Now that we can once again talk basketball (hooray!!!), I was taking a gander at the upcoming free agent class as the new CBA makes clear, the Kings have got to spend some cash this abbreviated offseason. Here are some names I like and might be worth a shot. I will not include the obvious choices of Nene or Gasol. I think you give a max offer to Nene on the first day possible and watch as he signs elsewhere. You still have to make that offer, in my opinion. Gasol is tricky, not worth a max contract; but it might take that to outbid the other suitors, including Memphis. I am also assuming that Dalembert is gone and is gone for free (i.e. without a sign-and-trade bringing other contracts/assets). On to the list (in no particular order)...
Jeff Green SF (Restricted) - Why not throw some money at a restricted player and see if we can win a game of chicken? Probably because Jeff Green isn't worth the money you would throw at him as it would take at least $6MM (likely more) to pry him away from the Celtics (or some other team). The Celtics have no cap space and I don't see how they can sign him and still field a team of more than 5 people as they are still paying Shaq and Rasheed Wallace $8MM per. At any rate, since the Kings are improving the SF spot and are willing to spend $8.5MM on John Salmons, why not spend another $8MM on Jeff Green, a better player?
Caron Butler SF - Along those same lines, if you are going to spend on Salmons to improve the SF marginally, why not spend $10-12MM on a very clear improvement. Offensively, Butler is one of the top SF in the league when healthy. Caron is not the best defender, but is long and can block some shots. If the Kings are trying to win now, and I believe that they should, Caron Butler might be one of the Kings' better options. Perhaps Caron will command a price of $15-20MM and this I cannot do. However, I say drop a $40MM check (if healthy) into his lap and see if he suits up in purple.
Mike Dunleavy SF - I know, I know... it's Mike freakin' Dunleavy! Indiana has cap space so they might want to re-sign him; I'm not sure how the Pacers feel about MD. Hell, I'm not sure about how I feel about Mike Dunleavy. If you accept him for what he is, a solid SF and nothing more, then he might be a good acquisition. He shoots a good FG% and 3pt FG%, an asset the kings could use. Imagine if you will if the Kings actually had a 3pt threat at the three position? MD could be what we were all hoping Casspi could be. Now, how much is MD worth? Hmm.... honestly, I might just drop that same $40MM check I was going to give to Caron and hand it to Dunleavy. However, he makes $15MM now and might not want to take a paycut. Too bad, I don't see how he makes that in the new NBA and he would be lucky to get the $10MM I am proposing.
Shane Battier SF/PF - Consummate professional. Diminishing skills but a good veteran leader, How can you not like Shane Battier? Give him $8-10MM for 3 years and he could be had. He might want that price for a bit longer but you can obviously see why I would be hesitant to give it to him (hint - he'll be 37)
Erick Dampier C - The Kings will need a backup center and Erick Dampier is a center. Literally that is the only logic I can come up with to justify this pick. Well, in all honesty Damp is not a bad center, he is just not a good one either. Will he re-sign for the minimum with the Heat again, perhaps. Will he turn down $6-8MM to play for the Kings, perhaps. Would I be upset if the kings actually signed him for that amount, perhaps.
Carl Landry PF - I put Hot Carl on this list purely for nostalgia. It would be great to get him back just to have acquired the rights to Thornton (who should be resigned) for free. I do think that Carl is a bad fit as there is no real need at the PF spot with JJ and JT. Pick up Darnell and I would be OK with how the Kings sit at the four. No need to pay unless serious talent can be had at that position.
Andrei Kirilenko PF - So of course I follow that statement up by listing another PF. AK has talent, but I'm not sure that he has enough to justify both the money and the logjam at the 4. Just to clarify, AK47 does not play SF very well. He is a PF and only plays well as a PF, just ask Jerry Sloan... wait a minute he was fired... really?!? I guess he must have lost the battle with Deron Williams. Wait, he was traded... really?!? Then why did they fire Jerry Sloan? Exactly. I digress, AK47 is a beast on D, and can get his points without having to call his number. He's a team player and I have just always wanted to see him on my team (Jazz fans may disagree). Now the hard part, what is AK47 worth? Max...heck no, I'm sure hoping he isn't expecting that to happen again (yes AK47 is currently a max player...yikes). He's not worth the $18MM or so he makes now, and I might regret saying this, but I'd give him from $10-15MM per year and a $50-60MM contract and pray for the best.
Spencer Hawes C - This pick is not quite as nostalgic as the Landry pick. The Kings need a backup center and Shawes just might be serviceable in that role. Not sure how Philly feels about Spencer and if they will retain his services, but I'd take a roll of the dice one more time (how soon we all forget...well at least me). What's he worth... I'm not sure. He makes $9MM now, and that price seems a bit stiff to me. I'd probably offer the same $6-8MM that I was going to give to Dampier and offer it to Spencer. Is it enough, I have no idea but worth a try. Plus we will get to see him in his peaches shirt more often and that, my friends, is priceless.
Aaron Afflalo SG (Restricted), Nick Young SG (Restricted) - I lumped these two together because I really don't want them, yet I do. The Kings are fairly stacked at SG, at least for the likes of these two gentlemen. They are restricted and likely to be matched, however if you can acquire some talent it might be worth it as we have the space and we need to use it. Acquiring either of these two would certainly mean that perhaps we do not resign MT or perhaps we make some other moves. If you get Afflalo or Young, you play them. Perhaps Thornton could be first off the bench and we could have a sick guard rotation.
Summing it all up, the Kings need to spend money. They do not need to waste money, but it doesn't magically get any better than this year's FA class, so you might as well fill your needs while you can. I would really be disappointed if the Kings adopted a wait till next year approach to FA and spent the cap space on scrubs (some of you may feel that my list fits that description). I don't want everyone on this list, but I would like the Kings to attempt to make some moves to improve the roster. I see my Niners doing well and I think that it is right about the time for the Kings to rise again. I have rooted for horrible teams for too long and it is my turn to reap the rewards. The Kings have enough young talent to win now and it is time to spend some money and roll the dice and see what happens. Our time is now.