2018 Offseason In Review: Sacramento Kings

Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2018 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s moves from the last several months and look ahead to what the 2018/19 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Sacramento Kings.

Signings:

Trades:

  • Acquired either the Timberwolves’ or Lakers’ 2019 second-round pick (whichever is more favorable), the Heat’s 2021 second-round pick, and cash ($1.5MM) from the Trail Blazers in exchange for the draft rights to Gary Trent Jr. (No. 37 pick).
  • Acquired Ben McLemore, Deyonta Davis, the Grizzlies’ 2021 second-round pick, and cash ($1,544,951) from the Grizzlies in exchange for Garrett Temple.
    • Note: Davis was later waived.

Draft picks:

Departing players:

Other offseason news:

Salary cap situation:

  • Used cap space; still under the cap.
  • Carrying approximately $90.84MM in guaranteed salaries.
  • Slightly under $91.68MM salary floor.
  • Approximately $11.02MM in cap room still available.
  • Full room exception ($4.45MM) still available.

Check out the Sacramento Kings’ full roster and depth chart at RosterResource.com.


Story of the summer:

Sacramento’s front office knew none of the top-level free agents would seriously consider signing with its downtrodden franchise. So it tried to make a big splurge in the restricted free agent market. The Kings made an offer to shooting guard Zach LaVine that they hoped the Bulls would refuse. Instead, Chicago bit the bullet and matched the offer sheet, denying the Kings a player they viewed as a difference maker.

LaVine played 24 games last season after recovering from an ACL tear, yet Sacramento was willing to give him a fully-guaranteed four-year contract worth $78MM. Sacramento figured it could pair up a prolific scorer with De’Aaron Fox, giving it a dynamic backcourt under team control for the next few seasons.

Once they lost their bet that the Bulls wouldn’t want to retain LaVine at that price, the Kings went the bargain basement route. They signed backup forward Nemanja Bjelica to a three-year contract worth a little over $20MM.

Bjelica landed in Sacramento under an odd set of circumstances. He entered the market as a restricted free agent but became unrestricted after the Timberwolves withdrew their qualifying offer. He then agreed to a one-year contract with the Sixers, only to back out of the agreement. It was originally presumed that Bjelica was headed to Europe.

Instead, the Kings swooped in with the multi-year deal that Bjelica had been seeking. He’ll get minutes at both forward spots with his ability to stretch the floor.

Bjelica established himself as a rotation player with Minnesota the past three seasons. He averaged 6.8 PPG and 4.1 RPG in 67 games last season, including 21 starts.

Key offseason losses:

Vince Carter provided star power and a sage voice in the locker room but he wasn’t much of a contributor on the floor. He averaged 5.4 PPG in 17.7 MPG while playing 58 games last season. Carter will play what will likely be his last NBA season with the Hawks.

Another veteran guard Garrett Temple, started 35 of the 65 games he played last season. Noted for his defense, Temple was the team’s seventh-leading scorer at 8.4 PPG while shooting a solid 39.2% from long range. He was dealt to the Grizzlies in mid-July, freeing up more playing time for Buddy Hield, Justin Jackson and Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Temple will jump into the Grizzlies’ rotation as either a starter or steady backup at shooting guard.

Key offseason additions:

The Kings could have added a ballhandling wizard in Luka Doncic with the No. 2 overall selection in the draft. Instead, they opted to go big, snaring Duke freshman Marvin Bagley III. During his lone college season, Bagley  posted averages of 21.0 PPG, 11.1 RPG, and 1.5 APG in 33.9 MPG. The Kings are hoping that he can approach the numbers DeMarcus Cousins used to deliver, albeit in a much quieter fashion.

Combo guard Yogi Ferrell backed out of a two-year agreement with the Mavericks in order to sign a slightly better offer from Sacramento. Ferrell appeared in all 82 games for the Mavs last season, averaging 10.2 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 2.5 APG with a .426/.373/.796 shooting line. He’ll back up Fox at the point and could also see some action at shooting guard.

Ben McLemore returns to the Kings for a second stint, courtesy of the Temple deal with the Grizzlies. McLemore played 56 games with Memphis last season and the 35.1% career shooter from long range will add depth at the shooting guard spot

Outlook for 2018/19:

The Kings tried to get serious about making a postseason run by adding veterans like George Hill, Zach Randolph and Carter to their mix prior to last season.

That didn’t pan out, so Sacramento’s future is tied to its latest batch of first-round picks. The Kings need Bagley to eventually establish himself as an All-Star talent. Fox and Jackson must take big steps forward in their second year.

It’s also time to find out exactly what they’ve got in 20-year-old Harry Giles, who spent last season rehabbing from multiple ACL injuries. The 20th overall pick in the 2017 draft had a promising preseason, averaging 13.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 2.3 APG.

The development of that quartet will overshadow whatever the Kings’ win-loss record may be. It’s a safe bet that their streak of 12 consecutive losing seasons will turn into a baker’s dozen.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post. Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Luke Adams contributed to this post.

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