The highest paid player on the Sacramento Kings will make over $11 million this season. Guess who that player is?
Here are a couple of clues to narrow it down. He has not played one minute for the Sacramento Kings this year and he is not trying to rehabilitate an injury. He also was Sacramento’s leading scorer last season.
If you guessed Zach Randolph, you are correct!
Randolph was a player that I expected to play at least some minutes during this season. I also thought he could be an on-the-court mentor for guys like Harry Giles and Marvin Bagley III during their rookie campaigns.
Last season, Randolph put in over 25 minutes a game and he started 57 of the 59 games he played in. During that span, he averaged over 14 points and six rebounds a game. I thought he would have been more efficient if given 35 minutes plus that a typical starter normally gets a night.
Why Is Z-Bo Sitting?
The Kings’ front office made it clear they were going with the youth movement again this year. This automatically shut down Randolph for the 2018-19 campaign. Even though Randolph seems to be healthy for action, and also is the Kings’ highest-paid player, the team now has the mindset of playing their youth and trying to get them to mesh together.
I thought the Kings would have made Randolph a player that consistently came off the bench. That was the minimum role I predicted for him. An insurance policy if the younger unit failed to perform at a higher level. Next guess was that they kept him on the bench to keep Joerger from being tempted to use him in games.
Why Not Offer a Buyout?
The main reason the Kings can afford to pay Zach $11 million to stay at home is the minimum NBA salary cap. For the season, the minimum is $91.682 million for 2018-2019. So including Randolph’s salary, the Kings are $838,000 under the bare minimum an NBA team has to spend on players.
This is why Sacramento can pay Randolph. Consider it a bonus for last year. They do not necessarily have to pay 800 grand to a player to reach the minimum cap requirements, but why not pay it to a guy like Randolph? He certainly has deserved it.
More than likely the front office will make some roster moves before the trade deadline. They might need Zach’s salary to make the numbers line up with an expiring contract. The salaries have to be close when trades are made between two teams. The Kings could trade Z-Bo and then let the other team release or buy him out. This works only because our team is below the minimum salary cap.
Nice move, Vlade. It seems like he always has options in his back pocket.
I have always been a fan of Zach Randolph with his blue-collar work ethic. He is a guy that shows up and puts in the work. I have marveled at how Zach can go into the post and score a bucket. I have said this before and I will say it again. If Randolph was not on the Kings last season, I believe the team would have had the fewest wins in the NBA.
The Kings are under 90% minimum of the salary cap. This is money that has to be spent on players per NBA rules. If the purple and white end up not needing Zach in a trade, then pay the man due to his last year’s play and current veteran presence.
The front office clearly could buy Randolph out but he never complained about sitting for the youth movement. In fact, Randolph was one of the biggest supporters of his teammates when the young guys played well. That is the culture of our new style Kings. Randolph’s professionalism has contributed to that culture.