Richaun Holmes will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2020/21 season, giving him the opportunity to sign with any NBA team. However, he said this week that he “absolutely” wants to sign a new contract with the Kings when his current deal expires, as James Ham of NBC Sports California relays.
“I absolutely love playing in Sacramento. Love the fans in Sacramento. Love stepping out in that arena with Sacramento across my jersey,” Holmes said. “So I would love to play here and hopefully everything works out, but Sacramento is a great place to play. They’ve embraced me with open arms and it’s somewhere I can definitely see myself playing (going forward).”
It’s not uncommon for a player to publicly express a desire to stick with his current team even if he expects to move on, so it’s fair to take Holmes’ comments with a grain of salt. Still, it would make sense for him to want to remain in Sacramento, where he has enjoyed the best stretch over the last two seasons, emerging as the club’s full-time starting center.
After signing with the Kings in 2019, Holmes averaged 12.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game in 44 contests (28.2 MPG) in ’19/20. So far this season, he’s up to 13.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and 1.6 BPG through 16 games (30.8 MPG). Prior to arriving in Sacramento, he had career averages of 7.7 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 0.9 BPG in 226 games (16.9 MPG) across four years in Philadelphia and Phoenix.
As Ham notes, Holmes’ increased role and production makes him a good bet to receive a contract exceeding his current two-year, $10MM deal. Sacramento will hold the 27-year-old’s Early Bird rights, giving the team the ability to offer a starting salary up to 105% of the NBA’s previous average salary. That would likely work out to a first-year number in the $10-11MM range.
Of course, in order for Holmes to remain in Sacramento, the Kings will have to reciprocate his interest. While there’s no reason to think the team wouldn’t want him back at the right price, it’s worth noting that former general manager Vlade Divac was the one who brought Holmes aboard in 2019. New GM Monte McNair showed when he let Bogdan Bogdanovic walk in free agency in the fall that he’s not necessarily attached to the players acquired by Divac, even if they’ve been productive.