NBA Free Agency begins at 9:01 pm Pacific tonight and it figures to be one of the craziest summers in terms of big payouts ever, as the salary cap is projected to jump a minimum of $24 million (and possibly even higher when the final number is set). This is the biggest cap jump in NBA history, and players that are free agents this year are likely thrilled, as almost every team has significant cap room to go out and spend, including your Sacramento Kings.
The Kings have their sights set on a couple of bigger Free Agents, namely Ryan Anderson and Courtney Lee, but who knows whether they can get one or both of them. Given Sacramento's roster situation, I find it unlikely that the team signs as many free agents as they did last summer when Vlade Divac basically did a full roster overhaul in the summer.
Here's a look at the Kings' current depth chart after the NBA Draft. Note that Duje Dukan and Isaiah Cousins are both not guaranteed to make the Kings' final 15 man roster.
C: DeMarcus Cousins, Kosta Koufos, Georgios Papagiannis
PF: Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere
SF: Rudy Gay, Omri Casspi, Caron Butler, Duje Dukan
SG: Ben McLemore, Malachi Richardson
PG: Darren Collison, Isaiah Cousins
As you can see from that chart, the Kings desperately need help in the backcourt, especially at Shooting Guard. The only thing Ben McLemore has proven in three years in the league is that he shouldn't be a full time starter, and Malachi Richardson is a complete unknown. At Point Guard, incumbent starter Rajon Rondo is likely off to greener pastures, and Darren Collison's future with the Kings is up in the air after a domestic violence charge was levied against him this summer. Isaiah Cousins is a rookie and more of a combo guard. The Kings do have the option of bringing back Seth Curry, but is he ready for big minutes leading the team when he's clearly more comfortable as a scoring option off the bench?
Some or maybe all of these needs won't simply be addressed in free agency, and the Kings will likely have to get creative with trades as well. Kosta Koufos, Rudy Gay, and Ben McLemore all seem like obvious targets for the Kings to move to other teams this summer.
As for Sacramento's cap situation, here's a quick look, not factoring cap holds like Rajon Rondo:
|Estimated Cap Room:||34,706,713.00|
That $34.7 million in room isn't exactly that big once you factor in certain cap holds, but the only cap hold that I believe the Kings will retain will be Seth Curry's qualifying option. I believe the team will end up renouncing their rights to Rajon Rondo and Quincy Acy, removing those cap holds from being included. The team will also likely renounce their right to the Mid-level exception. It should also be noted that I'm factoring in Second Cousins (h/t to Trey Kerby for the nickname) and Dukan making the team on this cap projection, which isn't guaranteed to happen, especially in Dukan's case. Cousins' salary might also end up being higher than the minimum, as he can negotiate his own contract with the team. I have him projected at the minimum for now and it wouldn't surprise me if he does make the team given the lack of backcourt depth.
Depending on what trades the Kings make, they could have more or less room than projected as well. It should be an interesting July, and I'm expecting another busy summer for Sacramento.