The Kings Are Keeping Ben McLemore Around


In a very unsurprising move Vlade Divac and the Sacramento Kings have picked up Ben McLemore‘s 2016-17 team option, meaning he’s now going to be a King for at least the next two seasons, per

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Although per team policy the exact number McLemore will be making wasn’t disclosed as part of the press release, according to the HoopsHype figures McLemore looks to make just over $4 million that last season of his rookie deal.

That’s a verifiable bargain in a financial climate that saw Tristan Thompson nearly get a max deal from the Cleveland Cavaliers–$4 million is essentially nothing.

Which is why like I said right off, this move is not at all surprising. What will be interesting is what happens this time next season, when it’s time to talk contract extension. Of course this season is going to be the biggest factor in what McLemore can ask for–there’s not much point in guessing at his exact value right now.

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  • Should he stay at his current level as a solid starter, he could legitimately ask for quite a payday from Divac and the front office. Starters are not easy to find, especially young ones. And if McLemore improves his shooting and/or defense he could be in for a very large deal.

    Considering we just saw John Henson get (potentially) almost $50 million over four seasons, McLemore is going to get paid in almost any scenario besides him absolutely falling off of a cliff developmentally. Henson is a plus defender and has a very solid offensive game but with Greg Monroe in Milwaukee he’s no more than a great bench big.

    Sep 28, 2015; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore (23) during media day at the Sacramento Kings practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

    McLemore is a starter on a team that’s looking to break out next season–his role is vital. He’s going to get matched up against guys like Klay Thompson, James Harden and Kobe Bryant every night. And if he continues on his slow but steady growth rate then he probably deserves his money.

    The best possible result is that much like Henson, the Kings manage to secure McLemore to an extension before the final year of his deal. After that things can get messy, as we’ve seen with Thompson and the Cavaliers at the moment.

    We don’t want it to come down to the last second and have McLemore end up taking his qualifying offer–that would make him an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2018, and wings tend to fit in easily on most teams. The Kings could very easily lose McLemore should he hit the open market.

    But I think McLemore will agree to a fair deal–the Kings won’t lack the cap space to pay him, and on a team with DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay I doubt he’ll put up the raw scoring numbers to demand too much.

    This is a partnership that works for both teams–there’s no reason to mess around and threaten it.

    This option is the first step to really locking up McLemore, and like most things Vlade Divac has done this offseason it’s the right move. Unfortunately, Ben McLemore’s contract situation will be a lot less easy next summer. But Vlade will cross that bridge when he comes to it.

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