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This free agency period is a crucial time for the Kings

It may not seem like it, but the stakes are high.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

This summer is a critical time for the Sacramento Kings organization. It may not seem like it. Public opinion is about as low as it has ever been, which is sad considering how many years this team was run by the Maloof family. Even with a great free agency period, nobody will expect the Kings to contend for a playoff spot next season. So why is this summer so important? Because the Kings desperately need to change that public image before next summer.

The summer of 2016 will see the influx of money from the new TV deal. Every team will have money and cap space. The Kings will still have Cousins on a team-friendly contract for two more seasons, and will be opening a brand new arena. It should be a time when Sacramento becomes a desirable location for free agents, to a certain extent.

None of that can happen without publicly changing the perception of this franchise.

So while the Kings won't contend for any top-level free agents this year, they need to make some smaller moves that pay off. They can take a gamble on playing like Rajon Rondo, Monta Ellis, or Ty Lawson. If the Kings can help one of those players be success, it might start to change the narrative. Those type of free agent moves, couple with a few good trades, could remove the cloak of misery that has hung over this franchise since Michael Malone's firing.

The Kings can't afford another sub-30 win season. This is a critical juncture. It has me nervous. My biggest fear is that we open the season with a roster almost entirely similar to the roster with which we ended last year. The Kings need major changes.

Next summer is important, so the Kings can't afford to fall short this summer.