Heading into this offseason, it was clear that the Sacramento Kings lagged behind the best teams in terms of overall talent.
Since last Thursday’s start of free agency, Sacramento has made two moves to address that talent shortage: signing Malik Monk to a 2-year, $19 million contract and trading for Kevin Huerter. Both guys add an element of knock-down 3-point shooting to a team that lacked it after last year’s trade deadline.
While neither Monk nor Huerter are franchise pillars, they are both young players and have a track record of success in the NBA.
In a June 30 SB Nation Reacts poll, we asked what position would be the most important for Sacramento to address in free agency, and an overwhelming majority voted forward.
Neither player is a forward weight-wise, but Huerter, at 6-foot-7, theoretically has the length to slide up to the forward spot. After sending out Justin Holiday and Moe Harkless to Atlanta in the Huerter trade, Sacramento lacks backup wing players that can step in.
There is still time in free agency and some quality players on the board, but with Sacramento’s financial limitations, it’s tough sledding to improve the roster via free agency. Some fringe NBA players like Gary Clark, P.J. Dozier, and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot all remain unsigned and presumably could be signed for the minimum, but guys like that aren’t changing things for you.
In a vacuum, Sacramento has improved its roster a good deal since the end of the season with the Monk and Huerter additions. However, when comparing the Kings to the rest of the Western Conference, it is still a good amount behind.
It will be interesting to see what happens with Harrison Barnes the rest of the offseason. Barnes is on an expiring $18.4 million contract entering this season. On the one hand, Barnes is a critical piece on Sacramento’s roster, but on the other hand, the team can’t afford to let him walk for anything next summer.
Another guy Sacramento could move out in a trade is Richaun Holmes, who, since the Domantas Sabonis trade, no longer fits as well on the roster.
Looking around the West, more teams around Sacramento’s spot in the standings have added talent (Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Los Angeles Lakers) than having lost talent (San Antonio Spurs).
It seems like Sacramento has at least one big transaction left this offseason, whether that be moving Barnes, Holmes or something else to make the roster fit a little bit better both age-wise and positionally.
General manager Monte McNair has gotten off to a good start this offseason, but there is still work to be done.