No one wants to recall the perimeter play of the Sacramento Kings last season but it has to be done.
Thankfully Vlade Divac was brave enough to answer the call. The Vice President of Basketball and Franchise Operations told the media on draft night he’d like to sign a defensive small forward in free agency.
As expected, Sacramento declined to extend a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Derrick Williams, giving the team around $10 million to offer free agents. The Kings won’t be able to afford the services of a top-flight talent like LeBron James or LaMarcus Aldridge, but they’ll have the salary cap flexibility to hire a rotation player or two.
Franchises began recruiting free agents at 9 p.m. Pacific Time on Tuesday and can officially sign them on July 8 when the 2016-17 salary cap is determined. Trades can be arranged any time.
Below are nine veteran frontcourt options associated to the Kings, counting their own free agents. To see the list of backcourt targets, click here.
*UFA = PPG = points per game, RPG = rebounds per game, APG = assists per game, SPG = steals per game, TPG = turnovers per game, MPG = minutes per game
Arron Afflalo – unrestricted free agent
2014-15 stats: 13.3 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.7 APG, 0.5 SPG, 1.5 TPG, 32.1 MPG – 78 games (72 starts)
Multiple sources report the Knicks are favorites to sign Afflalo at around $12 million annually. If he has cold feet, Sacramento is an environment ideal for the swingman.
Afflalo and Kings coach George Karl worked together for over three years in Denver. When Afflalo was traded to Orlando in 2012, he was already taking his offense to another level. Today the wing is a reliable set and off-balance shooter, and he sports a pretty post-up game. Afflalo isn’t the tenacious defender that he once was, but Karl could coax the motivation out of him if anyone.
Corey Brewer – unrestricted free agent
2014-15 stats: 11.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.4 SPG, 1.6 TPG, 26.1 MPG – 80 games (17 starts)
As of Wednesday morning, the Kings have yet to reach out to Brewer. The lanky 29-year-old is a high-flyer with scoring range from deep and a long, active perimeter stopper. Brewer is also capable of playing regularly at the two, if the Kings were to keep Rudy Gay primarily at the three. Perhaps his asking price is too high, but a pairing seems beneficial.
Omri Casspi – unrestricted free agent
2014-15 stats: 8.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.5 SPG, 1.3 TPG, 21.1 MPG – 67 games (19 starts)
A year ago Casspi was an afterthought. Right now he’s a wanted man. The 27-year-old salvaged his career by taking his offensive efficiency to new heights. Casspi began the season as a determined slasher and reintroduced a sharp 3-ball by the end of the year. Combined with his responsible ball control and selflessness, the wing made up for what was a down year defensively.
The Kings and Casspi have made it public that they’d like to continue their relationship. Now the question is what are reasonable figures. Sacramento wants to remain flexible in the market and could agree to a handshake deal to sign Casspi once they take care of more imminent priorities.
Reggie Evans – unrestricted free agent
2014-15 stats: 3.7 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 0.7 APG, 0.5 SPG, 1.0 TPG, 16.3 MPG – 47 games (7 starts)
When it came to rebounds and screens, Evans showed no hints of slowing down. Otherwise the 35-year-old was an adventure. The undersized big man took ill-advised shots and was slow defending the paint.
Evans’ slim possibility of a return to Sacramento may be influenced by connections. DeMarcus Cousins and the 13-year pro share a bond, which could be enough to save a final roster spot.
Ryan Hollins – unrestricted free agent
2014-15 stats: 3.0 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 0.3 APG, 0.1 SPG, 0.5 TPG, 9.6 MPG – 46 games (9 starts)
Hollins’ perpetual potential failed to equate major gains in his eighth NBA stop.
Like Evans, the 30-year-old center had some brilliant moments which were overshadowed by untimely blunders. Also similar to Evans, Hollins is well-liked in the Kings locker room and could be brought back in a mentor capacity if the team can’t find a cheap replacement.
Kosta Koufos – unrestricted free agent
2014-15 stats: 5.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 0.5 APG, 0.4 SPG, 0.9 TPG, 16.6 MPG – 81 games (3 starts)
Another Karl understudy in Denver, Koufos would make sense in Sacramento if the Kings could trade Jason Thompson or Carl Landry. The 26-year-old pivot formerly of the Grizzlies is a talented offensive player with post moves, a mid-range jumper and the handles to put the ball on the floor. An aggressive rebounder as well, Koufos is due for a raise after completing a three-year, $9 million deal.
Jeffery Taylor – restricted free agent
2014-15 stats: 4.4 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.4 SPG, 0.7 TPG, 14.8 MPG – 29 games (13 starts)
The Hornets waived Taylor’s qualifying offer, so he’s officially an unrestricted free agent. The 31st overall pick in 2012 has had his career nearly ended by injuries and domestic violence. Zoned in, Taylor is a terrific defender who can knock down set shots. The 26-year-old is an intriguing low-cost, high-reward option for a team desperately in need of his skill set.
Derrick Williams – restricted free agent
2014-15 stats: 8.3 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 0.7 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.8 TPG, 19.8 MPG – 74 games (6 starts)
What an enigma. Williams coupled a dangerous 3-point jumper to his running, rim-attacking play style perfectly tailored for George Karl’s offense. Unfortunately the 2011 second overall pick rarely rebounded, set up teammates or slowed down his assignment.
The Kings declined to extend a qualifying offer to Williams, removing his restricted free agent status and more importantly his $7.2 million cap hold. However Sacramento remains interested in re-signing the 24-year-old forward at a lesser rate. Williams demonstrated last season that he is willing to put the time in the gym to improve, a question mark his first three years in the league.
Dorell Wright – unrestricted free agent
2014-15 stats: 4.6 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.4 SPG, 0.4 TPG, 12.3 MPG – 48 games (2 starts)
Wright’s reputation has tanked since leading the NBA in 3-point makes with the Warriors five seasons ago.
The 29-year-old battled through hand injuries with the Blazers this year but managed to hit 38 percent of his shots from downtown. The athlete also held his own defensively at both forward spots. Wright should come cheap and has a chance to reestablish himself in a low-pressure market like Sacramento.