Culture of Hoops

Sacramento Kings: Offseason ramifications


The offseason is a period when most focus on the additions that franchises make to their teams. Sports fans are naturally optimistic, and they have to be. Only one team comes out on top each year, leaving, in the case of the NBA, 29 disappointed contingents. If not for the inclination to find a silver lining, that failure would be too depressing. Anyway, fans’ optimistic hardwiring is one reason why many focus more on the positive side of offseason movement rather than the negative ramifications.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. For every player that switches teams, a void is left in his wake.

The Sacramento Kings were active throughout the offseason, adding plenty of fresh faces in the process. At the same time, however, bolstering their personnel had consequences that may linger. Here’s what Sacramento will be without as a result of its offseason.

Scoring at the rim
The Kings found a potential answer to ball movement woes with the addition of Greivis Vasquez this summer, but lost a potent offensive weapon in Tyreke Evans to do so. While Sacramento no longer will have to deal with the questions of what position Evans is, what role suits him best and when he’ll ever add a jumper to his game, they’ll also have to look elsewhere for scoring at the basket. Last season, Evans, who uses his good footwork, handle and large frame to get to the basket, averaged six attempts at the rim. That figure tied him for top on the Kings with none other than their 6-foot-11 center DeMarcus Cousins. The King with the next highest attempts at the rim per game was 6-foot-11 power forward Jason Thompson, who only averaged 3.3 attempts. Evans’ play and position may have lacked some consistency, but whenever and wherever he was on the floor, he was able to find his way to the rim. Less than 40 percent of his makes there were assisted, suggesting that he was the one most often responsible for the close looks he got.

On a team filled with bigs that don’t do much of their offensive damage inside the paint, Evans’ penetration was a big factor for the Kings offense. The team’s guard with the next highest attempts at the rim was Isaiah Thomas – with 2.9 attempts – but the additions of Vasquez and second round draft pick Ray McCallum may limit his opportunities and effectiveness. Replacing the easy shots Evans got should be a high priority for the Kings’ offense this season and an equally tough task.

Cap room
… for now. The Kings’ front office has been an active player throughout the offseason, making trades and signing free agents. While the moves may prove fruitful on the court, they’ve tied up the Kings’ cap room, which has been wide open for a few seasons now. (But you may also look at as a positive since the Maloofs were too cheap to spend big in the offseason toward the end of their time as owners. In past seasons, the Kings had to make signings and trades in order to get above the salary cap floor.) At the moment, Sacramento sits with a payroll of $58.68 million, the same number as the NBA’s salary cap this season. The lack of cap space is temporary, though, as the Kings have multiple options to improve flexibility in the short term if they want to make another move.

John Salmons, who’s getting paid $7.58 million this season, can be bought out for around one million dollars in the 2014-2015 cycle, essentially making him an expiring contract; that might be particularly enticing for teams looking to get in on the loaded 2014 free agency crop.

Additionally, the Kings have a team option with Jimmer Fredette and options to extend (or not to extend) qualifying offers to Patrick Patterson, Cousins, Vasquez and Thomas. If Sacramento chose not to extend qualifying offers to any of those players, they’d become unrestricted free agents. Between the latter group of players that excluded Salmons, that’s $18.3 million the Kings aren’t committed to for the 2014-2015 season. For now, they don’t have much room to operate, making acquisitions over the next eight months or so tougher, but options are available to free up some space as soon as next summer.

The Maloofs
No more “cash considerations.” No more Virginia Beach. No more tarps on the floor. No more $6,000 burgers. No more coaching carousel. No more Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. No more NBA 2.0.

It turns out there are such things as positive ramifications. After all, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

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