June 15, 2018, 9:18 pm
For the past two seasons Garrett Temple has been a valuable asset for the Kings. He’s done the work that may not necessarily show up in the box score, but is needed for a team to be successful.
In both of his seasons for Sacramento, Temple played 65 games. His averages last year were slightly higher than those the year before as he really seemed to mesh well with the young core of players the Kings have.
His usage percentage was a bit higher this season compared to his first with the Kings, but in result, he had a career-high in points per game (8.4) and had his best 3-point percentage of his career (.392); that being in any season in which he played more than 50 games.
Temple’s high-point has always been his defense, though, and this season he didn’t seem to have that lockdown style he’s used to displaying. His defensive rating of 112 was the worst of his career and his defensive box plus-minus of -0.6 was the lowest of any of his seasons since 2010.
Temple has seemed to be a solid reinforcement of character that struggling teams need to have to turn a corner, but he’ll also be 33 years old when next season rolls around, which brings up the question of whether or not he’s worth the $8 million player option he carries.
Last season the Kings had the 13th youngest team in the league, but that average was swayed by the likes of Vince Carter (40 years old) and Zach Randolph (36); the Kings finished the year with 11 players 25 years old or younger.
With the recent draft choices of De’Aaron Fox and Frank Mason, the Kings have a pair of players who can run the point guard position and when the team throws Bogdan Bogdanovic in, they have an additional ball handler.
So on that front, the team may not need Temple, who plays small forward, for the backup role he had mostly served for the team in his two seasons. Mason showed how valuable he could be to close out the season as Temple missed the last 10 games with an injury.
Mason missed the final two games of the year himself, but in the eight games prior to that he averaged just under 20 minutes per game and averaged 8.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists, according to NBA’s website.
However, Temple does provide value for the team — not just on the court. If he does option into his contract, the Kings could more than likely part ways with him if the need of a veteran guard arises from a potential playoff team once the season is underway.
Temple, though, hasn’t proven to be a playoff asset since he played just a total of 50 minutes in 20 playoff games for Washington.
The market isn’t open yet so it’s tough to say whether Temple could sign a longer deal if he does test the waters of free agency.
Another question mark for Temple and the Kings is whether or not they select Luka Doncic, who would add another ball handler into the mix and almost all but shove Temple out of the rotation; unless the Kings would want to use Temple with a pair of guards, which the team did do last season.
With the NBA salary cap set at $102 million for the season, according to USA Today, and the Kings having about $80 million invested in their current roster, the Kings could still offer up about $20 million to free agents. And if the team tries to rid itself of some higher contracts like Zach Randolph or Iman Shumpert, who optioned in to his final year last week, then they’d have the opportunity to do so.
The decision, which is due June 29, ultimately comes down to Temple and what he wants to do. Whether that be play one more year at $8 million, try to sign with a potential championship team for less, or even consider seeking more money and a longer contract.
The Kings just have to play the waiting game while he decides.