The Sacramento Kings completed the 2020-2021 NBA season with a record of 31-41 which placed them at 12th in the Western Conference and equal 21st in the league with Chicago and New Orleans. The Kings are an organisation in chaos as they extended their playoff drought to 15 years, equalling the longest in NBA history. They have several players on the outs with Marvin Bagley III and Buddy Hield involved in a lot of trade rumours as well as a lot of speculation about the coach, Luke Walton and whether he is the right coach for this team. While there is a lot of negativity surrounding this team and their fanbase, there are some good things happening in Sacramento. De’Aaron Fox has taken a massive leap this season and is now the clear leader of this team while rookie, Tyrese Haliburton, has made an instant impact off the bench and has the potential to be the second guy on this squad in a few seasons’ time. This offseason, the Kings will look to both the draft and trade market to improve this team. They will have to approach this rebuild with a lot of urgency as they need to get this team to the playoffs as soon as possible.
Currently, the Sacramento Kings have 8 players with guaranteed contracts for the 2021-2022 NBA season. They do not have any team or player options, but they do have some non-guaranteed salary to make decisions on. Damian Jones, Justin James and Chimezie Metu all have non-guaranteed contacts for next season, but I expect to see at least 1 or 2 of them back depending on bench depth at their respective positions. Terence Davis is a restricted free agents with early bird rights along with Kyle Guy and Louis King who are both two-way free agents. The Kings will have a few key unrestricted free agents this offseason in Richaun Holmes, Maurice Harkless and Hassan Whiteside. The Kings will have to decide which big men they priorities keeping on this team. Due to the amount of guaranteed salary on this team, the Kings will likely be operating as an over-the-cap team in free agency and will therefore only have the $9.5 million mid-level and $3.7 million bi-annual exceptions available to them as well as a couple of small trade exceptions.
Depth Chart 2020-21 Season–
2021 NBA Draft
The Sacramento Kings did not get lucky in the lottery and will have the 9th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft as well as the 39th pick and will be able to add a solid talent to the roster but likely no one game changing. The Kings could ultimately look at selecting best available talent at this pick but should prioritise a wing/forward with their current frontcourt entering free agency. With the 9th pick in this year’s draft, the Sacramento Kings should target Jalen Johnson, a 6’9” forward out of Duke. Johnson is an undeniable talent, but some red flags could see him fall in the draft. The Kings would be getting a player with great athleticism who can pressure the rim, move the ball, and crash the boards. While his scoring could definitely be improved, Johnson can make an immediate impact with his vision and energy.
The Sacramento Kings will have limited impact in free agency but have plenty at stake. Most of their frontcourt are unrestricted free agents and they will have to make some tough decisions on which guys to bring back next season. Their most notable free agent is young center, Richaun Holmes. Homes will be a sought-after free agent this offseason and I don’t this the Kings will be willing or able to match his offers from other destinations and therefore will have to focus their attention on resigning Hassan Whiteside instead. They will also likely look at bringing back both Terence Davis and Maurice Harkless. The other move I can see them making is a trade with Minnesota which I discuss in the Timberwolves offseason outlook. This trade would be a win-win for both sides. The Kings move on from their disgruntled rotation players while gaining some solid rotational depth at their two weakest positions. The Timberwolves will be able to move on from some bad salary while taking a chance on some players that, in the right situation, could flourish and push their team into the playoffs.
The Sacramento Kings will enter the offseason with sirens sounding in all directions. The front office will really need to star making key decisions to determine what the future of this franchise looks like. While they can’t make any major free agent signings, they can look to the draft and the trade market to improve their rotation and build a solid core to develop into what most fans hope will be a playoff team in the next two seasons.
Projected Depth Chart 2021/22 Season –