The Sacramento Kings’ pathway to creating cap space starts and ends with two players: Buddy Hield and Richaun Holmes.
For starters, it appears the only cap holds the Kings are looking to hold onto are Holmes — his minimal $6.5 million cap hold makes it far easier to sign other free agents before re-signing to a larger deal — and Davis, who recently received the qualifying offer from Sacramento. All other cap holds would be renounced and those players would hit free agency.
Once Mitchell and Queta sign their rookie deals, we can expect Sacramento to have just over $105 million in guaranteed contracts on the payroll. That number would jump to around $111 million if the Kings keep around all three of Jones, James, and Metu.
As you can see, with the salary cap set at $112.4 million this summer, Sacramento is already pushing up against the threshold. When you factor in Holmes’ and Davis’ cap holds, the Kings are now over the salary cap and cannot make any big signings without getting a little creative first.
Sacramento could look to offload Hield, Barnes, or Bagley for cheaper options, but it’s going to be very difficult to convince a team to swallow any of their salaries outright. Any team that receives one of these players is most likely going to have to send a lot of salary back to make a deal worth the effort. Hield and particularly Barnes are still valuable to the Kings, so just giving them up for scraps is out of the question.
If Sacramento renounces Holmes (bad idea) or he signs elsewhere, the team would have up to $5 million in cap space to spend. If the Kings hold onto Holmes, they will remain over the salary cap in the event they don’t make any trades, thus leaving only the Mid-Level Exception and Bi-Annual Exception available to sign free agents.
Don’t despair, as you can see, the Sacramento Kings have a few options to be active players in this year’s free agency. Let’s comb through this year’s crop to see just who might be a good fit for the team next year.