Kings

Kings already back at team's practice facility early in NBA offseason

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USATSI

Kings already back at team's practice facility early in NBA offseason

SACRAMENTO -- The bounce of a ball is a siren's call for true hoopers. With the offseason fewer than six weeks old, Kings players have already descended on the team’s practice facility floor.

A few players took a quick break before jumping right back into the action. But, with the NBA draft still a month away, it’s already time to get the band back together.

De’Aaron Fox has been hitting the weight room hard for the last three weeks. He’s ready to back up his sophomore jump with another step forward in year three.

Frank Mason and Willie Cauley-Stein were in the gym shooting jumpers following Thursday’s draft prospect workout. Mason is getting a fresh start with a new head coach. The team has a third-year option on the former second round pick that becomes guaranteed in October, so he’s not wasting any time auditioning for Luke Walton and the Kings brass.

Cauley-Stein is a King until he’s not. The 25-year-old big can become a restricted free agent on June 30. It is unknown at this time if general manager Vlade Divac will extend a $6 million qualifying offer to the team’s starting center and make him an RFA, or if they will allow him to walk away for nothing.

Harry Giles continues to rehab his quad, and he’s getting stronger. He’s trying to show that he is part of the young core moving forward and he needs to bulk up if he’s going to play primarily at the center position.

After a quick trip to India with the NBA, Harrison Barnes is also back in Sacramento. The veteran forward has a player option for next season at $25 million that he’s likely to pick up. He has openly talked about the Kings’ trip to play in Mumbai during the preseason and it doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere.

Nemanja Bjelica has spent time in the gym, too, as has two-way player Wenyen Gabriel. Gabriel finished the season in a walking boot after a foot injury, and he’s just now starting to get up shots. Like most of the young Kings, his focus this summer is on getting stronger -- whether it’s for a second season with the Stockton Kings of the G League or with the parent club.

Stockton head coach Ty Ellis is in town helping run prospect workouts, as is player development coach Bobby Jackson.

Luke Walton is working to fill out his coaching staff and has not been made available to the media. The team has yet to place a timetable on the investigation into sexual assault allegations made against the 39-year-old and they have no plans to comment publicly on the situation until a joint investigation with the NBA is completed.

While no additions to Walton’s staff have been announced, Jesse Mermuys -- who was an assistant with Walton in Los Angeles with the Lakers -- has been at the workouts as well, and is expected to join the staff in Sacramento.

[RELATED: Warriors, Kings games could start earlier in near future]

Assistant general managers Peja Stojakovic and Ken Catanella, and the team’s scouting staff, have been in attendance for the prospect workouts with Divac in Europe for the EuroLeague Final Four.  

More prospect workouts are expected this week as the Kings continue search for players worthy of the No. 40, 47 and 60 picks in the upcoming draft.  

What does Harrison Barnes' choice to become free agent mean for Kings?

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USATSI

What does Harrison Barnes' choice to become free agent mean for Kings?

SACRAMENTO -- Harrison Barnes - unrestricted free agent.

The news certainly came as a surprise Tuesday morning when the Kings’ forward chose to walk away from the final year of his contract that would have paid him $25.1 million next season.

While it may have been slightly unexpected, it wasn’t for Vlade Divac and his team. It may have even been the plan all along.

At 27-years-old, Barnes has plenty of basketball in his future and the Kings would like him to remain a part of that. According to multiple sources, the Kings are confident they can lock up their starting small forward to a long-term deal.

There is always a risk that Barnes will find the open market enticing and leave without compensation for Sacramento. That would be bad news for the Kings’ offseason plans, but would also open up a massive amount of salary space for the team to aggressively pursue other options.

Don’t be shocked if Barnes and the Kings move quickly on a four-year deal once free agency opens June 30. Barnes fits the age arc of most of the roster and he instantly fit in as a veteran leader with deep playoff experience.

Barnes had the option of accepting his player option and then working on an extension with the Kings later in the offseason. By opting out, there is a possibility that he is willing to forgo some of the $25.1 million this season for a long-term stability.

Is Barnes with a 4-year, $72-80 million contract? To the Kings, the answer is yes. And a contract like that would immediately impact Sacramento’s bottom line.

With Barnes, the Kings have approximately $67 million in guaranteed contracts for the upcoming season. That doesn’t include a $6.3 million qualifying offer for Willie Cauley-Stein, $1.6 million in non-guaranteed money for Frank Mason or a team option on Yogi Ferrell at $3.1 million

Without Barnes’ $25.1 million, Sacramento has $41.9 million in guaranteed deals and $67.1 million in available space. The Kings have another $6.3 million in minimum salary cap holds, giving them roughly $60.8 million in available cap space, again, without Ferrell, Cauley-Stein or Mason.

There are further cap implications, like massive cap holds for Barnes and Cauley-Stein, but those are complicated and require far more explanation. The short answer is that the Kings can eliminate those holds by renouncing their rights to either player.

While nothing is locked up with Barnes as of June 18, this might be a perfect world scenario for the Kings. If he takes a longer-term deal, but with a reduced salary in Year 1, it gives the team additional resources up front, while retaining an important part of their core.

A starting salary or $18-20 million would open an extra $5-7 million in cap space for this summer, giving Divac and his staff the ammunition necessary to chase a major free agent and still have enough to make one or two major additional improvements.

[RELATED: Kings get good look at two guards in final pre-draft workout]

This is likely the Kings’ road map for this summer, although there are no guarantees that they can pull it all off. Step one now is to retain Barnes. Step two is to swing for the fences and fill the voids in the rotation.

Source: Kings' Harrison Barnes declines $25M option, now free agent

Source: Kings' Harrison Barnes declines $25M option, now free agent

Harrison Barnes had until June 29 to mull over a $25 million player option for next season, and it appears the veteran forward made his decision.

NBC Sports California has confirmed that Barnes, 27, informed the Kings of his decision to walk away from the final year of his deal and become an unrestricted free agent.

According to a league source, Sacramento is confident they can keep Barnes in the fold with a new long-term contract, although the former Maverick and Warrior has the ability to sign with any team in the league once free agency begins on June 30. 

With Barnes opting out, the Kings' salary cap figure just shifted dramatically. Sacramento has just under $42 million in guaranteed contracts for this season, leaving them with close to $67 million in available cash to spend. 

Barnes spent plenty of time in Sacramento early this summer working out with his current teammates. He also made a trip to India with the NBA where the Kings will play two games during the upcoming preseason.

[RELATED: Harrison Barnes looks back on India trip]

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report the news.