For the past few weeks, Harrison Barnes has been the belle of the ball when it comes to Kings trade rumors, but reports around the league suggest the Sacramento front office is increasingly unlikely to deal Barnes, who has two years left on his contract after this one.
That means that attentions have turned to another King: Richaun Holmes. Sacramento doesn’t appear to have any intention of moving on from Holmes either, who has previously stated that he would like to re-sign with the Kings. However, Holmes is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, so on the off chance that he decides to leave, it might be worth exploring his trade value before the team loses him for nothing.
The good news on that front is that interest in Holmes is high, as Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Monday:
Several teams have expressed interest in Kings center Richaun Holmes, including Toronto and Charlotte, sources said. Holmes, a 6-foot-10 big man, has developed into a highly productive starting center for Sacramento, averaging 14 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 30.1 minutes a night. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and should command a strong market.
Holmes hasn’t been the best player on the Kings this season, but the team has been at its best with him on the court. Sacramento is nearly net neutral when Holmes plays (-0.9 net rating, per NBA.com), which is the best among rotation players, and the team has a minus-10.4 net rating when he sits, which is the worst among all Kings. He could clearly bring value to a team that is in need of a center, and both the Raptors and the Hornets fit that bill.
Neither of those teams figures to contend in the East this year — Toronto isn’t even the top 10 right now, and Charlotte just lost LaMelo ball for the season, presumably — but even if Holmes doesn’t push those squads over the top this year, there is value in having Holmes’ early bird rights. Since Holmes is on a two-year contract, he can be re-signed at 175 percent of his current annual salary, or 105 percent of the league average salary, even if the team doesn’t have cap space. That might not be as much as Holmes could get on the open market, but he seems like a loyal person and might be enticed to stick around if he likes the fit.
Trading away Holmes would be a clear indication that Sacramento is tanking for this year, because the team has been abjectly terrible without him. If that’s the case, the Kings better make such a deal worth their while.