The spending spree lasted all of 20 hours. Vlade Divac attacked the free agent market, checking off every box on his list of wants and needs.
It’s clear the Kings focused on adding players that fit their up-tempo style of play. They also prioritized flexibility for the future when their young core hits their second contract cycle and require major raises.
Lastly, the team brought in players who support the momentum that Sacramento built last season.
Here is a look at the additions and what they mean long term to the Kings’ roster and salary position.
Barnes’ four-year, $85 million contract starts right around $24 million for the 2019-20 season and decreases by eight percent every season. A rough estimate of the contract broken down over the four seasons looks like approximately $24 million in year one, $22 million in year two, $20.3 million in year three and $18.7 million in the final season.
Barnes projects as the team’s starting small forward for the next four seasons. He played 28 games with the Kings last season after being acquired from the Dallas Mavericks.
Needing a replacement for Willie Cauley-Stein, Divac added Dedmon on a three-year, $40 million contract. According to a league source, the $40 million is broken down evenly over the three seasons at $13.3 million per year, with a $1 million partial guarantee for the final year.
The 29-year-old 7-footer started 52 games last season for the Atlanta Hawks and will likely slide into the starting lineup alongside Barnes and second-year power forward Marvin Bagley on the Kings’ frontline. There is hope that Harry Giles will eventually develop into a starter at the position and until then, Dedmon is a quality rim protector who shot 38.2 percent from long range last season.
Last October, the Kings walked into the season with Iman Shumpert and Justin Jackson as their depth at the wing. Divac successfully landed Barnes at the deadline, re-signed him as the team’s top priority and then inked a solid veteran in Ariza.
According to an NBA source, Ariza’s two-year, $25 million contract starts at $12.2 million in year one and goes to $12.8 million in year two with only $1.8 million guaranteed in the second season.
At 34 years old, Ariza put up solid numbers for the Washington Wizards last season and should be looked at as a rotational player behind Barnes at the small forward spot.
Needing another perimeter defender, Divac chased one of the better backup point guards in the NBA. Joseph landed in Sacramento on a three-year, $37 million deal. According to a league source, Joseph’s deal breaks down to $12 million in year one, and $12.6 million in years two and three. The final year of Joseph’s deal has a $2.4 million guarantee.
Joseph averaged 25.2 minutes per game last season for the Indiana Pacers, but barring injury, he will see a substantial dip this season playing behind De’Aaron Fox. He’s an exceptional defender and posted a 3.9-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio last season.
With Dedmon and Giles already lined up, Divac made another addition to his big rotation when he landed Holmes on a two-year, $10 million mid-level room exception contract. Holmes hasn’t put pen to paper yet because the Kings still have cash to spend, but he’ll make $4.767 million in year one and another $5.2 million in year two.
Holmes is a big-time insurance policy with a huge motor and a tenacious style of play. He’ll be a fan favorite and at 25 years old, he fits the team’s player arc.
Sacramento walked into the summer with tons of cap space and they used almost all of it to support the young core. Divac had more than $60 million of the $109.1 million cap to spend.
With $45.1 million already dedicated to Fox, Bagley, Giles, Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Nemanja Bjelica, Yogi Ferrell, Caleb Swanigan and the $2.1 million owed to Matt Barnes (stretch provision), Divac spread the money around.
The Kings general manager spent an estimated $61.5 million for the 2019-20 season on Barnes, Dedmon, Ariza and Joseph, leaving the Kings somewhere around $107.5 million in dedicated salary before adding Holmes’ $4.767 million.
Sacramento has options and a roster spot or two. The Kings already signed Kyle Guy and Wenyen Gabriel to two-way contracts. They just signed second-rounder Justin James to a three-year minimum deal, according to a league source. With a little more cash left to spend, the Kings might have one more addition in their sights.
Divac could also use the stretch provision on Swanigan and clear up another $1.4 million in salary and move closer to $3 million in space. Whatever Divac decides, they’ll need to use that space before Holmes is officially signed.
After winning 39 games last season, the Kings will walk into the 2019-20 season with their highest payroll in franchise history. The team has filled holes in the roster without damaging their long term financial flexibility. Divac found players who are willing to support the young core with the hopes of snapping the franchise’s 13-year playoff drought.