The NBA Free Agent frenzy is set to begin in the coming days, and the Kings have more money to spend than anyone else. How they spend that money will have a huge impact going forward and also provide a ton of insight into the path this team wants to take.
For those of us hoping the Kings take it slow and focus on the youth movement, you might want to buckle up, because Vlade Divac and co. look like they have a different idea. Sam Amick joined Jason Ross on the Locked on Kings podcast, and inevitably the conversation turned to Free Agency, starting around the 17 minute mark.
“If you have a low key personality, which I think sometimes we always assume these young guys and these players, they always want the biggest, shiniest market. That’s not always the case. Guys like Paul Millsap, guys like George Hill, I don’t know Jrue Holiday as well, but those are some of the names that are attached to Sacramento. Like, George in particular, is the kind of guy that loved playing in Indiana, I think he would love playing in Sacramento”
We’ve already heard of the Kings rumored interest in Millsap, but it’s really interesting that top free agent PGs like Holiday and Hill are still generating interest from the Kings after drafting De’Aaron Fox and Frank Mason. It’s only natural that the Kings would want a vet to help mentor the young guys and provide a steady, reliable hand at the wheel, but both those guys seem like they’d want to have a bigger role on a better team. That’s also not to mention that the Kings would also likely have to spend a ton of money in order to bring them over.
However, it seems that there are differing views in the Kings front office, at least in regards to Millsap. From Sam Amick on the podcast:
“The prospect of how hard, if at all, the Kings go after Millsap, is a major issue internally right now, I can tell you that much. They like him a lot. They feel like he can be a grown up and help them win games, and kind of teach the young guys what it’s like to get a taste of success. But the problem is, if he’s #2 when it comes to Power Forwards on the Free Agent market ... you’re probably looking at darn near max money. ”
It’s good at least that the idea is generating debate, and I hope that the team eventually decides against bringing in someone of Millsap’s caliber. I’d actually much rather the Kings spend that money on a guy like Holiday or Hill (even with Fox on board) than throw a max contract at a player like Millsap that will turn 33 in the middle of this season. Those other guys are much more likely to retain their value and be easily moved on later if it’s time to hand the keys over to Fox/Mason/someone else.
The last name that Sam mentions on the podcast is probably a bit of a pipedream, but it is someone that the Kings have previously engaged in Free Agent talks.
“Another guy that I have heard connected to the Kings, and we all know that owner Vivek Ranadive definitely has an affinity for guys with the Warriors, Andre Iguodala is unrestricted, so, maybe they want to make a splash and get a guy like Andre in town”
Iguodala was the first major free agent the Vivek Ranadivé-led Kings pursued, offering him a 4 year, $56 million deal before Pete D’Alessandro decided to pull the deal off the table before Iguodala could even reject it, just one of the many mind-boggling decisions that front office made. Iguodala went on to sign a smaller deal with the Warriors where he’s won two rings and Finals MVP. While the Kings could offer Iguodala more money than he can get by re-signing in Golden State and would be a starter the whole time, it’s unclear if he wants to leave the success, especially since Kevin Durant is going to take less money so that the Warriors can still offer Iguodala a nice deal. But who knows, maybe he’s achieved what he’s wanted and wouldn’t mind getting one last big payday. Iguodala is even older than Millsap though, turning 34 this season.
I understand the Kings wanting to surround their youth with proven veterans and get rid of the culture of losing. There’s definitely something to be said for having guys that have been there and played in big games guiding these guys along. Jerry Reynolds brought up a good point the other day on the radio in which he said he liked how the coaching staff handled the rookies (and even Willie) last year by making them earn their minutes rather than just gifting it to them immediately, a mistake the team has made in the past with the likes of Ben McLemore and others.
But I also would hate to see the Kings lose their flexibility and rely too much on veterans when the youth should be the priority. There are lesser veterans who can provide the same mentoring and guidance who can help but won’t necessarily demand playing time like guys like Iguodala or Millsap would. Perhaps the compromise for the Kings is to sign guys to a huge one or two year deal, similar to what they did last year for Afflalo and Tolliver but instead on a higher level of player.
Free Agency officially begins this Saturday. I don’t know what to expect but it looks like the Kings could end up being pretty aggressive.