I took the opportunity to follow a link from somewhere in SBNation to Ken Berger's article "What's in the deal and how it got done" on SI.com. It is a good overview of some of the major bullet points of the deal, and two of those points are telling me that it is going to be a potentially dangerous time for the Kings to spend big money on any free agent beyond Marcus Thornton.
The most important fact to realize is that, just as so often happens at our nearby State Capitol, much of the pain is postponed until later in the CBA. First and foremost is that the new luxury tax rates don't kick in until 2013. Rates remain the same as under the current CBA for 2011-12 and 2012-13. Second, sign-and-trade rules also remain the same for the first two years. Even with changes like new the repeater tax (I'm not sure when the clock starts on that, btw) and new mid-level and extend-and-trade rules, we can - I'd say we should - still expect that for the next two years owners whose teams are on the bubble (of which there are many kinds) are going to feel pressure to overpay players to reach the "next level". Not to mention, the new "Room Exception", (2.5 million for teams under the tax), can only put more fuel on the inflationary fire of a lockout shortened free agent period. Beware, free agency will be an exciting mess this year.
Altogether, and in an already relatively weak free agent class, we will probably find that the good money chasing good players will be max money, after which things will devolve into good money chasing average (or worse) players. For example, with the league-wide dearth of quality bigs (oh, poor Houston), Samuel Dalembert could very easily re-up for a contract larger than the recently completed deal for which he was at least slightly overpaid. Yes he could.
What does that mean for the Kings? First, as a small market team entering a new CBA that should in fact help small market teams in the longer run, Jeff Petrie must continue to be patient and smart. Yes, have some priorities like Thornton, with whom we have the advantage of Restricted Free Agency. Or if you are going to write some max checks, make sure it is for really solid bodies like Marc Gasol or Nene, not injured or aging (but still excellent) players like David West or Tyson Chandler.
Plus, keeping the powder in the horn might be a good thing in case of amnesty apples that may fall from the sky as other teams make room to overpay. Finally, the obvious: next year's free agent class is - at least - a quality one even if the economics the owners were seeking will not be in full effect by then.
We with few exceptions better off to develop young players instead, and frankly, I think we can do quite nicely with Jimmer and JJ on board, and DMC in his second year.