The Sacramento Kings have now been mentioned as having interest in a major free agent, this one Tyson Chandler. Ken Berger reported Monday that the Kings are one of four teams who have registered serious interest in the 29-year-old center, who won a title with the Dallas Mavericks last season and made second-team All-Defense. (See the discussion in an earlier FanShot.)
After hearing only about the Kings' interest in their own free agents (Marcus Thornton and Samuel Dalembert) and second-tier players like Chuck Hayes, Nick Young and J.J. Barea thus far, Chandler's a nice shake-up. With the second-tier players, the question is not whether the Kings can compete financially in the market; it's a matter of whether the Kings are willing to overpay to bring in a mid-rung talent. No team has more cap space than the Kings, or as much room to make up under the payroll floor.
But it's easy to imagine the other suitors being willing to keep up with the Kings in a bidding war for Chandler. By using the amnesty clause, the Warriors and Nets can offer Chandler the max. (Bidding for him shouldn't go that high.) The Rockets can get close. The Kings have no real financial advantage there without going truly overboard. So then it comes down to Chandler's preference. I love the future of Sacramento's team ... but clearly the Rockets and Nets are closer to competing for the playoffs, and you could argue a Curry-Ellis-Lee-Chandler core in Golden State would be right there. In Sacramento? We might need a couple more years ... or so.
But if the Kings can legitimately woo Chandler and the price isn't too outrageous (by Win Shares, Chandler was worth $13.8 million last season), it's a no-brainer. His elite defense and efficient offense is a perfect match for DeMarcus Cousins; Chandler just turned 29 in October, so the final year of a four-season deal (the max for a non-Bird free agent) would see the center at 32 years old. For a little bit of perspective, Vlade Divac turned 31 a few days before his first game as a Sacramento King. (Chandler also doesn't smoke a pack a day.) A player like Chandler won't solve all of the Kings' problems -- putting together a more efficient offense has and will remain a concern that primarily falls in the hands of Cousins and Tyreke Evans -- but it'd be a big coup for the club.