Sacramento Kings: Why Outlaw Pickup Shows Kings Betting on Depth

Bryant WestCorrespondent IDecember 17, 2011

NEW ORLEANS - NOVEMBER 13:  Travis Outlaw #25  of the Portland Trail Blazers drives the ball around James Posey #41 of the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans Arena on November 13, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  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 Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Sacramento Kings claimed the rights to forward Travis Outlaw on Saturday afternoon, picking him up off the amnesty waiver after he was released by the New Jersey Nets.

While many fans have expressed their displeasure at the moves Sacramento has made since the start of free agency last week, one thing is certain—general manager Geoff Petrie is putting together a very deep team and is betting that depth will really help the Kings in this shortened NBA season.

Outlaw, an eight-year NBA veteran, was waived by the Nets after just one season in New Jersey by the use of the amnesty clause, which wiped his contract off of the Nets books. Teams were allowed to bid on his services, and Sacramento won after offering to pay him $12 million over the next four seasons.

The 2010-2011 season was a disappointing one for Outlaw, in which he averaged just 9.2 points on 37.5 percent shooting, but this is still a low risk/high reward pickup by the Kings.

Outlaw did not play well in New Jersey but has shown he can be a solid player in the league. In the 2008-2009 season, he averaged 12.8 points and 4.1 rebounds for the Portland Trailblazers while shooting a very respectable 45 percent from the field.

Most importantly, this and the other signings by Sacramento shows a determination by Petrie to bring depth to Sacramento.

Sacramento re-signed guard Marcus Thornton, who will combine with Tyreke Evans and Jimmer Fredette to make one of the youngest and most explosive back courts in the league. The Kings also added forward Chuck Hayes last week to a big man core that already contained DeMarcus Cousins, Jason Thompson and JJ Hickson.

And now Sacramento adds Outlaw to bolster the small forward position. John Salmons is penciled in as the starter, with Francisco Garcia and Donte Greene coming off the bench.

The Kings are obviously trying to get as much depth as possible, and in a shortened NBA season with many more back-to-back contests, it's a smart gamble by Sacramento. The ability to continually have rested and talented players come in off the bench will be invaluable as the season progresses.

The biggest question remaining for Sacramento is free agent Samuel Dalembert, who played with Sacramento last season but has not found a new home yet. If the Kings could convince Dalembert to return, they would arguably become one of the deepest teams in the NBA.

The pickup by Outlaw is a very smart low-risk move by the Kings, and the addition of more depth can only help Sacramento.