Cole Aldrich works out for Sacramento Kings

by Jonathan Santiago & James Ham

Cole Aldrich against the Charlotte Bobcats. (Photo: Steven Chea)

After striking out on Greg Oden, the Sacramento Kings have now turned their attention to another free agent big man.

According to a person with knowledge of the situation, Cole Aldrich worked out for Kings brass Monday afternoon, but did not sign a contract with the team.  The 24-year-old big man out of Kansas also posted a photo to his Instagram account of the baggage claim area at Terminal A of Sacramento International Airport on Sunday night.

Aldrich was acquired by the Kings’ old regime in a six-player deal before last season’s trade deadline.  Along with Patrick Patterson and Toney Douglas, the Kings received Aldrich from the Houston Rockets in exchange for Francisco Garcia, Tyler Honeycutt, Thomas Robinson and cash considerations.

The 24-year-old center played sparingly in his first few weeks in Sacramento, but eventually won over playing time with former Kings coach Keith Smart.  In the final two months of the season, Aldrich stole away minutes from veteran big man Chuck Hayes and performed well in limited time behind DeMarcus Cousins.  Playing in 15 games with the Kings, the 24-year-old center averaged 3.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in just 11.7 minutes per contest.

Aldrich became an unrestricted free agent on July 1st after the Kings declined to exercise the 2013-14 option on his rookie contract.  In addition to the Kings, the fourth-year big man has also reportedly drawn interest from the New York Knicks since hitting the open market.

The Kings currently have 14 of their 15 roster spots occupied by players with guaranteed contracts.  A league source recently indicated to Cowbell Kingdom that the Kings may opt to fill that final spot with a player on a partially-guaranteed deal since their roster is near full capacity.

Under new leadership, the Kings have been aggressive in the free agent market this offseason, making pitches to Andre Iguodala, Jose Calderon and Monta Ellis last month. The front office also swung hard at Oden, who eventually turned down the Kings and several other teams in favor of signing with the Miami Heat.  The team has also been linked to free agent power forward Lou Amundson, who split time last year with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Hornets.

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