The Sacramento Kings aren’t facing any immediate decisions with their roster, but we know there are some big decisions coming this summer. The Kings have multiple options a many different places on the roster. On a recent episode of The Kings Insider Podcast, James Ham shared some insights on who he believes the Kings are planning to keep around. Obviously nothing is for certain, but James generally has a pretty good sense of how the winds are blowing inside the Kings.
Let’s start with the no-brainers and then we’ll work through the more difficult predictions.
The following players will be back on the Kings roster unless they are traded this summer:
Some players are pretty solid locks to be gone, including:
Afflalo is on the hook for $12.5 million next season, but only $1.5 million is guaranteed. Afflalo was meant to be a veteran wing on a team pushing for the playoffs. There’s no chance he’s back next year.
Some Kings fans have hoped that maybe Tyreke would stick around, but according to Ham that sounds very unlikely. In the podcast James tells us:
“I can almost guarantee you Tyreke Evans will not be back.”
Barring a setback in his rehab, Rudy seems like a lock to opt out of his deal. Rudy has until June 10th to make that decision, in case you weren’t aware of that deadline.
Some players are almost locks to stay. James reports that we should include Langston Galloway in that conversation:
[Galloway]’s due $5.4 million next season, he had a player option and I’ve been told almost assuredly they believe he will opt in, and so, expect him to be around.
Which brings us to the question marks.
He seems likely to join the team, but nothing is official at this point.
Darren Collison and Ty Lawson
I think James summed this situation up well, saying he wouldn’t be surprised by either player coming back, neither player coming back, or both players coming back. Point guard is a huge mystery going into the offseason.
I think most of us are in agreement that Ben seems unlikely to return to the Kings, but it seems likely that the Kings would at least extend a qualifying offer. Free agency is a strange animal, and I don’t think you can completely rule out a return by McLemore.
This, to me, was perhaps the most surprising part of James’ podcast. It should be a no-brainer for the Kings to bring back Tolliver. Great teammate, great veteran presence, great role model for the young guys. But Ham makes it sound like this isn’t a lock.
I think the Kings are in a dilemma here. Because he’s not young, I think he’ll be 32 going into next season, he’s owed $8.5 million, and the Kings have a buyout for 2, and so you have to decide is he worth that $6.5 million for next season. Can you get something better for that money, and does it behoove you just to keep him because he’s such a great human being and will help your young players develop?
Later, James concludes:
I’m not sure the Kings are ready to keep him. Can they improve that position?
I think the Kings would be making a huge mistake if they don’t keep Tolliver for next season, but you can never tell what the Kings will do. I think they’ll regret letting him go just to save $6 million in a summer when the Kings are unlikely to be able to use all of their cap space anyway.
It’s certainly never boring with the Kings. And it seems we may have a few more twists and turns coming this summer.