How Active Will the Kings Be in Free Agency?

[CSNBY] How active will the Kings be in free agency?
James Ham

SACRAMENTO - The 2018 NBA Draft is over and now the Sacramento Kings have more questions to answer. What do they do with the logjam in the front court? How do they fill the hole at the small forward? Will they spend in free agency or sit back and wait for next summer, when they have a boatload of cash?

Free agency begins July 1. Teams around the league are lining up for big fish like LeBron James, Paul George and Chris Paul. Sacramento isn't ready to be a player in the star market, but they've positioned themselves well for a run at second-tier free agents or as a salary clearinghouse.

Long-term flexibility is still the top priority, but Sacramento is primed to pounce if the right deal comes up.

Cap Space: $20-28 million

Dead Money: Matt Barnes ($2.1 million), Georgios Papagiannis ($2 million), Caron Butler ($517K)

Roster Space: Counting Marvin Bagley III, the Kings roster currently stands at 12, but that number could grow to 13 if Garrett Temple opts in to his contract for this season.

Free Agents: Vince Carter (UFA - $9.6 million cap hold), Bruno Caboclo (RFA - $7.4 million qualifying offer), Jack Cooley (two-way, RFA), JaKarr Sampson (two-way, RFA), Nigel Hayes (team option, nonguaranteed)

Needs: Small Forward, Stretch Four, Overall Depth

Trade Chips

Kosta Koufos - Koufos opted in to the final year of his four-year, $33 million deal and will make $8.7 million this season. At 29-years-old, Koufos is a capable third big and a great locker room presence. Playoff teams have shown interest before and it wouldn't be a surprise to see his name mentioned again with the Kings' current glut on the frontline.

Zach Randolph - At 36 years old (37 in July), Z-Bo's best days are behind him on the court. He can still score and grab a few boards, but Sacramento plans on going young. He's an expiring contract at $11.7 million, which might come in handy if a team is trying to unload a player on a long-term deal and needs filler to make the numbers work.

Iman Shumpert - Shumpert joined Sacramento in the George Hill deal and has yet to see action in a Kings uniform. He's owed $11.4 million this season and he's coming off knee and plantar fasciitis injuries. He also plays the shooting guard position where the Kings are loaded. Like Randolph, Shumpert might have more value as an expiring contract than he does in trade. He turns 28 on Tuesday and has every reason to have a career year.

Garrett Temple - If Temple opts in to his $8 million deal, the Kings will think long and hard about moving the 32-year-old defender. There were plenty of teams interested in Temple at the deadline last season and he might even have more appeal this summer as a rental player with an expiring contract.

Willie Cauley-Stein/Skal Labissiere - Adding Bagley crowds the frontcourt. Someone has to go, at least in theory. Cauley-Stein is entering the final year of his rookie scale deal and it's unlikely he receives an extension offer this summer. Labissiere still has two years remaining on a very affordable rookie deal. Cauley-Stein is a great safety net in case Harry Giles or Marvin Bagley needs more time to develop. Labissiere still has upside and his contract is extremely team-friendly.

Expectations

The Kings have holes to fill, but this isn't a great free-agent class. The 2018-19 season is supposed to be about building the young core and assessing the long term shortcomings of the roster.

Sacramento projects to have $65-70 million in cap space next summer. They could use some of that future money if the opportunity is right, but they've worked hard to keep their flexibility for the right moment.

Don't be shocked if the team takes a cautious approach to free agency or possibly acts as a salary conduit for a bigger deal that nets another asset or two.

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