3 Free agents the Kings could sign with the non-taxpayer MLE this summer

Sacramento Kings v Phoenix Suns
Sacramento Kings v Phoenix Suns / Chris Coduto/GettyImages
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1. Isaiah Hartenstein

The Kings played the Knicks twice this season, losing both games, and Isaiah Hartenstein bothered them. At 7’0 he is big and knows how to use that size on the glass. For the season, Hartenstein is averaging a career-high 8.3 rebounds along with 7.8 points on 64.4 percent shooting from the field, 2.5 assists, 1.2 blocks, and 1.1 steals. 

Since he moved into the Knicks’ starting lineup once Mitchell Robinson went down with an injury, Hartenstein has been amazing. He does all the little things, like battling for rebounds and playing with physicality on defense. 

The Kings could really use his energy, size, and defense. They have virtually no rim protection—Keegan Murray finished the season leading the team in blocks per game with 0.8–and have just discovered the right energy and physicality on defense. 

While Hartenstein’s play this season earned him a lot of respect around the league, he might still be available for the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, and the Kings should definitely go after him. He has voiced a desire to re-sign with the Knicks but you never know what can happen. Since he is not a three-point shooter, he would not be a good fit next to Sabonis, but he would be the perfect backup five. 

Alex Len has been dependable for the Kings considering the circumstances, but neither he nor JaVale McGee gave the team much production this season. If they want to contend, the Kings need more from their backup five, and Hartenstein could offer everything they need: rebounding, size, defense, and efficient scoring. 

Sacramento was lucky this season that Sabonis didn't miss a single game, and they didn’t have to start any of their backup bigs, but there is no guarantee that that will happen again. Sabonis often looks like he just finished a boxing match after games, and at some point, he might not be able to avoid injuries. The Kings have to be prepared for that.