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Richaun Holmes isn’t satisfied being an average starting center

The free agent is hoping to take the next step.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Dallas Mavericks USA TODAY Sports

Richaun Holmes is about to enter what should be the most rewarding offseason of his career to date.

After establishing himself as a consistent starting center over the past two seasons in Sacramento, Holmes will be in demand around the league, not just from the Kings. Shams Charania reports that the Mavericks and Hornets will have interest in Holmes, who is sure to command at least seven figures annually in his new deal.

Unless they clear additional cap space, the Kings can offer Holmes a four-year contract starting at 105 percent of the average annual salary, which is projected to be slightly over $10 million. With eight percent raises, that deal could be worth about $46-48 million over four years, depending on what the exact salary cap number is next year.

That figure is right about what the average NBA starting center makes. For example, Jusuf Nurkic is wrapping up a four-year, $48 million contract this upcoming season. The starting salary is basically the non-taxpayer midlevel exception.

The problem is that Holmes doesn’t want to be considered an average starting center anymore. He’s looking to grow to the next level. That means his contract value would be expected to rise commensurately. As Holmes told Charania, he knew he was good enough to be a starter back in early days in Philadelphia when he had to battle with Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, and Jahlil Okafor just to get on the court. At this point in his career, Holmes can be more.

“It was a grind every day in practice, that’s part of the reason why I’m so tough now, you know, having to compete for minutes in Philly early, understanding that nothing’s given in this league... that’s always been my attitude, I want to go against the best of the best and show that I’m one of ‘em. So I thought to get that opportunity early in my career to go at guys like this, just starting off, I felt like that was a great opportunity for me, and I got a lot better really really quick in Philly....

“I always felt like i had the potential to get to the starting level in the NBA, and i’m looking to go beyond that now.”

Part of Holmes’ value comes from his ability to fit in any system. He isn’t a stretch 5, but he can operate from the perimeter, as he often does in Luke Walton’s offense, and his ability to score away from the basket — long live the Richaun Holmes push shot — gives him a little more scoring gravity than a traditional back-to-the-basket center.

Holmes says that his game can translate to a playoff team; he just hasn’t had the opportunity to prove it yet. Ideally, he gets that opportunity in Sacramento, but if not, he’ll be able to find it elsewhere.