Analyst weighs pros and cons of Sacramento Kings adding double-double machine

Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans - Play-In Tournament
Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans - Play-In Tournament / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

The Sacramento Kings have the non-taxpayers midlevel exception to use this offseason. It's anyone's guess as to who they may use it on. Among the options is a backup big for Domantas Sabonis. If that's the route they choose, one option is Jonas Valanciunas.

The King's Herald's Greg Wissinger explored the possibility of the Kings adding Valanciunas to the squad. He started by explaining why Valanciunas compares so favorably to who the Kings have had in the past to backup Sabonis.

"Richaun Holmes never adapted to his role and ended up costing the Kings a 2023 first-round pick to unload. JaVale McGee was too up and down. Alex Len is solid and reliable but unspectacular. Jonas would be a significant upgrade to the Kings center depth, allowing Sacramento to have one of Sabonis or Valanciunas on the floor at all times."

Wissinger added the specific element Valanciunas would bring to the Kings that they haven't had in the past.

"Valanciunas also brings significant size and toughness to a Kings team that has lacked it in recent years. Although Jonas is listed as just an inch taller than Sabonis, Kings fans saw firsthand this season how much bigger Valanciunas plays. Too many times."

For his career, Valanciunas has put up 362 double-doubles, per He doesn't necessarily boast playoff success, but the Kings would know exactly what they're getting if they added him to their playoff-hopeful squad next season.

Wissinger also acknowledges the problems with adding Jonas Valanciunas to the Sacramento Kings

For all the good Valanciunas could bring, Wissinger added that he doesn't bring much as a three-point shooter.

"Although Jonas is willing and capable of shooting the three (career 34% from beyond the arc), he’s coming off a down year where he shot just 30.8% from 3 and was often benched late in games by the Pelicans."

On top of that, Wissinger expressed his skepticism of Valanciunas' fit next to Sabonis.

"Even if he returns to form next season, JV and Sabonis are a tenuous fit next to each other. We saw in Indiana that Sabonis isn’t maximized next to another center, and I don’t like the idea of Sabonis regularly being asked to guard 4s. Sabonis showed himself capable of handling smaller players briefly on switches this past season, but that’s a far cry from doing it game in and game out."

The non-taxpayer MLE gives the Kings options like Tobias Harris for example. Valanciunas may very well be the best backup center option available if that's what they plan to use it on, but there will be others. The Kings may want to use an exception on someone who fits the roster better while adding a quality backup center for much less.