NBA Free Agents 2011: Chuck Hayes Signs with Sacramento Kings

Matt Shetler@@buccos12Correspondent IDecember 9, 2011

ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 20:  Chuck Hayes #44 of the Houston Rockets reacts to being called for a foul during the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on November 20, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

One of the more underrated players on this year's market found a new home today when center Chuck Hayes inked a four-year, $20 million deal with the Sacramento Kings.

The Kings were way under the cap and were able to offer the deal to the gritty and tough Hayes, who at 6'6" is the smallest center in the NBA and joins a good young Sacramento front court that already features J.J. Hickson and DeMarcus Cousins.

Hayes brings defense and toughness to a Kings team that is beginning to assemble a good bit of young talent. He's coming off a season where he averaged a career-best 7.9 points and 8.1 rebounds last season, playing nearly 30 minutes per game.

Dwight Howard won the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year last season, receiving 114 first-place votes. Hayes received two first-place votes, which was the next highest amount in the league. That just goes to show that the value that Hayes brings to a team can't really be measured on the stat sheet.

Hayes played his entire career in Houston up until now, and while the Rockets were in the mix to bring him back, Portland, Minnesota, Toronto and Boston also expressed interest in Hayes.

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