As soon as Marcus Thornton suited up for the purple and black, we fans fell in love with the former LSU product. And now, as the NBA lockout has finally ended, the months of anticipation regarding Thornton’s contract situation will be resolved – exactly how though, will be the question…
In Thornton’s 27 games in Sacramento, the sharpshooting guard put up an impressive 21.3 points per game average on 45% shooting, though a large majority of the games were without Kings star Tyreke Evans on the court who was nursing a foot injury so one could assume a slight inflation of points during that time frame. Gauging Thornton’s financial worth wont be easy for the Kings or any other team, but it seems plausible the new CBA will help the Kings out in retaining their young guard.
It’s been said that the new collective bargaining agreement will only allow teams three days to match an offer on a restricted free agent and when combined with the extremely sped up free agency period, teams aren’t going to have the time to dilly and dally as they have in the past. No longer will we have teams who wait the entire seven day period, fully knowing they are going to match the offer.
For the Kings, that’s only going to help them retain Thornton as they’ll be able to quickly match the contract (assuming they so desire) and move onto their next item of business.
The short window of free agency for this upcoming season will also be beneficial to the Kings for a few reasons. One, most teams are going to be a bit more careful with their finances then they might have been in a “normal” offseason – the last thing you want to do coming off a brand new CBA is stick yourself with a long term, hefty contract to a non-star. Second, actually finding Thornton’s worth in the new CBA isn’t going to be easy at all for outside teams. Are they going to pony up a bloated contract for a player who had less than 30 games of high quality play? Again, add in the fast forward moving offseason and I can’t picture any team throwing their entire bucket of cash at Thornton, so the Kings will most likely get a very solid contract to match assuming Thornton does receive an offer, which isn’t guaranteed.
So will Marcus Thornton be back in Sacramento for this upcoming season? Barring an insane contract offer that the Kings simply couldn’t afford to match, you best believe it. We’ll soon find out how much of the Kings famed cap space Thornton will dig into (I actually hope he gets an offer since I believe it would cost the Kings less than an outright signing) – but either way, expect Thornton back in black and purple.