June 11, 2018, 11:57 pm
The upcoming unrestricted free agent market has a few major names that will entice teams. However, most of the major names aren’t expected to move from their current team.
Kevin Durant has already pledged his allegiance to the Golden State Warriors and that became even more certain after they won the championship again, and Chris Paul seems destined to return to the Houston Rockets on a max deal. Those two guys were never going to be attainable for the Kings anyway, so we can sweep them under the rug. A familiar face in DeMarcus Cousins is also on the unrestricted market, but a return to Sacramento seems unlikely at this stage.
The Kings could have as much as $24 million in cap space to work with if they renounce both Vince Carter and Bruno Caboclo, who currently have cap holds of $16.9 million combined. Kosta Koufos and Iman Shumpert have already opted into their contracts for next season, and the Kings are still waiting on Garrett Temple’s decision regarding his $8 million player option.
Sacramento should have significant cap space to work with regardless and, outside of the three names mentioned earlier, there are some players worth looking at once free agency begins on July 1.
Hoop Ball’s Jon Schifferle went over some restricted free agent options for the Kings. You can read that HERE.
We’re going to run through the pros and cons of a handful of upcoming unrestricted free agents. Players with pending player/team options have not been considered.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – G
2017-18 averages: 74 G | 74 GS | 33.2 MP | 13.4 PTS | 5.2 REB | 2.2 AST | 1.4 STL | 0.2 BLK | 1.3 TOV | 42.6 FG% | 38.3 3P% | 78.9 FT% |
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had a surprisingly good campaign with the Lakers last season. He was a restricted free agent last summer and didn’t receive much interest on the market. He was renounced by the Pistons and that led to him signing a one-year deal with Los Angeles.
His scoring was down, but he had his most efficient season to date and that’s notable. Caldwell-Pope was inconsistent during his time with the Pistons and that was likely a big reason why they decided to move on. His 42.6 percent clip from the field and 38.3 percent mark from three were both career-highs. The Lakers play with pace, much more so than the Pistons, and Caldwell-Pope seemed to fit well in a system that is looking to push the ball on offense.
KCP’s overall numbers won’t blow anyone away, but he did more good than bad last season and that’s certainly commendable for a guy who’s been criticized frequently during his short time in the league. His offense is reliable and he’s above average defensively. On a poor defensive team like the Lakers it’s hard to gauge how effective he really is, but he’s got a decent reputation in that department and won’t hurt the team too much there.
Caldwell-Pope is better off scoring in transition and on spot-up jumpers. The negative aspects of his play start to creep in when he tries to do too much with the ball. He operates in a similar fashion to Kings guard Buddy Hield. Hield is probably better at creating his shot and is a better shooter overall, but Caldwell-Pope isn’t too far behind and brings more defensively to the table than Hield.
Why shouldn’t the Kings consider Caldwell-Pope in free agency? The team already has a few solid options on the wing. The aforementioned Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic seemingly have the two-guard locked down for the foreseeable future. Iman Shumpert recently decided to pick up his player option for next season so he’ll be on the squad, and Garrett Temple has until the end of June to decide on his option. That’s potentially four shooting guards already on the roster, and if the Kings draft someone like Luka Doncic that position only becomes more crowded.
The players mentioned above could all potentially slide between the two wing spots and so could Caldwell-Pope; it could still work if the team wanted it too. Pursuing KCP should only be on the table if the Kings go for a big man in the draft and another guard or two is moved prior to free agency.
With the team’s current makeup, adding Caldwell-Pope doesn’t make a ton of sense. However, he’s still an option should the Kings make a few moves during the offseason.
Derrick Favors – F/C
2017-18 averages: 77 G | 77 GS | 28.0 MP | 12.3 PTS | 7.2 REB | 1.3 AST | 0.7 STL | 1.1 BLK | 1.1 TOV | 56.3 FG% | 22.2 3P% | 65.1 FT% |
After an injury-impacted 2016-17 campaign, Derrick Favors took a promising step towards returning to form last season. His numbers were pretty much up across the board and he managed a career-high in field goal percentage. Favors spent a lot of time next to Rudy Gobert and together they formed an intimidating defensive front line.
The jury is still out as to whether Favors can get back to the form he displayed from 2014-16, but he showed enough last season to give potential teams some hope. He’s still just 26 years old and a team like the Kings could probably afford to take a chance on him.
Favors is likely looking for a long-term deal, much like Caldwell-Pope, so the Kings would have to offer him multiple years. Money wise he’s probably after more than $10 million per season, and this seems reasonable given his increased productivity last season. It’ll likely come down to whether he wants to chase a championship with a contender, which would mean taking a pay cut, or whether he’s wanting to cash in on a bigger deal.
Where would Favors fit in with the Kings? The team already has Skal Labissiere, Zach Randolph, Willie Cauley-Stein, Kosta Koufos and Harry Giles as their frontcourt options, so Favors would be taking the playing time of one or two of those guys. If the Kings go with a big man in the draft, you can pretty much rule out Favors as a possibility because of the log-jam it would create.
However, if the Kings decide to move one of their young big men and maybe the contract of Randolph, playing time will automatically present itself to a player like Favors and he presumably slots straight into a starting spot. Whilst Giles is on track to play next season, it’s a stretch to expect major minutes out of him straight away. The team will likely continue to instill patience and bring him along slowly.
Much like the Caldwell-Pope situation, a few different factors will have to be considered before adding a frontcourt option such as Favors. Nonetheless, there is some intrigue in adding a guy like him because of his age and what he can potentially do for a team.
Mario Hezonja – G/F
2017-18 averages: 75 G | 30 GS | 22.1 MP | 9.6 PTS | 3.7 REB | 1.4 AST | 1.1 STL | 0.4 BLK | 1.1 TOV | 44.2 FG% | 33.7 3P% | 81.9 FT% |
The former fifth pick in the 2015 NBA Draft finally made some strides last season, however, his improved play came after the Orlando Magic declined his fourth-year player option for 2018-19. This means he’s an unrestricted free agent this summer and will be free to sign with any team he desires, if interest is mutual, of course.
In February (11 games) he posted averages of 15.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 27.6 minutes per game. He shot an impressive 46.2 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from three. Hezonja was not only a knockdown shooter, but he showed an ability to get to the rim and create his own shot. In April, Hezonja was impressive yet again with averages of 13.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 30.2 minutes per game (seven games) on 42.5 percent shooting and 42.1 percent from three.
After his strong conclusion to the season the Magic are probably best inclined to bring him back, but Hezonja may be ready to move onto another team that could utilize his skill set more effectively. Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee mentioned that Hezonja could be an option for the Kings this summer, so there is history, to a degree, between the two sides.
From the Bee:
“The Kings need size on the perimeter, and a target is likely to be Mario Hezonja,” said Jones. “He’s the kind of player the Kings could land on a short-term deal and figures to be a high priority. He has fans in Sacramento’s front office, and is still only 23.”
He won’t be incredibly expensive to obtain for Sacramento and could be worth a gamble. He probably wouldn’t eat into Bogdanovic or Hield’s minutes, it would more so be the minutes of Justin Jackson and the minutes Vince Carter has left behind. At 6-foot-8, he’s more than capable of playing small forward and is probably better suited there anyway. Does he fit well next to the current two-guards on the roster? Potentially. They’re all somewhat similar players but with the limited shooting at point guard and in the frontcourt, having scorers on the wing would be optimal for the Kings.
Of the options mentioned above, Hezonja could actually make the most sense and he’ll almost certainly be the cheapest. He’s someone worth keeping an eye on during the free agency period, and don’t be surprised if you hear his name linked to the Kings.
August 25, 2019, 8:27 pmVictor OladipoSG, Indiana Pacers
Victor Oladipo had little to say about his rehab process (ruptured quad tendon) at his basketball camp in Indiana.
We weren't expecting earth shattering details while Oladipo was busy overseeing his basketball camp, but more information about the Pacer would be most welcome. It is hard to know what you will get from Oladipo on draft day, but you have to figure someone in your league will be interested in taking a gamble on him. He's still not scrimmaging with other players, and whenever he does return to game action, it is unlikely he will resume being a top player in the early going.
Source: The Athletic
August 25, 2019, 8:08 pmBriante WeberPG, International
Briante Weber, after spending the end of last season with the Greek club Olympiacos, is joining the Metropolitians 92, based in Boulogne-Levallois, France.
Weber attended free agent mini-camps in June with the Raptors and Wolves, and spent time in the G-League last year, but has never been able to catch on long-term with an NBA team. He has had brief stops with several NBA squads over the years, so it is possible he could return to a roster at some point this season. There is nothing to see here in terms of fantasy though.
August 25, 2019, 7:54 pmRui HachimuraPF, Washington Wizards
Rui Hachimura showed off his scoring prowess with 31 points in Japan's comeback victory over Germany on Saturday.
After a nice string of Summer League performances, Rui Hachimura is continuing his strong play in FIBA World Cup exhibition games for Japan. He can clearly get his own look in the mid-range, and the rookie should get a chance to perform for the Wizards this year. Keep an eye on Hachimura's preseason opportunities, as the competition for the Wizards' power forward minutes isn't fierce. He could be worth a late-round flyer in standard league-drafts.
Source: Mike Schmitz on Twitter
August 25, 2019, 6:50 pmRobert CovingtonSF, Minnesota Timberwolves
Robert Covington (right knee) is not expected to have any limitations heading into training camp.
Covington had arthroscopic surgery in April after missing 47 games last season due to a bone bruise on his right knee.
Source: Chris Hine of the Star Tribune
August 25, 2019, 6:32 pmJeff TeaguePG, Minnesota Timberwolves
Jeff Teague (left ankle) is not expected to have any restrictions for training camp.
Teague had a left ankle debridement procedure in April to help alleviate inflammation. Teague's ankles have given him trouble throughout his career and he only played 42 games last season. With a clean bill of health Teague will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing season.
Source: Chris Hine of the Star Tribune
August 24, 2019, 11:09 pmDerrick WhitePG, San Antonio Spurs
Derrick White has reportedly passed the first concussion test after taking a nasty fall in Team USA's tuneup game vs. the Australian Boomers on Saturday.
This is good news. White has worked hard for his Team USA roster spot and should provide some guard depth for them once he clears concussion protocols. He was an eye-opener last season and should still hold some fantasy value despite the return of a now-healthy Dejounte Murray.
Source: Tom Orsborn on Twitter
August 24, 2019, 10:27 amKyle KuzmaPF, Los Angeles Lakers
Kyle Kuzma (sore left ankle) will not take part in the FIBA World Cup as Team USA announces its final roster.
Kuzma sat out Team USA's final tuneup against Australia on Saturday as Marc Stein reports that he is flying back to Los Angeles to get treatment. We should still expect him to be ready for training and congrats to Mason Plumlee for making the team as many speculated that he would be the final cut.
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter
August 24, 2019, 8:58 amKemba WalkerPG, Boston Celtics
Kemba Walker scored 22 points on 7-of-15 shooting with four rebounds with two assists as USA Basketball had it's 78-game winning streak in tournament and exhibition games snapped on Saturday.
Walker continues to assert himself as the team's best player but USA losing to Australia was the much bigger story in this one. Harrison Barnes also played well as he chipped in 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting to go with six rebounds. USA will take on Canada on Monday in their last exhibition before taking on the Czech Republic in the first official match of the tournament on September 1.
August 24, 2019, 8:44 amDerrick WhitePG, San Antonio Spurs
Derrick White left Saturday’s game after tripping and hitting his head on the floor.
White left without help but there is no word yet on whether he is dealing with a concussion. He finished with eight points, hitting 6-of-7 three throws in nine minutes with another update sure to come. The third-year guard put up top-125 per-game value, playing 25.8 minutes in his second season. Even with the return of Dejounte Murray, White should still be worth a roster spot in most standard leagues.
Source: Jeff Garcia on Twitter
August 24, 2019, 8:42 amMarcus SmartPG, Boston Celtics
Marcus Smart, sidelined for almost three weeks with calf tightness, returned to action on Saturday as USA lost to Australia in their exhibition.
Smart only played nine minutes in this one but still managed to score 7 points with three assists days after being named one of the team’s co-captains. Coming off an NBA All-Defensive First Team selection, he produced top-100 per game fantasy value as it seems he may have finally fixed his shot after shooting under 40 percent from the field in his first four seasons. He also produced a career-high in both steals and triples with 1.8 and 1.6 respectively as his career seems to be on the up and up.