"Our ‘A Royal Acquisition’ series takes a look at pending free agents or potential trade targets that could make sense for the Sacramento Kings this offseason. These columns are meant to be speculative by nature. Some may have actual rumors and insider speculation behind them, and some may not. You’ve been warned. In this column, Kyle Robert takes a look at Milwaukee Bucks restricted free agent, Khris Middleton."
Height: 6’ 7” Weight: 225
Khris Middleton is an interesting free agent. He has certain characteristics that could make him a great fit for multiple teams. He has the size to play on the wing, the athleticism to defend multiple positions, and a developing offensive game that could see a breakout season in the near future.
In 30 minutes per game last season, Middleton averaged 13.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists. These numbers are not mind boggling, to say the least. However, he is developing a three point shot that showed promise last season, including a month of January where he shot 53% from beyond the arc. Bleacher Report’s Michael Pina had Middleton as the NBA’s most underrated player. The Bucks offense scored 6.2 more points per 100 possession with Middleton on the floor, while his defense helped hold their opponents to 8.7 less points per 100 possessions. His effort can be the difference between losing by a bucket and winning by a couple points.
Middleton is set to be a restricted free agent this summer, with his price tag set a 1.18 million dollars for 2015-2016. This number will be bested by another NBA team, the question is what is that new number going to be? The Sacramento Kings will have some cap flexibility this summer to sign a player like Middleton. The Bucks will have the ability to match any offer Middleton receives and likely will if it makes sense.
The Bucks could move on from Middleton however, knowing Jabari Parker is coming back they could look to spend their money at other spots, like center, which is a glaring weakness for Milwaukee.
This is where the Kings can step in and steal a player on the upswing. Middleton can help immediately on both ends of the floor, doing a much better version of what Omri Casspi brought last season. He can also be a player that will be apart of the future as well, eventually assuming the Rudy Gay role. Middleton has the size and athleticism that would allow the Kings to switch almost everything on defense. This is a big part of what intrigues me so much about Justise Winslow and Stanley Johnson in June 25th’s draft. Bringing in Middleton would allow the Kings to look elsewhere in the draft, or allow them to move the pick altogether to land Ty Lawson or Brandon Jennings.
If the Kings are able to lure Middleton away from Milwaukee, which should be impossible, the risk is low and the upside is enormous. At worst, he’s a reliable defender that can add value offensively. He could continue to develop offensively and be a great second or third option next to Cousins and Gay.
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