cole Aldrich. Not only were both high draft picks (Aldrich went No. 11 in that 2010 draft), but they both are excellent shot-blockers.
Udoh has averaged 2.6 blocks per 36 minutes during his career, including 2.0 last year. That's the type of production the Kings could use from a third-string center.
This is Udoh's first foray into free agency, so it's unknown exactly how much money he'll command on the market. He's coming off the last year of his rookie deal, which paid him $4.6 million last year, but given what Aldrich—who hit free agency last year—made on his last contract, there's no way Udoh commands close to his 2013-14 salary.
As an unrestricted free agent, the Kings should contact Udoh's representative about signing him to a short-term deal. It'd give the center a chance to reestablish his value, and it would give Sacramento the shot-blocker it needs.
Depending on the contract he signs, Matt Bonner could be a bit overpriced for the Kings. He's coming off a contract in which he made $3.9 million. The 34-year-old is also still in contact with his former team, the San Antonio Spurs, according to Shams Charania of RealGM.
But in terms of fit, Bonner would work out as a big capable of stretching the floor. He's hit 41.7 percent of his three-point attempts over his career, including 42.9 percent last season.
Like he does with the Spurs, Bonner would have a small role with the Kings. With Cousins in the fold, he wouldn't get many minutes at center, and since the Kings have such a logjam at power forward, he'd have to battle for minutes.
Yet next to a player like DeMarcus Cousins, Bonner could be a good fit. His shooting ability would draw another big out of the paint, allowing DMC space to work.
The main concern with Bonner is whether or not the Kings could even sign him. Not only will he potentially price himself out of the Kings' range, but he's likely to stay with the Spurs if he's taking a substantial discount.
If you want to talk Kings basketball, you can find me on Twitter @SimRisso
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