The Sacramento Kings picked up contract options for De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley III on Thursday. They also declined options on Harry Giles and Caleb Swanigan. Picking up options on Fox and Bagley was a no-brainer decision for the Kings, as was declining Swanigan. The move that stands out is declining Harry’s option.
James Ham relayed information from the Kings regarding Giles:
According to a league source, the Kings love Giles and will continue to support his development. This decision does not mean that he can't be a part of the future. He is close to a return to the court.— James Ham (@James_HamNBCS) October 31, 2019
While it’s all fine and dandy that the Kings say they still like Harry and that he could still be part of the team’s future, declining the option loudly says the opposite.
Declining Harry’s option, which would have set his salary next season at around $4 million, means that Harry will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. However, the Kings will only be able to offer a one year deal for up to the $4 million the team otherwise would have been paying him. This restriction applies only to the Kings, not to any other teams that want to sign Harry. If Harry is traded this season, the receiving team has the same restriction, severely lessening any trade value Giles may have this season.
This decision closes a lot of doors for the Kings, and signifies that the Kings don’t expect a breakout year from Harry. For whatever reason, the Kings appear content with the idea that Giles will not be worth more than $4 million to them next year.
What’s even more confusing is that there doesn’t seem to be a cap need for the Kings to do this. The Kings will be operating above the cap next season, but still well below the tax line, even if you assume a healthy new contract for Bogdan Bogdanovic.
It’s a confusing decision for the Kings to make, severely limiting the Kings’ options to retain or get value from Harry. Giles could still stay beyond this year, but this move seems to make it less likely.