James Ham

How Kings' free-agency splurge impacts roster, salary cap position

How Kings' free-agency splurge impacts roster, salary cap position

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. 

Harrison Barnes

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. 

Dewayne Dedmon

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.

Trevor Ariza

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. 

Cory Joseph

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. 

Richaun Holmes 

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. 

Salary Cap

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. 

[RELATED: Ariza excited to reunite with Walton in Sacramento]

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. 

Kings 'going to the next level' with additions, Vlade Divac believes

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AP

Kings 'going to the next level' with additions, Vlade Divac believes

Kings general manager Vlade Divac made bold, calculated moves in the opening 24 hours of free agency. He addressed the Sacramento's biggest priority when he re-upped Harrison Barnes to a new four-year, $85 million contract. And then he went to work on the rest of the roster.

Following the Kings' 105-101 Las Vegas Summer League win over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday, Divac sat at a long table in a Thomas and Mack conference room and introduced Barnes, along with new additions, Cory Joseph, Dewayne Dedmon and Trevor Ariza.

“Now we’re going to the next level,” Divac told media members as the cameras rolled. “These are guys that have played on some championship teams. They know how to win and our young guys are going to take another step forward. So they’re going to help them a lot on and off the court.”

Barnes got a 28-game taste of life in Sacramento earlier this year after coming over to the Kings in a midseason trade. The veteran forward fit in quickly both on and off the court and the Kings were excited to lock him up long-term.

“Since I got to Sacramento, it’s been a great experience,” Barnes said. “The fans, the community, the team, made it feel like home, so I’m definitely glad to be playing here long-term with this team. I’m excited to grow and end this playoff drought.”

The overall theme of the day was the excitement surrounding the Kings after plenty of lean years. Sacramento has a talented group of young players and these additions were brought in to fill the holes and push the team over the top.

“I’ve been watching Sac for a couple of years now, they’ve been doing great things,” Joseph said. “The organization has really done a great job of building and last year they were really good. This year I’m happy to be a part of it, try to get to the playoffs this year.”

Joseph landed in Sacramento on a three-year, $37 million contract. He’ll back up De’Aaron Fox at the point guard position and he gives coach Luke Walton a defensive specialist to turn to on the perimeter.

In addition to the young core, the team’s style of play is appealing. For a player like Dedmon, who spent the last two seasons in Atlanta running up and down the court, this was the right fit for his skill set.

“The uptempo style is kind of how I’ve been playing,” Dedmon said. “I like to get up and down, run the floor and now I’m shooting threes. It’s fun basketball.”

After signing a three-year, $41 million contract, Dedmon will likely start on the front line alongside Barnes and second-year big man Marvin Bagley. Outside of inking Barnes, finding a consistent center was high on the Kings’ wish list. The 29-year-old Dedmon checks all of the boxes of what the Kings were looking and he provides leadership off the court as well.

Despite major upgrades to division rivals, the Kings are confident that they can snap the franchise’s 13-year postseason drought.

“Our division got a little bit tougher, there’s no secret about that, but I like what we have," Barnes said. "I like where we’re going and I think we have a chance to really make some noise."

Ariza has been around the block during his 15-year NBA career. At 34 years old, he played well last season after being dealt to the Washington Wizards and will be counted on for depth behind Barnes at the forward position.

The 6-foot-8 veteran knows what it takes to win. He’s made it to the playoffs nine times, including a championship run with the 2008-09 Lakers.

Before joining Sacramento, he did his homework on the Kings and heard positive things.

“From what I’ve seen and heard from around the league, the players on this team want to be better,” Ariza said. “I think that’s the key for your team to be successful.”

Sacramento didn’t miss by much last season. They were in the postseason chase, but finished on a sour note, losing seven of their final 10 games.

“We were so close, down the stretch, losing a lot of those games close, little mistakes,” Barnes said. “I think that when we come into the season, that’s going to be our biggest focus - the details. How do we go from being a 39-win team that barely misses, to being a team that’s a fifth [or] sixth seed.”

[RELATED: Barnes preaching 'culture of family']

Divac likely felt the same way that Barnes did down the stretch of last season. To remedy the situation, he’s brought in supporting players to help work through some of the mistakes that cost Sacramento dearly last season.

In addition to Barnes, Joseph, Dedmon and Ariza, the Kings reached an agreement with big man Richaun Holmes on a two-year, $10 million deal. The 25-year-old shot blocker was not in attendance on Monday, but is expected to sign his contract with the Kings soon.

Harrison Barnes preaching 'culture of family' to young Kings in Vegas

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AP

Harrison Barnes preaching 'culture of family' to young Kings in Vegas

After trailing by as many as 15 early, the Kings turned up their defensive intensity and made a game of it during Monday’s Las Vegas Summer League action. The end result was a gritty 105-100 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

Milton Doyle caught fire, scoring a team-high 22 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field and 3-of-5 from long range. 18 of his points came in the fourth quarter as the Kings pulled away. 

Kyle Guy fared well again, finishing with 19 points, three assists and two steals. One of his dimes came on a transition feed to fellow rookie, Justin James.

James continued his aggressive defensive play and added 10 points and two assists in 22 minutes. He needs to get stronger, but he’s looking more comfortable with each game. 

Semaj Christon is making a case for a possible training camp invite, posting 15 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Big man Eric Mika chipped in 11 points, eight rebounds and a block.  

Cameron Payne went off for Dallas, lighting the Kings up for 32 points on 7-for-12 shooting from behind the arc. He hit a series of 3-pointers during the fourth quarter to keep the Mavs in the game. 

During halftime, Harrison Barnes, fresh off signing a new four-year, $85 million contract with the Kings, stopped by and spoke to NBATV’s Jared Greenberg about his decision to rejoin Sacramento.

“We’d been talking with the Kings and got feedback from around the league,” Barnes told Greenberg. “I felt that I could be able to add my defensive presence, I’ve been a proven scorer before and I’m really looking forward to just building with these young guys.”

Barnes isn’t the only Kings player in Las Vegas to support the Summer League squad. Newly signed Dewayne Dedmon, Cory Joseph and Trevor Ariza swapped off sitting courtside with general manager Vlade Divac. On Divac’s other side was Harry Giles, followed by Marvin Bagley, and Buddy Hield was in the gym as well.

“We just want to continue to build that culture of family,” Barnes said. “Letting these young guys who are here see that it’s not just you playing here in Summer League.”

The core group of players on the roster showed up in force during the California Classic in Sacramento last week. A team-first mentality is the focus of the franchise as they attempt to snap the franchise’s 13-year playoff drought.

As for the Kings' chances of building off last season’s 39-win season and possibly jumping into the postseason picture, Barnes seems confident.

[RELATED: Power Rankings: Kings chasing Clippers]

“We have a lot of guys with a lot to prove,” Barnes added. “We’re a group, a team, a city that’s excited to get the ball rolling and get to work as soon as possible.”

Barnes, along with free agent acquisitions Joseph, Dedmon and Ariza, are scheduled for an introductory press conference in Las Vegas on Monday afternoon. Center Richaun Holmes will not be in attendance, but plans to sign his new contract with the Kings at a later date.