Sacramento Kings: A (Nearly) Ideal Summer
Now that the Kings will remain in Sacramento for at least another season, there are many other things to ponder and take care of before that elusive March 1 deadline rolls around.
They have the seventh pick in the draft, a lof of cap room, and some players they should at least consider re-signing.
The Kings have a busy offseason and one that could be very important in helping win games and not to mention win back the support of the Sacramento community.
Here are some areas the Kings should be addressing over the offseason.
Re-sign Thornton and Dalembert
I know there are a fair amount of Kings fans that don't exactly support a Dalembert signing. His defensive presence on the court was undeniable and something the Kings had lacked since Keon Clark dawned the purple and black in 2003.
Dalembert was a legitimate post defender for the Kings, tough and not just a weak side shot blocker. He played well starting or off the bench, and with the uncertainty of Thompson and Whiteside, it might not be a bad idea to bring back someone that offered stability, especially towards the end of the season.
While Dalembert would be a nice player to bring back, Marcus Thornton is a must-have next season. Coming out of Monty Williams' dog house in New Orleans, Thornton was allowed him to play to his strengths and at a level many hadn't seen yet.
He scores in bunches, can shoot lights out and find his own shot. The Thornton is a nice complement to Evans, allowing for more space on his isolations and a kick out for open jumpers when the defense collapses.
The Kings finished off the season with an 8-8 record, and I would have a hard time believing that these two players didn't have a noticeable impact during that stretch.
Always Go BPA (Best Player Available)
At No. 7 in the draft, the Kings options are fairly limited in terms of impact players. At the moment, there are three that are on my radar for the Kings. Those being Brandon Knight, Kawhi Leonard and Kemba Walker.
The latter two seem a bit more likely, as Brandon Knight has been advertised as a lock in the top three, and many speculate he will not fall past the Raptors at five.
A long, silky smooth combo guard who can score from just about anywhere on the floor, and highlights of his workout with the Kings were very impressive.
Leonard looks to be an NBA ready player who will contribute out the gates, and could even shore up the small forward spot for the Kings. A long and physical defensive player, Leonard could solidify one of several holes the Kings need to address.
As of the Mock Draft on ESPN today, Kemba Walker is slated to be the Kings pick at seven. And in my opinion this would be a fantastic fit. The tiny lightning fast guard virtually willed the Huskies to an NCAA title, the dude can flat-out score.
The guy is a born leader and a high character guy, which would be a great change from spotty players the Kings have selected the last few years (Whiteside, Cousins, Evans) and could be that leader on the floor this team desperately needs.
While Knight would be great, Leonard and Walker might be the more likely candidates available at seven. Well, Jimmer Fredette will be available, but if Petrie takes him I may have to start rooting for the Warriors.
Sign a Free Agent, Anyone.
If the Kings can snag Leonard or go with some other wing player in the draft, there are a plethora of guards and combo guards the Kings might want to look to sign this summer.
Realistically, they won't be able to nab anyone of worth. It would be nice to grab a Shannon Brown or a Kris Humphries, but someone like a Earl Clark wouldn't be a bad signing either.
While it remains to be seen if he can play in the NBA, he has the potential to be at least a decent player. He has the physical gifts and some of the required polish to be successful in the NBA but hasn't quite put it all together yet, kind of like Donte Greene.
If Greene could make it click, the discussion of the small forward spot would not be an issue for this team. He can guard three, if not four different positions on the floor and has shown offensive prowess.
Now coming into his fourth season it may be time to shape up or ship out. He took two steps forward his second year, but then took one large step back this past season.
For someone as physically gifted as Greene and with some of the necessary tools and skills, it will be his mental ability that will determine how far he goes.
I've said for a few years now, the Kings can go as far as Greene can develop. Which would explain the correlation between questionable improvement from that abysmal rookie year and minimal improvement from the Kings.
But What I'm Really Concerned About...The Lockout and Relocation (Again)
This past season's antics with the Maloof brothers may have been nothing more than a stopgap between now and when they will move. Or it could have been a huge bluff, which has worked somewhat to push the city of Sacramento to show they are serious about keeping this franchise.
Although the league did put a feather in Sacramento's cap by opposing the move, they did say if no progress was made on an arena proposal that the NBA would support a move next season. If there is a season, that is.
A lockout looms and a potential relocation hangs in the balance as two significant scenarios waiting to be played out. Right now, with the Finals on the verge of wrapping up, the next date to watch is July 1, which may not be the beginning of free agency, but the day that a second work stoppage in 13 years could occur.