The 2019 NBA Draft is over and now the real work begins for the Sacramento Kings. They have massive holes to fill in their roster and a Brinks truck full of cash to spend.
Free agency begins June 30, although no one can officially sign until July 6. Teams around the league are lining up for big fish like Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Khris Middleton, Kevin Durant, Tobias Harris, Jimmy Butler and Al Horford.
Sacramento is an up-and-coming team with a solid core and a play style that should be attractive to free agents. Whether they can land a big fish is still in question, but they have the cash to be a player.
Long-term flexibility is still a priority, but adding a major piece or two is a necessity at this point with the improvements throughout the Western Conference.
$60.8 million (with seven minimum scale -- 7 x $900,000 = $6.3 million) cap holds and without the contracts of Yogi Ferrell, Frank Mason and three second-round selections
(Guaranteed contracts): De’Aaron Fox ($6.4 million), Buddy Hield ($4.9 million), Bogdan Bogdanovic ($8.5 million), Marvin Bagley ($8.6 million), Nemanja Bjelica ($6.8 million), Harry Giles ($2.6 million), Caleb Swanigan ($2 million)
Options: Yogi Ferrell ($3.2 million team option July 4), Frank Mason ($1.6 million team option Oct. 15)
Free Agents: Kosta Koufos (UFA -- $16.6 million cap hold), Willie Cauley-Stein (projected RFA -- $6.3 million qualifying offer, $14.1 million cap hold), Alec Burks (UFA -- $17.3 million cap hold), Harrison Barnes (UFA -- $32.7 million cap hold), Corey Brewer (UFA -- $2.4 million cap hold)
Dead Money: Matt Barnes ($2.1 million)
Roster Space: Without counting any of the three second-round selections, the King' roster currently stands at seven, but that number could grow to nine if they pick up the team options on both Yogi Ferrell and Frank Mason.
Needs: Center, Small Forward, Defenders, Overall Depth
In past season, the Kings have had at least a few veteran players on expiring contracts. That is not the case this year. If they are going to improve their roster, it has to come through free agency or as a soft landing spot for a salary dump.
If the team extends a qualifying offer to Willie Cauley-Stein, they can possibly facilitate a sign-and-trade, but there is limited value in this scenario. The team could also dip into their young core, but that seems unlikely at this point.
The Kings have holes to fill and this is a strong free-agent class. Vlade Divac has to dip his toe in Tier 1 and Tier 2 of the group, even if that means overpaying or swinging and missing.
He also needs to get on the phone and see if he can improve his team by taking on a significant contract from a team that is either over the luxury threshold or in need of a reboot.
Last summer the team took a cautious approach to free agency. That cannot be the team’s approach this year.
The Western Conference has loaded up. Teams like the Lakers and Jazz have already made significant strides forward. If the Kings hope to compete for a playoff spot, they need help and they need it now.