Articles | Free Agency | Numbers

Where do the Kings stand after Day 1 of free agency?

Money was spent, contracts were signed. What do the Kings have left to do?

Over the last 18 hours or so, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and Shams Charania of The Athletic have done their best to alter the landscape of the NBA as we know it, having emptied their iPhone drafts of all of the free agent signings and trades consummated thus far. Many teams made large, splashy, expensive moves yesterday, and while the Sacramento Kings weren't one of them, they still managed to retain their most important free agent, Richaun Holmes, and add a little bit of depth around the edges. With three free agents signed, and the mid-level exception burning a hole in their pocket, the Kings still have several decisions to make heading into the second day of the 2021 NBA season.

Depth Chart

PG: De’Aaron Fox, Davion Mitchell, Delon Wright**
SG: Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Jahmi’us Ramsey
SF: Harrison Barnes, Moe Harkless, Robert Woodard, Justin James*
PF: Marvin Bagley, Chimezie Metu*
C: Richaun Holmes, Alex Len, Damien Jones*

At first glance, the Kings seem to have already filled their 15-man roster, but a lot could change over the coming days and weeks. As of this moment, Delon Wright is still on the team, but he was included in a reported trade to the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday (need link), and according to Keith Smith, that deal is still on in some way, shape, or form. (need link) It's unlikely that the veteran guard will be on the team come opening night.

Aside from the awkward situation with Wright, decisions still must be made for the non-guaranteed deals of Justin James, Chimezie Metu, and Damian Jones. James’ non-inclusion on the team’s Summer League squad doesn’t bode well for his future with the team, and Monte McNair will likely be choosing between one of Metu and Jones moving forward, as the Kings don’t necessarily need two project big men on the depth chart. It’s possible that Metu could once again return on a two-way contract, but Jones is ineligible for that option due to his years of service in the league.

And speaking of two-way contracts, recent draftee Neemias Queta also isn’t included in the depth chart, as he has yet to be signed, and second round picks don’t always make the final roster. If he does perform well enough over the next few months, he could be inked to a minimum deal, or the Kings could assign him as a two-way player to continue his development.

The final name awaiting a decision is Terence Davis. The 24-year old wing was sent the qualifying offer, granting the Kings the rights of first refusal in free agency. He can sign the qualifying offer, a one-year contract worth about $1.8 million, but that path seems highly unlikely, even though it would grant Davis the freedom to choose his team next summer. Instead, Davis can seek offer sheets from other teams and force Sacramento to either match or let him walk, or he can enter into private negotiations with the Kings. His early bird rights transferred at the time of his trade, so Monte McNair can offer a deal up to the same terms as Richaun Holmes, although Davis' final contract would obviously be much less lucrative.

Leftover Lunch Money

The Kings didn’t have a ton of flexibility heading into yesterday afternoon, as any team over the cap is limited in what moves it can make, but Monte McNair did a nice job of adding some depth and retaining talent with his finite resources. Sacramento used one of their two major spending tools, the bi-annual exception, on center depth, bringing back fan favorite and immovable object Alex Len on a two-year deal. The definition of the BAE is in the title, and the Kings won’t have that option available to them next offseason.

Richaun Holmes and Moe Harkless were brought back using cap loopholes that allow teams to retain their pending free agents, even if they’re over the cap. Holmes was signed via early bird rights, allowing him to be paid 105% of the league’s average salary, while Harkless only qualified non-bird rights. In his case, the Kings were able to ink him to a deal worth 120% of his previous contract, hence his two-year, $9 million payday.

Aside from Terence Davis’ pending situation and veteran minimum contracts, Sacramento’s front office has one realistic bullet left in the chamber, and it’s their big one. They still control the standard mid-level exception, which allows them to go over the cap to offer a  free agent a contract of up to 4 years, $41 million. The MLE doesn’t have to be spent on an individual player, but it would be a bit surprising to see the Kings split their one remaining tool into multiple, less valuable contracts with their already crowded depth chart.

Outside of the MLE, a couple of less likely options remain for the Kings. They can sign-and-trade another team's pending free agent, but those sorts of deals are typically negotiated and completed early in free agency, as evidenced by Monday's flurry of transactions. Sacramento would need to find a player who really, really wanted to come here, as well as possessing the correct assets to convince another team to agree to a trade.

One final option for the Kings is their two trade exceptions, worth $3.6 million and $2 million, both of which expire in February of 2022. Those tools allow a team to absorb salary without sending anything in return, but the size of Sacramento's TPEs makes them all but useless, and they cannot be used to sign a free agent outright. TPEs also can’t be combined to make one, larger TPE, nor can they be lumped in with any other sort of exception. In all reality, the Kings are likely looking at the standard MLE and veteran minimum contracts to fill out their roster.

Depth Decisions

Even after the Kings make decisions on Justin James, Chimezie Metu, Damian Jones, Terence Davis, and Delon Wright, and spend their MLE, there is still more work to be done on this roster. Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley have been on the trade block for the last year or so, and the likelihood of either of those players starting the season in a Sacramento uniform feels awfully low. With a major need at one of the starting forward spots, Monte McNair should look to fill that hole whenever he gets around to shedding those players and their contracts.

The Kings were never going to be a major player in free agency with their limited funds and lack of desirability across the league, but they accomplished their one, true goal in re-signing Richaun Holmes to a reasonable contract. With the standard MLE still at their disposal and multiple trades likely on the horizon, Monte McNair is nowhere near done retooling this team as the Kings head into the second day of free agency.

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MaybeNextYear
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August 3, 2021 10:56 am

Yesterday was great, but if this is our core team moving into the season, the offseason is a disappointment. We’d be basically running back an unsuccessful team, again.

Let’s hope we can get something decent for Buddy/Marv, or at the very least not give up an asset to offload anyone.

Interesting FA names that could fill a need: Oubre, Monk, Lauri. We’ll see what happens…

SneakerKing
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August 3, 2021 10:56 am

I see this currently constructed Kings team as one that will fight for a play in spot and either get in because the back half teams had key injuries or the Kings took a slight step up.

I feel they need to see if they can land a deal for Simmons, Siakam, or Ingram to really make a difference. Wouldn’t hurt to sign either Oubre or Hart to the MLE either.

1951
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August 3, 2021 10:56 am

So, top four seed playoff team then?

That’s all I am getting from that baby giraffe guy.

RikSmits
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August 3, 2021 11:56 am
Reply to  1951

Top four seed play-in team!

TerzoM
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August 3, 2021 10:56 am

comment image

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
August 3, 2021 10:59 am

What are the dates of the guaranteed deals for the likes of James, Metu, etc?

SexyNapear
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August 3, 2021 11:07 am

Nothing much left on free agent market at this point.

I’d still explore deal for Siakam . Yes, I’m on the Siakam bandwagon. He’s a buy low asset right now.

Last edited 1 year ago by SexyNapear
Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
August 3, 2021 11:18 am
Reply to  SexyNapear

I think Oubre or Hart could help, but they still won’t make the Kings a playoff team. If they want playoffs they truly do need to swing for the fences.

TheGrantNapear
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August 3, 2021 11:28 am
Reply to  SexyNapear

Masai is perhaps the best GM in the league, McNair isn’t pulling one over on Masai and getting Pascal for cheap.

Kosta
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August 3, 2021 11:31 am
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

What if McNair threw in some…. Cash Considerations?

Eh? Eh?
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Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
SexyNapear
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August 3, 2021 12:18 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

I’d do Hield, Bagley and two top-10 protected firsts. That might be pretty appetizing for a team that wants a quick rebuild. The Kings are in win-now mode. It’s be bold or stay home

Last edited 1 year ago by SexyNapear
RobHessing
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August 3, 2021 11:12 am

In a vacuum, the additions of Mitchell and Len and the re-signing of Holmes and Harkless would seem to nudge the team forward a little. Unfortunately, the Kings also have to look at their progress vs. the other 14 teams in the West, and to that end I’m not sure that they have moved out of the 12 spot yet. The challenge seems to be overtaking NO and SA while not being overtaken by Min. That would give the team the 10th spot and a Vivek-bonering play-in game. I don’t see the Kings overtaking Por this season even if they eventually trade Lillard, and there is no one else in the top 8 that I see the Kings catching, catastrophic injuries notwithstanding.

It seems that the Kings will need a ton of good health, coupled with the bad health of a few teams to have even the faintest chance at a legitimate playoff spot. That said, the contracts aren’t even signed yet, and perhaps there are other deals yet to be done. The current roster of Holmes, Barnes, Fox, Haliburton and Mitchell should at least be compelling to watch, and even more so if/when Walton is sent packing.

Kosta
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August 3, 2021 11:26 am
Reply to  RobHessing

if/when Walton is sent packing.

Here’s some tape for you, Walton:comment image

RobHessing
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August 3, 2021 11:28 am
Reply to  Kosta

Thanks. If I am going to root for this team, Scotch is a given.comment image

Kosta
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August 3, 2021 11:34 am
Reply to  RobHessing

I sometimes wine too much about this team.
comment image

Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
Malrock
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August 3, 2021 12:04 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Even if the team was amazing why would you even consider non scotch options?

RobHessing
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August 3, 2021 12:07 pm
Reply to  Malrock

Try the Carmichael Dave’s Hard Cider. Tastes like Cheetos and tears.

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
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August 3, 2021 12:25 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

comment image

BestHyperboleEver
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August 3, 2021 11:12 am

We’ll see what happens between now and Oct. 19, but at the moment where we stand looks pretty much identical to where we stood at the end of the season. With a tiny bit of where we stood at the end of the previous season sprinkled in. Hopefully there’s something more significant somewhere on the horizon.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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August 3, 2021 11:17 am

Agreed, at this point all that can be said is the Kings didn’t get any worse. If you squint they may have gotten a smidge better, but that doesn’t take into consideration what other teams have done to improve. As of today they are still a 33ish game winning team.

PlayoffModeT
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August 3, 2021 11:24 am

Is there anything to the Richaun Holmes deleted tweet of “4 more years?”

RikSmits
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August 3, 2021 11:58 am
Reply to  PlayoffModeT

he had a better tweet two days ago?

DutchKingsFanInUK
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August 3, 2021 12:07 pm
Reply to  PlayoffModeT

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Kosta
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August 3, 2021 12:10 pm

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TheGrantNapear
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August 3, 2021 11:26 am

Looks like another 30 something win season to look forward to.

AnybodyButBagley
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August 3, 2021 11:48 am

Figure out how to make Bagley disappear and for the first time in long time the roster does not include a “project” or “potential”.

A real basketball will be good for a change.

RikSmits
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August 3, 2021 12:00 pm

Figure out how to make Bagley disappear

Put a physical defender on him who forces him to go right?

RikSmits
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August 3, 2021 11:54 am

Hey, the downvote buttons appear to be gone!

Thumbs up! (Unless I have to clean my cache again…)

RobHessing
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August 3, 2021 11:57 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Nothing worse than having a thumb up your cache.

RikSmits
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August 3, 2021 11:58 am
Reply to  RobHessing

unless it’s a thumb down your cache?

BestHyperboleEver
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August 3, 2021 12:00 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Especially if it’s in need of cleaning.

Kosta
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August 3, 2021 12:07 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

There’s a reason it’s called the shaka
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Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
1951
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August 3, 2021 12:15 pm

Stupid LA BodyOfWaters.

Signing Melo, Monk and whoever else.

RobHessing
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August 3, 2021 12:19 pm
Reply to  1951

If Monk gets a ring before Fox gets to the playoffs, it’s going to break De’Aaron.

1951
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August 3, 2021 12:23 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

I hate that signing because it’s exactly what they need.

1951
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August 3, 2021 12:41 pm
Reply to  1951

I mean, Monk brings their average age down by like a month or so at least!

The Kings should run like Dave Joerger is their coach when they play the Lakers (not that Luke Walton will be able to think of that).

Last edited 1 year ago by 1951
RikSmits
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August 3, 2021 12:44 pm
Reply to  1951

Superteam, just old!

Rosevillain
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August 3, 2021 12:46 pm
Reply to  1951

I would sooo enjoy watching this team miss the playoffs.

RobHessing
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August 3, 2021 12:46 pm
Reply to  1951

Lakers jersey sponsor for 21-22:comment image

Kosta
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August 3, 2021 12:53 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Metamucil World Peace!
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Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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August 3, 2021 1:00 pm
Reply to  1951

I really think the League needs to adjust the vet minimum rules. 3 players shouldn’t be able to take up your entire cap and the rest are filled with exceptions and vet minimum deals. This along with adding waived players near the deadline is hurting the game, IMO.

As it stands, the contending teams will have close to double the salary as teams near the bottom. I feel the cap needs to be more restrictive.

NorCalKingsFan
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August 3, 2021 1:59 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Or a straight hard cap

Last edited 1 year ago by NorCalKingsFan
BestHyperboleEver
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August 3, 2021 4:20 pm
Reply to  NorCalKingsFan

Yep. Get rid of the max contract and harden the cap. But also raise the cap. More money should be flowing to the players.

Last edited 1 year ago by BestHyperboleEver
ScottyPop
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August 3, 2021 2:47 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Couldn’t agree with this more.

The cap, as currently constructed isn’t accomplishing what it’s intended to.

Want2win
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August 3, 2021 1:22 pm

I wonder why Holmes erased his 4 more years in Sac tweet

CLticketBuyer
August 3, 2021 4:47 pm
Reply to  Want2win

I think someone told him to wait until the ink dries on free agency…

Kingsguru21
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August 3, 2021 5:52 pm
Reply to  CLticketBuyer

Most likely this is the case. Although I don’t get why. You can’t tamper with your own FA.

krswin
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August 3, 2021 2:48 pm

Nice recap, thanks. All things considered, I guess Monte has done well.

KingsSince85
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August 3, 2021 3:43 pm

Our downvoting ability has been taken away 🙁

Not that I want to down vote this article. It was a nice update!

Last edited 1 year ago by KingsSince85

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