5:52pm: Fredette is “strongly leaning” towards joining the Bulls once he clears waivers, according to David Aldridge of NBA.com (Twitter link).
3:26pm: The Kings and Jimmer Fredette have reached agreement on a buyout, the team announced. Sacramento’s press release doesn’t specifically state that the team has placed him on waivers, but presumably that’s the case. The Kings and Fredette’s representatives with Octagon Sports have been engaged in buyout talks this week after Sacramento failed to find a new home for its former 10th overall pick before the trade deadline.
Fredette will likely become a free agent on Saturday, and the Cavs and Bulls appear to be the teams with the most significant interest in signing him. Fredette is reportedly cool on the idea of joining Cleveland and is strongly considering latching on with a playoff team from the Eastern Conference. Chicago is pursuing others on the buyout market, but its best shot at landing a player of note appears to be with Fredette. The Grizzlies had interest, but Fredette was leaning against signing with Memphis in the hours before the Grizzlies claimed Beno Udrih off waivers Thursday, likely short-circuiting any chance of Fredette ending up with them.
Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio nonetheless hears the Grizzlies, as well as the Nuggets, are intrigued, and he names the Jazz a likely suitor as well. The Cavs are a long shot, according to Amico.
It’s not clear how much of Fredette’s $2,439,840 salary he’s giving up in the arrangement. The Kings declined the fourth-year option on his rookie scale contract, so he was due to hit free agency this summer. He never lived up to his draft position in Sacramento, where he saw his playing time shrink with each passing season. Still, he’s shooting 49.3% from three-point range with a 16.5 PER this season in 11.3 minutes per game.
“This was a very tough decision, but we’re confident that the agreement reached today represents the most productive path forward, both for Jimmer and the Kings,” Sacramento GM Pete D’Alessandro said. “Echoing a sentiment that everyone who knows him appreciates about Jimmer, he’s a tremendous person and a consummate professional. We thank him for the meaningful contributions he made to the team and in the Sacramento community. On behalf of an entire organization, we wish him nothing but great success in the future.”
The move opens a roster spot, and a report earlier this week indicated the team was likely to fill it with a 10-day contract for fellow former first-round pick Royce White. Still, coach Michael Malone said Thursday that such a move wouldn’t be happening soon.
Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.