With that $19.3 million decision though comes the fact that as of now Sacramento doesn't have very much wiggle room under the luxury tax to add further talent without trades. That makes it all the more important for the Kings to retain what talent they do have, which brings us to Isaiah Thomas.
Thomas has received his Qualifying Offer and is set to be a Restricted Free Agent, but if I was the Kings he'd be the first stop I make at midnight on July 1st. Even if you aren't convinced he's the long term starter for this team, keeping him is still important because losing his production and talent would be a big blow to a team already lacking in both. Getting assets back in a Sign and Trade isn't much of a guarantee either. Last season the Kings got a couple 2nd round picks and Greivis Vasquez for Tyreke Evans, but the Kings were lucky the Pelicans had something of value that Sacramento wanted. If Isaiah were to sign with a team that doesn't, he could conceivably walk for nothing.
Thomas is a good young player who has improved every year he's been in the league. We've documented just how good he is several times in the last few months alone. The Kings aren't going to be able to land a player of similar value in Free Agency this year and probably not via trade. Not with how close they are to the tax.
Building a good team, something the Kings haven't been in years, means you have to keep the assets you do have. Isaiah Thomas is a big time asset, probably Sacramento's most valuable player after DeMarcus Cousins. If you can make decisions like giving Carl Landry $6.5 million a year, you can spend a little bit to retain a player as talented and as valuable as Isaiah Thomas.
[Editor's note: Jason Jones had a similar take in Monday's Sacramento Bee. Check it out.]