Seemingly no team in the NBA has been more connected to a Free Agent this summer than the Sacramento Kings and Ryan Anderson. Anderson, of course, is a Sacramento native who played high school ball at Oak Ridge and grew up watching and falling in love with those same Kings teams we did.
This isn't the first time the Kings have been connected to Anderson either. Anderson actually came to Sacramento back in 2012, but the Kings never ended up making an offer to him. He was a restricted Free Agent at the time, and the Kings opted to instead spend their money on the cheaper Jason Thompson.
Now the Kings have the chance to get Anderson again, and it seems like they're still going to try to make it happen, even though they just drafted two more big men in the draft and have a variety of needs elsewhere, particularly in the backcourt. Why is that?
I have a couple of theories. For starters, the Kings still want help now, and I also believe they're going to trade Rudy Gay at some point this summer. Gay is currently the team's second leading scorer. Someone else has to fill that void should he leave. Anderson could be such a guy. There's also the fact that Papagiannis and Labissiere aren't ready to step in and be contributors just yet, and this would give them more time to develop.
The seemingly biggest reason however, is a matter of mutual attraction. It's not often that the Kings find themselves an upper tier Free Agent that actually wants to come to Sacramento. Last year, that was Rajon Rondo, but he had tarnished his reputation in Dallas and didn't necessarily want to be in Sacramento for the long term, which is why he got that one-year deal. Anderson DOES want to be in Sacramento for the long term, and if the Kings sign him, he'd instantly become one of the top-5 Free Agent signings in Sacramento Kings history just in terms of talent.
Anderson is going to be pursued by others as well, with the Washington Wizards already expressing interest. It's going to cost somewhere upwards of $15 million a year (and that's likely on the low-end of estimates) to acquire him. Personally, I'd be looking to spend that money elsewhere (particularly in the backcourt), but I understand why the Kings are going to at least try. It's not often that Free Agents of Anderson's quality would consider Sacramento among their top options.
Free Agency begins this Friday, July 1st. We'll see how invested the Kings are in bring Ryan Anderson back to his hometown soon enough.