Chasing restricted free agents is tricky business for a number of reasons. Most important, in my opinion, is the fact that, if you want to make it difficult for the other team not to match, generally you need to overpay. Next, according to my understanding, is around the cap hold it creates for 7 days during the free agency period (i.e. how the Marcin Gortat / Brandon Bass scenario played out of Dallas - I'll let our community cap experts explain the details) . Also there's the fact that, if an RFA is worth pursuing, generally the contract will be matched by the team holding his rights. Off the top of my head, the only time I can think of where an RFA offer was not matched was when Utah let Wesley Matthews go.
Despite these challenges, this is something Kings management needs to consider. For instance, I am incredibly frustrated by the fact that the Kings did not pursue Marc Gasol last offseason. Why not try? Why not be part of those conversations? Even if Marc did not want to sign a Sac offer sheet, we are at least raising his price, right? We've been saving up to have cap space for years right ? I'm not saying we even had a chance at Marc Gasol, but why not try for him? He's and Cousins would work well together and would have given Sacramento an imposing front court for the next decade.
So, this post serves two purposes. First, I'd like to bring to point out that there are great RFAs available this year and to analyze/discuss them. Second, I want HERE WE STAY Nation to vocally challenge Kings ownership and management to aggressively pursue at least one RFA this offseason. We have the cap space. We have the need. In fact, we have glaring holes. We even still have our amnesty clause (Salmons or Garcia). Why the hell wouldn't we pursue one of these guys? If the Maloofs are committed to winning they need to step up and prove it. Aggressively pursue an RFA. Shit or get off the can Maloofs. #HEREWESIGN (I'm open to suggestions on a better war cry).
Now for the discussion part. Below is my personal rankings on which RFA's the Kings should pursue. This is not a list of the best available RFAs. Fit has definitely been taken into consideration.
1. Nicolas Batum - A seemingly perfect fit as the Kings' small forward of the future. I am not in the camp that Tyreke is a SF. I think he's a 2 guard. His biggest skill is size and strength, which is negated when he's matched up against a 3. (Moving Tyreke back to the 2 begs a completely separate question as to who is a better 6th man candidate between Tyreke and Thornton, but that should be it's own thread. ) For our 3, we need a low-usage, hustling, defensive-minded, three point shooter. Given that Scottie Pippen is retired, is there anyone in the NBA that fits this description better than Batum? He's freaking perfect.
2. Ryan Anderson - This opens up a complete other discussion: do you surround Cousins with shooters, a la Dwight in Orlando? Or do you put a defensive PF next to him? Either way, Anderson would do a ton offensively for the Kings. He has shot 39% from 3 the last two seasons. He would give Cousins, and to a lesser degree Tyreke, a lot of room in the key. He's also local hailing from EDH and Cal which could help put some fans in the stands. (note: if going this route, Kings should also consider Ersan Ilyasova who might be cheaper/better/tougher and less expensive - also, he's unrestricted. Anderson is the more proven 3pt shooter though, averaging 7 attempts per game last year).
3. Roy Hibbert - He is probably out of our price range. He, unlikely the guys above, probably has zero shot of his team letting him walk. That said he's such a fantastic talent that the Kings have to at least call his agent and have a conversation. Like Marc Gasol last year, adding Hibbert would make the Kings scary.
4. Eric Gordon - Hibbert and Gordon are definitely the two most talented RFAs. Gordon is not necessarily a good fit, given Tyreke and Thornton, but this is essentially the BPA argument. If a player of Gordon's caliber is available and you have money, it would be irresponsible as a GM/owner to not at least give him a call. Unless you're terrified of his injuries, if you can sign him, sign him. You can figure out what to do with your excess talent later.
5. Jeremy Lin - I'm not his biggest fan, given defense and turnovers, but he'd do a lot for the Kings from a marketing perspective. Put aside the fans who'd tune in from Asia, and just consider all the fans we'd steal from the Bay Area. The Kings could even potentially get a TV deal there. Personally, living in San Francisco, I'd appreciate that so I no longer have to fork out cash for League Pass. That said, I love Isaiah.
6. D.J. Augustin - Speaking of Isaiah, I feel like I'm in the minority by believing he's a starting NBA point guard. Even on this site I feel that way. That said, I could be wrong. Teams could potentially figure out in the future how to expose Isaiah and he could be relegated to a career bench PG role. Either way, I've always felt D.J. Augustin was a special player. And when your best player is a big, you need a true point guard, in my opinion. He's worth consideration.
7. O.J. Mayo - Probably too similar to Thornton, but a talented player nonetheless.
The Do Not Pursue List: Decent players but bad fits for the Kings
Brook Lopez - Brook is a good player, but my opinion is that he's not a fit next to Cousins. And I don't like him.
JaVale McGee - If you're of the opinion that a shot blocking defensive big is what we need next to Cousins, superficially McGee is a perfect fit. That said, his idiocy is well chronicled. And we have enough baggage.
Michael Beasley - Probably available, and quite a talent, but probably not a fit. Not a fit because of his personality and because of his usage rates. We've got enough high-usage players already.
J.J. Hickson - No explanation needed.
Jordan Hill - serious downgrade from JT
Marreese Speights - same as above
Anthony Randolph - I'm not a believer
Jerryd Bayless - no need for him. he'd just steal Jimmer's minutes.
If the Kings were only able to pursue one RFA, who should it be?
Nicolas Batum (164 votes)
Ryan Anderson (61 votes)
Roy Hibbert (39 votes)
Eric Gordon (6 votes)
Jeremy Lin (6 votes)
O.J. Mayo (1 vote)
D.J. Augustin (5 votes)
Other (to be explained in comments) (3 votes)
285 total votes