Potential fits for Kings at small forward in free agency
A chain reaction
Rudy Gay’s Achilles tendon injury set off a chain reaction that reset the Sacramento Kings franchise.
Dealing away Omri Casspi at the deadline and then waiving Matt Barnes completed the team’s purge of all things small forward. Justin Jackson will get a shot to play in his rookie season, but the North Carolina wing is going to need help. That help might come in the form of Garrett Temple or Malachi Richardson, but a veteran free agent should be in play come July 1.
Kevin Durant, Gordon Hayward and Danilo Gallinari aren’t walking through that door, but here is a look at some potential targets to fill the Kings biggest position of need.
Porter took a while to arrive, but his 2016-17 numbers will attract major offers.
The 24-year-old forward fits perfectly into the Kings’ age projection and a max money deal wouldn’t prohibit them from being players in next season’s free agent class as well. He’s not a star, but Sacramento could use his 13.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. His 43.4 percent from 3-point range is elite and he can even play some defense.
Porter is a restricted free agent, which makes him a risk, but the Wizards are in a bad place with regards to the cap, so they might pass on a huge offer.
The Wizards can’t keep both Porter and Bogdanovic, although they have the option to match any offer.
They may not be able keep either. Bogdanovic, 28, isn’t the defender that Porter is, but he might be a better scorer. After lighting it up for the Nets, the Bosnian shooter continued the trend after joining Washington. He finished the season averaging 13.7 points on 36.7 percent from long range. He isn’t a great defender or rebounder, but he would stretch the defense and give De’Aaron Fox another target off the drive and kick.
The Jazz enter free agency in a very precarious position.
Their first priority will be retaining All-Star wing Gordon Hayward and starting point guard George Hill. Ingles is on the “to do list,” but an aggressive team might be able to steal the 29-year-old restricted free agent away while Utah’s focus is elsewhere. Despite averaging 7.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 24 minutes a night last season, Ingles is going to fetch a nice deal. He’s gritty, knows his role and hit 44.1 percent from long range last season.
Sacramento loved Snell in the 2013 NBA Draft, but that was an entirely different regime.
Like most of the other wings on this list, Snell, 25, is a restricted free agent. He started 80 games last season for Milwaukee, finishing the season with a modest 8.5 points and 3.1 rebounds while knocking down 40.6 percent from three. There are flashier signings, but Snell fits a need and shouldn’t break the bank.
On the road to recovery, Gay opted out of his final season with the Kings in search of one more substantial deal.
If he can’t find what he’s looking for on the open market, the door is still open a crack for a return. He’s still an above average scorer and solid locker room presence, but at nearly 31, Gay is looking for a winner that’s willing to pay.
Like Shaun Livingston, Iguodala is on the Warriors list of priorities, but he’s well behind Steph Curry and Kevin Durant.
The champs want him back, but they are going to need a huge discount. The veteran wing used Sacramento to get his deal in Golden State four years ago. Maybe the Kings will throw big money at the 33-year-old defender and leader. He’s not the player he used to be, but he’s a culture builder.
The San Antonio Spurs mine the world for talent and more often than not, they come up with gold.
Simmons worked his way into the league as a role player for San Antonio and now he’s up for a big raise. The 27-year-old can defend and score, but he’s smallish for a three and the Spurs have the option to match any deal.
If the Kings want a young defender, Roberson may get a long look.
At 25-years-old, the restricted free agent will have to start knocking down the 3-ball is he wants to make serious cash in the league. He’s also needs to find his shot from the line, but he’s a quality role player with upside.
The 32-year-old wing is drawing interest from Sacramento as a veteran defender and locker room presence. Tucker spent time with both the Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors this season.
He brings a toughness to the game that Kings currently lack, especially at the wing. Tucker's a short-term fit, but his influence would go well beyond the court where he posted 6.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game last season.