Kings Still Quiet In The Free Agent Market – And That’s Okay

If you take a quick trip to any Sacramento King message board or maybe take a stroll down Twitter lane, you’ll see one common theme. A lot of annoyed, confused, and mildly pissed off fans, all questioning why the Kings have yet to make a splash in the Olympic sized 2010 free agent pool.

And while I very much understand the annoyance when another franchise picks up a potential player that would have fit well on the Kings, the purple and black are doing the right thing by not overspending this off-season.

The 2010 free agent bonanza has been wonderful for players – but awful for the future of franchises. Just look at some of the contracts handed out to bench/role players:

  • Tyrus Thomas, 5 years – 40 million
  • Nikola Pekovic, 4 years – 13 million
  • Darko Milicic, 4 years – 20 million
  • Amir Johnson, 5 years – 34 million

And don’t even get me started on the ludicrous contracts handed out to guys like Joe Johnson or Rudy Gay.

Unfortunately for the Kings, at least right now, they’d have to considerably overpay any player to play in Sacramento and with the amount of money being spent this off-season on borderline players, it simply makes no sense to mortgage your future for a role player.

We’ve all seen first hand what type of strangle holds poor mid-level exception type deals can put on a teams cap (teams under the cap do not get a MLE, just explaining that type of financial deal, 5-6 million per season). From Greg Ostertag to Shareef Abdur-Rahim to Francisco Garcia, all of those contracts add up quickly and when you’re working with a franchise under the cap – they can be detrimental to the future.

So yes – while it would have been nice to secure a shooter such as an Anthony Morrow or JJ Redick, it was the perfect storm of an off-season to avoid taking a dip into the 2010 free agent extravaganza.

No player available to the Kings in the free agent market would be a difference maker come October and despite or best hopes and wishes, the Kings (who will be better) still aren’t a top team who is all but forced to make a move just to keep pace with the other title contenders.

In addition, with the collective bargaining agreement set to expire at the end of this coming season, that adds a whole new aspect to the market. If owners have their way, player salaries will be shorter – hell, they’re even asking for contracts to no longer be guaranteed. And while I believe that’s a long shot, it’s obvious the way contracts are handled will be different (and most likely cheaper) so you don’t want to make a financial mistake this season and have it become a semi-albatross of a contract in the future like many teams have set themselves up for. Not to mention, there is a very serious potential of a lockout. Nobody wants to hear that – but it’s happened before and with the players union and owners so far apart on what they want, it’s easy to see it happening again.

But back to the point – I understand the frustrations. It’s hard to feel like you’re knocking on the door as the Kings are with their cast of young talent, only to be passed up by teams willing to shell out money. Keep in mind however that the Kings aren’t in a sprint like the Lakers or Celtics – they’re in a marathon. Geoff Petrie knows what he’s doing…the Kings discipline this off-season will only help in the long run.

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