By Mike Misek
2010/11 Sacramento Kings Payroll: $40.1 million
2010/11 NBA Salary Cap: $56.1 million
Roughly: $16 million under cap
Kenny Thomas- Unrestricted Free Agent
Ime Udoka- Unrestricted Free Agent
Sean May- Unrestricted Free Agent
Dominic McGuire- Qualifying Offer for $1.0 million
Jon Brockman- Qualifying Offer for $932K
The Good: Sacramento has three more years of Tyreke on a rookie salary. After winning the ROY award and becoming one of 3 players even to average 20, 5 and 5 in his rookie year, Evans will look to improve on a tremendous rookie season. Tyreke’s style of play is very ball dominant so it will interesting to see how the team goes about building around him.
5th pick in the draft DeMarcus Cousins could be a beast if he focuses and works hard. If he can mature, he could be a steal and the answer to Sacramento’s center position for years to come.
The Bad: The recent trade that netter Samuel Dalembert cost them Spencer Hawes and Andres Nocioni. Both role guys without much potential. In the short term this isn’t the best deal, as those guys were solid rotational guys. But Dalembert has just one year left on his deal at 12 million.
Beno Udrih is set to earn over 22 million over the next 3 seasons. Too much for a steady back up level point guard. Francisco Garcia has 3 years left at roughly 6 million per. He has yet to prove that he’s capable of playing to that level thus far in an injury plague career.
The Future: Sacramento made an interesting transition from bad and hopeless to bad and hopeful last season. Tyreke Evans won the rookie-of-the-year, and his rookie numbers are in elite company. Jason Thompson and Omri Casspi were productive players for half the season. Their inclusion in the mid-season Tracy McGrady trade netted them an excellent rotation power forward in Carl Landry and enough cap space to sign a max free agent.
Sacramento will enter the summer with seven players with guaranteed contracts, two restricted free agents with minimal qualifying offers, and a top six pick in the draft. If the team decides to hold onto Jon Brockman and Dominic McGuire, the Kings will be looking at the possibility of having as much as $18 million in cap space. With Ime Udoka and Sean May having sub-million cap holds, the team could very well choose to retain their rights and keep them. This will only happen, however, if the team cannot sign a star caliber player in free agency or through a trade.
Spending their cap space might be a dicey proposition. A better alternative might be to take the OKC approach and look for talent in return for eating some smaller dead weight contracts. Sacramento is not a free agent mecca. They may very well be able to outbid all other suitors for a second tier free agent like David Lee, but to what end would it improve them. Lee has better numbers, but is not necessarily a better player than Carl Landry. The Kings are in an excellent cap situation with two talented player (Evans and Cousins) to build around. Second round pick Hassan Whiteside also shows a lot of long term potential.