Sacramento Kings: With Samuel Dalembert Gone, Where Do the Kings Turn Next?

Sim RissoFeatured ColumnistDecember 22, 2011

Samuel Dalembert, formerly of the Sacramento Kings, has signed with the Houston Rockets
Samuel Dalembert, formerly of the Sacramento Kings, has signed with the Houston RocketsJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

With Samuel Dalembert being one of the more coveted big men on the free-agent market, the Sacramento Kings went into the offseason knowing there was a realistic possibility that they wouldn't be able to retain Dalembert's services.

In fact, the Kings had a backup plan in former Houston Rockets low-post presence Chuck Hayes. Hayes was signed to a four-year, $21.3 million contract on December 9.

With Hayes on the roster, the Kings had their replacement for Dalembert and it appeared as if the Haitian-Canadian center would sign elsewhere.

But on December 20 it was announced that the Kings were voiding Hayes' contract because he failed his physical. It was reported that Hayes had a heart abnormality, which showed up on an echo stress test.

Hayes has since been cleared by a Cleveland clinic after a series of heart tests, and his representatives are saying that he has no heart issues.

Hayes being cleared by the clinic is obviously good news, considering a potential heart condition is a very serious issue. But since Hayes' contract was voided by the Kings, Sacramento must now find another solution to their lack of frontcourt depth.

The Kings had been rumored to try to re-sign Dalembert. However, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee is reporting that Dalembert won't be returning to the Kings.

According to Jones, the Kings pulled their offer to Dalembert off the table, and the big man has since signed a two-year, $13.7 million deal with the Houston Rockets, making any resumption of talks an impossibility.

So, where do the Kings turn now?

As was pointed out in Jones' article by Kings president Geoff Petrie, most of the proven free agents have already been signed, with the most viable options being Joel Pryzbilla, D.J. Mbenga and Francisco Elson.

Sacramento could also explore a trade and considering the Kings are $3 million below the salary floor, they could trade for a player without having to lose one.

At this point, a trade would probably be the Kings' best option. None of the remaining free agents sound too enticing, and with so much cap flexibility the Kings could acquire a big man without having to do too much jostling.

With so many young and developing players on their roster, acquiring a veteran big man will go a long way in helping the Kings return to respectability. With Hayes or Dalembert in the fold, it looked like the Kings might do just that.

Now Sacramento will need to get creative in order to pull themselves out of the NBA Pacific cellar.

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