The Kings are waiving forward Anthony Tolliver today according to multiple reports. This might come as a surprise to some fans who enjoyed the leadership and example that Tolliver set last season, but this move was essentially about future flexibility.
When the Kings signed Tolliver last summer, they signed him to a two year deal worth $16 million. The final year however was only partially guaranteed for $2 million. That means that if the Kings waived him by a certain date, they’d only owe him $2 million. That deadline, as reported by Eric Pincus and others, was today, June 1st. Utilizing the NBA’s stretch provision, the Kings can stretch that $2 million cap hit over the next three seasons (about $667k per season) to free up even more space.
With the Kings embracing a youth movement after the DeMarcus Cousins trade, it makes sense that they’d want to keep as much flexibility going forward as they can, even if it means cutting a useful vet and great teammate like Tolliver. This move also opens up some more room for young guys like Skal Labissiere, Georgios Papagiannis and perhaps one of our upcoming rookies to get some more consistent playing time.
Tolliver wasn’t the only player on the Kings with unguaranteed money in his contract. Arron Afflalo has a similar contract structure with only $1.5 million of his $12.5 million for next season guaranteed. However his guarantee date isn’t until June 23rd, the day of the draft, meaning the Kings could try to find him a new home before then in exchange for an asset from someone so that team could cut some salary. If not, the Kings will almost assuredly cut him for the same reasons they did with Tolliver.
While I would have liked to see Tolliver return, the Kings need to be flexible and he wasn’t going to be part of this team’s long term vision.