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Kings Pulse: Richaun Holmes Overview and Pending Free Agency

Richaun Holmes is up for a big payday this offseason, so we took a look at his 2020-21 season and what could happen in free agency.

Richaun Holmes had a career year in the 2020-21 season, finishing with 14.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.6 blocks per game on 63.7% shooting and 79.4% from the line. He was one of the Kings few successful defensive players and  arguably the lone consistent big man on the roster. And one of General Manager Monte McNair's biggest offseason puzzles is to figure out how to retain Holmes—or, at least avoid seeing another starter level player walk for nothing.

Our deep dive into Holmes this episode covered:

  • His 2020-21 season, both the good and the bad
  • His ranking among all NBA starting centers
  • His value in free agency - and how many centers in free agency might command more money than he will
  • What teams with cap space might be interest in Holmes
  • How McNair might be able to clear more capspace - or sign and trade Holmes for some value
  • What happens if Holmes leaves for nothing?

McNair's decision to stand relatively pat at the trade deadline—or his inability to find an acceptable deal—has tied his hands with arguably one of his most important players. If Holmes leaves Sacramento this summer, the Kings big man core is reduced to Marvin Bagley, Robert Woodard, Damian Jones, and Chimezie Metu; not exactly a playoff caliber starting front-court or rotation.

The Kings Pulse podcast is available on all major listening platforms.

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andy_sims
May 26, 2021 10:00 am

McNair’s decision to stand relatively pat at the trade deadline—or his inability to find an acceptable deal

“Inability to find an acceptable deal?”

Obviously, I don’t have the details of what did and didn’t happen at the deadline, but “inability” seems like weighted language suggesting that McNair just didn’t try hard enough. I mean, I’d like to get myself into a home in San Francisco for $200,000, but there is no amount of effort that I can expend that’s going to make that happen.

RobHessing
May 26, 2021 11:09 am
Reply to  andy_sims

It all comes down to McNair’s valuation of players like Barnes, Hield and Holmes vs. what the market is offering. So it’s less about wanting a home in SF for $200k, and more about pricing your home in a range that might attract a buyer while still giving you a satisfactory return.

As I have noted before, some of this may be a hard line approach by a new front office as a means of serving notice to the rest of the league. Some of it may be the application of an intrinsic value to a player (Barnes). Regardless, the yardstick is the end result, and to this point the organization has largely stood pat with a perennial lottery team, both with the roster and the coaching staff. Nailed the 12 pick, got embarrassed a bit by getting zip for Bogi, and is now faced with the possibility of losing Holmes for nothing while failing to make the playoffs.

Hey, maybe it’s out of their control. Maybe no other organization could have yielded a better result to the season or the trade deadline if given the exact same roster and set of circumstances. But the result is ultimately the result, and this organization has a lot of work to do this summer if it ever intends on climbing out of the morass that it has (mis)managed to sink further into with each passing year.

Last edited 22 days ago by RobHessing
andy_sims
May 26, 2021 11:59 am
Reply to  RobHessing

You’re right, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done, and short of landing an all-star-level player at the 4/5, there’s no magic bullet that’s going to move the needle enough.

I still think that under the circumstances, letting Bogdan walk was the right move. If he was still here, not only would Holmes’ departure be all but certain, but even the limited amount of wiggle room the Kings currently have would have disappeared. It would essentially lock in the same roster as this year’s, which no one could possibly be happy about. It’s also important to note that McNair had a good deal with the Bucks before Bogi and his agent set it on fire, which really put the organization into a corner.

Between the draft, free agency, and trades, circumstances could be radically different, but my take is still that no deal is better than a bad deal. Something has to be done, but action for action’s sake isn’t worth it, as we learned with the Philly deal.

Otis
May 26, 2021 12:04 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

If he was still here, not only would Holmes’ departure be all but certain, but even the limited amount of wiggle room the Kings currently have would have disappeared.

Well, I like Holmes, but I’d much rather have Bogi on his deal than Holmes longterm on 12 to 15m per year.

andy_sims
May 26, 2021 12:10 pm
Reply to  Otis

Given the number of guards currently on the roster, most of them good fits, why would you prioritize Bogi at $18 million over Holmes at $12-$15?

Otis
May 26, 2021 12:14 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Simple – better players/assets > weaker players/assets.

The minutes thing doesn’t make a difference to me. We played Cory Joseph, Terence Davis, Justin James and DaQuan Jeffries over 2,000 minutes this season.

And if it meant Buddy sat more, I’d have had no problem with that.

andy_sims
May 26, 2021 12:29 pm
Reply to  Otis

At these prices, I don’t think that Bobo is a better asset than Holmes. I’m not really sure that even for the same salary that Holmes isn’t the better asset once you factor in defense and durability.

Otis
May 26, 2021 12:34 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

I think Bogdan on the roster probably gets the team to the play-in game. And I’m not sure Holmes is an impact rotational player on a playoff level team.

andy_sims
May 26, 2021 2:30 pm
Reply to  Otis

I didn’t even think of him getting the Kings to the play-in game!

Still, that seems like something that supports my point of view rather than your own.

Otis
May 26, 2021 2:38 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Still, that seems like something that supports my point of view rather than your own.

I believe that you believe that. 😉

Bbmuteman
May 26, 2021 2:49 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

I’m with you there. Bogi misses too many games due to injuries. Holmes gets days off for injuries too, but he’s way more of an iron man than bogi.

Otis
May 26, 2021 2:51 pm
Reply to  Bbmuteman

I wonder if Atlanta wishes they had Holmes instead of Bogi right now.

Bbmuteman
May 26, 2021 2:56 pm
Reply to  Otis

They don’t need holmes because they have capela, collins, and okongwu soaking up those minutes. Bogi is a need because gallo hasn’t really played well for them.

Bbmuteman
May 26, 2021 2:58 pm
Reply to  Bbmuteman

Sorry, I should have said, up top, that the kings need holmes more than bogi.

Otis
May 26, 2021 3:20 pm
Reply to  Bbmuteman

I think the Kings need better talent, regardless of position.

Again, I like Holmes, but he’s an undersized center that isn’t a floor stretcher. Eminently replaceable.

Bbmuteman
May 26, 2021 3:31 pm
Reply to  Otis

100% agree with the sentiment that the kings need talent everywhere. I’m not sure Holmes’ production can be replaced as easily, or cheaply, as you think though.

andy_sims
May 26, 2021 5:33 pm
Reply to  Otis

That isn’t the same thing as saying that Bogdan is a better value than Holmes, which was where we started. Besides, Haliburton is already far better on defense, and likely to be a more effective player on the offensive end, sooner rather than later.

At $18 million per year, he might not even be the first guard off the bench in Sacramento, let alone a starter. Bobo would be incredibly redundant on the roster, and his primary contribution would be managing to somehow make the defense even worse.

I think Davis has a much higher upside as a two-way player, and any deficit that Wright may have on the offensive end is more than compensated for by his defense. Bobo is a talented player on offense when he’s healthy, but is he really worth two or three times what Wright makes, or four or five times what Davis is likely to get this summer?

On a roster that puts the ball in the basket pretty well, and sucks hard on defense, $18 million per year is a massive overpay. If his abilities were switched, and it was his defensive prowess we were talking about, and he was essentially Andre Roberson on offense, maybe you could make a case in justifying that kind of money, but as for me, I’d be hard-pressed to make one.

rockbottom
May 26, 2021 5:50 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Have you watched the Hawks ? Bogi is better than any player not named Fox and even that is close !

andy_sims
May 27, 2021 9:17 am
Reply to  rockbottom

My response would be, have you watched the Hawks?

Is there another Hawks team with someone called Bogi who is a better basketball player than Fox? Because if you mean the Atlanta Hawks, I’ll have what you’re having.

MichaelMack
May 26, 2021 7:57 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Very well reasoned Andy

Otis
May 26, 2021 8:48 pm
Reply to  MichaelMack

Except that first paragraph is all fantasy.

Otis
May 26, 2021 8:47 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Haliburton tries hard on defense, but there’s no evidence he’s good at that end of the floor (yet).

rockbottom
May 26, 2021 5:47 pm
Reply to  Bbmuteman

Bogi has played at an All Star level and has nothing to do with Gallo !

Bbmuteman
May 26, 2021 6:20 pm
Reply to  rockbottom

If gallo had been playing better to start the season, there would be less time for bogi. They have the same problem the kings did which was redundancy at the 2-3 spot, but luckily for them gallo sucked and bogi played great.

That team is actually not playing huerter and reddish enough and shouldn’t be, as they were looking at playoffs or bust. Kings should inquire about those two guys in the offseason.

BestHyperboleEver
May 27, 2021 8:53 am
Reply to  Bbmuteman

Gallo hasn’t played SF in a couple years and hasn’t been anything close to a SG since his rookie year. He and Bogi don’t overlap.

RikSmits
May 26, 2021 10:16 pm
Reply to  rockbottom

Gallo likes Bogi’s chances!

andy_sims
May 26, 2021 5:19 pm
Reply to  Otis

I know that you’re being sarcastic, but even with Capela and Collins, I’ll bet they’d have been happy to have Holmes at the salary he was getting in Sacramento, need or not.

KingsSince85
May 26, 2021 4:48 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Andy, I’d like to be able to give your comment two thumbs up! It’s a great point. Whomever “down voted” the comment should be blocked for the site.

andy_sims
May 26, 2021 5:36 pm
Reply to  KingsSince85

I appreciate that, but I’ve yet to see a comment where a thumbs down couldn’t be justified if you’re really willing to work for it.

I imagine an ability like that probably sits pretty close the rationalization center in the human brain, which takes up about 75% in most people.

andy_sims
May 26, 2021 11:41 am

Some interesting trade and S&T scenarios presented here, so let me run this by you:

I think that the Knicks chose Obi Toppin in the draft with the expectation that he would eventually supplant Randle, who a year ago, was probably not being factored into the Knicks’ long-term plans. Obviously, Randle’s all-star-level play has changed the calculus on that.

What is your take on a trade sending Hield to New York for Toppin and cap space and/or something like a second-round pick? I’m not great with cap stuff, so something along these lines may not be possible.

I don’t know if Toppin will ever be a good defender, but he’s a smart kid, and I think could manage on a roster with a good defensive center, and better play on that end from the guards. A lot of ifs, admittedly.

RobHessing
May 26, 2021 12:07 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

The Knicks have a shit ton of cap space and no really bad contracts to send back (Knox at $5.8m is probably the worst?), so it would come down to what they think they can land in free agency this year. If they strike out in free agency, Hield and/or Barnes could become attractive to them. Attractive enough to cash out on Toppin? I have no idea.

andy_sims
May 26, 2021 12:25 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

There aren’t a lot of top-tier free agents available this year, although Kawhi may be in play if the Clippers completely implode. Madison Square Garden definitely looks like a desirable destination after so many years of being the place where bad contracts go to die. Depending on how the playoffs go for the Knicks may try to hang on to some of that space for 2022 when Harden, Westbrook, Durant, Curry, Beal, Butler, and Irving could all be available.

New York could use another shooter, so maybe they’d be interested in Hield to fill that role until one of the really big names comes on the market. His declining contract and their cap space may grease the skids for them.

Otis
May 26, 2021 12:35 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

That Clippers situation is going to get ugly if they go down to Dallas.

RAP87
May 26, 2021 1:04 pm
Reply to  Otis

Agreed. If they lose to the Mavs in the 1st round, Kawhi could possibly leave L.A and might go to Miami. Paul George would probably be traded as well for picks and young players as they try to recoup the draft picks they gave away to land Kawhi and PG. Could get interesting this next 2 weeks.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
May 26, 2021 1:25 pm
Reply to  RAP87

If Boston and the Clips both go down, all eyes will be on them at the draft. There could be some fireworks.

BestHyperboleEver
May 26, 2021 1:36 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I don’t know. We fans tend to overstate how reactionary teams will be. We are much quicker to tear down teams or trade stars than teams, especially perennial playoff teams, are. Obviously, if Kawhi declines then they’ll have some work to do, but I wouldn’t assume they’ve move PG. I would guess they’d try to put some talent around him.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
May 26, 2021 1:55 pm

I might be more interested to see what Boston does. They are capped out, have no player/team options and used a good chunk of that TPE on an expiring Fournier. I’m not sure how they improve unless they make some moves. The Clippers at least have the options to extend Leonard and Ibaka or have the space to add players if those two walk.

BestHyperboleEver
May 26, 2021 2:08 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I kinda expect Boston to just do some work around the edges and run it back. A team with two, 2-way versatile wings under 25-years-old and under contract for another 3+ years doesn’t have to panic too much. Just shoring up their front court a bit + a healthy season. I don’t think they’re going to win a championship next season, but simple development, health, and a little front court cobbling probably pushes them back up into the 4th seed range.

andy_sims
May 26, 2021 2:32 pm

That makes sense, when their players are healthy, I don’t think anyone is thrilled to tangle with the Celts. A whole lot of talent and intensity in Boston.

Otis
May 26, 2021 1:57 pm

I think the combination of Kawhi’s contract, their Laker inferiority complex, Ballmer and a first round Dallas loss makes it interesting.

But likely, you’re right – they’d just work on building around PG if Kawhi jumped ship.

andy_sims
May 26, 2021 2:34 pm
Reply to  Otis

It’s not crazy to think that using Leonard’s salary to shore up non-wing positions around George could bear fruit. I guess a lot would depend on PG’s attitude about being left on the boat.

andy_sims
May 26, 2021 1:28 pm
Reply to  Otis

Definitely. If after all of the assets given up and money spent by the Clippers still sees them on vacation in May, or early June, all bets are off.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
May 26, 2021 1:24 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Knicks definitely need a shooter and Hield fits that bill. Like Rob said, if they strike out in FA, or just don’t decide to test their fate that way (they’ve been burned the last few years) they may just take Hield off the Kings hands and send very little back in return. Hell, they could send nothing in return and absorb his whole deal if they really wanted to.

RobHessing
May 26, 2021 1:33 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Heck, they have the 19 and the 21 picks (and the 32). Give me one of those 1st rounders and swap me the 32 for the 39 and I’m good.

RAP87
May 26, 2021 1:34 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Hield for Knox and I’d take that deal. Knox has been a disappointment in NY and needs a fresh start. Gives us another young player to look at.

andy_sims
May 26, 2021 2:39 pm
Reply to  RAP87

Knox, even in college, didn’t seem to me like he was going to succeed in the NBA, and I was very relieved when the Kings passed on him. I might take him back as ballast in a trade, but with no expectation that a change of scenery is going to be the cure.

RAP87
May 26, 2021 2:56 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Yep I wasn’t a big Knox fan either but hey if that gets us off Buddy’s contract then I don’t mind taking a flier at Knox. Give him a free look for a year and if there’s really nothing to him then cut him loose. If he shows a little bit of promise then offer him a value contract.

andy_sims
May 26, 2021 5:39 pm
Reply to  RAP87

Well, not free, but I agree with you otherwise.

Gregoryl
May 26, 2021 2:54 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I’d trade Hield to NYK for a 2nd round pick

BestHyperboleEver
May 26, 2021 3:25 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

If we just trade into their cap space, would we get a big ol’ trade exception?

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
May 26, 2021 9:13 pm

I believe so. Nate addressed it better than I can, but as long as the Kings operate above the cap then they would get a large TPE. Nate?

Bbmuteman
May 26, 2021 2:51 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Obi is the Knicks’ version of bagley. Fellow fans would skewer him for not being an impact player right away. I don’t think he would do well in sac.

andy_sims
May 26, 2021 5:40 pm
Reply to  Bbmuteman

Because after one year of playing behind an MVP candidate, we definitely know what Toppin can do.

Bbmuteman
May 26, 2021 6:28 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

That’s my exact point about bagley. Toppin hasn’t been given the minutes. He may get minutes here if traded for, but the fanbase will turn on him like they did bagley if he doesn’t show out by the end of the season.

andy_sims
May 27, 2021 9:26 am
Reply to  Bbmuteman

You said a thing, I presented a nearly opposite opinion, and then you say that what I said is exactly the point you were trying to make.

The circumstances of Bagley and Toppin aren’t comparable. If you take out the fact that Bagley was selected too high, the main problem with Marvin is that he’s had a lot of unfortunate injuries, so his minutes have been limited. Toppin, who plays the same position as Julius Randle, hasn’t gotten a lot of minutes because Randle has been so great, and instead of being terrible, the Knicks have been very solid. Particularly with a coach like Thibodeau, a rookie behind the best player on the roster isn’t going to get a ton of opportunities.

Bbmuteman
May 27, 2021 10:23 am
Reply to  andy_sims

I had a whole thing written just now, and rereading it to ensure I was making sense, I realized I did what I did up top. I just reiterated the same thing again.

I’ll just leave it like this. I respect your passion for the kings and more realistic possibilities of what the front office could do to improve the roster. We may not see eye to eye on what players the front office should be targeting, but you and I can agree the team isn’t currently setup for success as constructed.

andy_sims
May 27, 2021 10:36 am
Reply to  Bbmuteman

That, sir, is indisputable.

I’m not really sure if what any of us have at this point is passion. I think “enraged hope” gets a bit closer to whatever it is we have.

eddie41
May 26, 2021 12:53 pm

Best quote from podcast: “the push shot shows he’s not done improving”.

Kayte_Hunter_Fan_club
May 26, 2021 8:36 pm

The general discussion is significantly over valuing Holmes IMO. You can’t help liking his heart and effort level but he is an undersized big who can’t score from the perimeter and those guys are not in high demand in today’s NBA. When I look around the league and try to find a fit for Holmes I just don’t see many possibilities. A only team with the resources and the need I could identify is Charlotte and maybe the Lakers if they part with some salary. I’d be very careful on this one. The last thing we need is another albatross contract. Holmes for 12-15 mil a year as some suggested is a massive overpayment.

andy_sims
May 27, 2021 9:44 am

He probably is overvalued in Sacramento, although that’s understandable, since he busts his ass and is reliable. I would disagree that he wouldn’t be a good fit on very many teams. Even as a bench guy, he brings energy and intensity at both ends, and that’s valuable for any team. If he was legitimately 6’11’ or more, he’d be given all-star consideration. But he isn’t.

The question is, if he’s ultimately a bench guy getting 30+ minutes a game, how much are you willing to pay for it? I think the 4/$47m number the Kings can offer is pretty on the nose, but my gut tells me he’ll be offered more. I also expect that McNair is going to do his homework looking for assets that could be had for the offer likely to be extended to Holmes.

Kayte_Hunter_Fan_club
May 28, 2021 6:38 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Name 3 teams who can spend $47 mil for Holmes.

andy_sims
May 28, 2021 2:37 pm

OKC, Toronto, & San Antonio, for starters. The Knicks could easily afford it, and Memphis, Charlotte, Orlando & Houston already have enough ’21-’22 cap space to cover that much, as does Dallas.

So, pick any three that you like.

Bbmuteman
May 27, 2021 10:37 am

What do you think is a fair contract for holmes?

Did you like any alternatives mentioned in the podcast?

Out of all the names listed as an alternative if holmes walks, I think Noel might be able to provide some of that switch ability on D.

Kayte_Hunter_Fan_club
May 28, 2021 6:37 am
Reply to  Bbmuteman

The absolute max I’d offer is 3 years $30mil with a team option in year 3. As for alternatives let’s wait and see where the lottery balls fall. I’m for possibly trading the pick for the right deal. I also like Zach Collins as someone else suggested on a team friendly contract. I like Moses Brown on a flyer.

andy_sims
May 28, 2021 2:53 pm

Brown sure looked like he had all of the tools to become a pretty good center in the league. Getting in on the ground floor there might pay off.

Still, he hasn’t attempted a single three-pointer in the fifty-two games he’s played in the league. From what I’ve seen of DJones’ shooting form, he could possibly become something of a stretch five, so I’m happy he’s going to be around for training camp, and getting reps in. It’s got to make the offseason work less of a chore when you know that you’re already under contract.

Hamlet1989
May 28, 2021 7:34 am

Buddy 4 Zubac/Kennard

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