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What options do Kings have if Holmes leaves in free agency?

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Life comes at you fast. After a potential trade fell apart earlier in the week that would have reshaped the Kings’ roster dramatically, Kings general manager Monte McNair has to move onto what’s next. 

A trade that would send Delon Wright to the Atlanta Hawks and yield center Tristan Thompson in a three team swap was confirmed on Friday, but still hasn’t been made official by the teams. It’s anyone’s guess why that is at this time, but it’s still likely to go through.

If the Thompson trade is completed, the Kings now have Thompson, Marvin Bagley, Chimezie Metu, Damian Jones and rookie second-round pick Neemias Queta as their rotation of bigs.

That’s not going to do it. They need more. They need a starting level center and maybe even a starting level power forward, depending on how they view Bagley. Here is a look at some of the options they have when free agency opens Monday at 3 p.m. PST. 

Top option: Richaun Holmes

Rarely do you see a player join his third team in his fifth NBA season and become so much more like Holmes has in Sacramento. Call him a diamond in the rough. Call him a perfect fit. However you want to label him, the Kings found something and they should try their best to hold onto him.

 

Holmes is looking for a four-year, $80 million mega-deal, but that might not come to fruition on the open market. Sacramento needs Holmes. He might need Sacramento. A compromise is out there if both sides are open-minded. Kings need to find some cap room to offer more than a 4-year, $47 million “Early Bird” contract, but there is a solid chance Holmes returns. 

The Dream: Jarrett Allen

Like Holmes, Allen is a perfect fit for the Kings. He runs the floor, blocks shots, is efficient on the offensive end and routinely posts double-doubles. At 23 years old, he fits the Kings player arc to a tee and his defensive metrics jump off the page. He’s also a restricted free agent and despite the Cavaliers landing Evan Mobley in the draft, he is considered a long-term piece to the puzzle in Cleveland. Outside of an unlikely sign-and-trade, Allen isn’t coming to Sacramento. He's going to earn a contract in the neighborhood of $20 million per season and the Cavs can match any offer. 

Secondary Options: Nerlens Noel, Alex Len, Daniel Theis, Kelly Olynyk

These are budget options that have similar traits to those of Holmes. The Kings have been linked to Noel, but there is a chance he ends up back in New York. He’s a springy defensive-minded big that blocks shots and picks steals. He’s nowhere near the offensive player that Holmes is, but at 27 years old, he’s a rotational big that can help improve the Kings’ defense.

Len played for the Kings for a short stint during the 2019-20 season. He’s a bruiser in the paint that doesn’t mind mixing it up. He’s also a solid rebounder and shot blocker. His defensive metrics are solid and he can even hit an occasional three. It’s unlikely he lands a deal above the bi-annual exception of $3.7 million. 

Theis is slightly undersized for an NBA five, but there is a lot to like about his game. He hustles, rebounds, blocks a shot per game, shoots the 3-pointer and like Noel and Len, his defensive metrics are solid. If the center market dries up, Theis might be looking at a room exception around the 2-year, $10 million mark, but there is always a shot that he finds a team offering the full MLE on a short-term deal.

Olynyk isn’t sexy, but he’s a solid all-around big man and the best 3-point shooter out of this group. He won’t wow you with his athleticism, but he sets big screens and plays with a physicality the Kings need. At 30 years old, Olynyk has plenty of tread on the tires. Like the rest of the players in this group, his defensive metrics are solid and he is likely more valuable than the contract he receives. He earned $12.8 million last season, but it’s unlikely he comes close to that, despite some incredible numbers in the final two months of the season with the Rockets.

 
RELATED: Does Thompson trade move needle for Kings?

The Stretch: Andre Drummond

There was a time a few years back when the Kings were attached to Drummond, but that was a previous regime. He’s a double-double machine and one of the best rebounders in the game. He’s also a few days shy of 28 years old. 

Drummond isn’t built for the pace and tempo the Kings hope to play at and he might clog the driving lanes, but he’s a starting level center with a solid track record. He would likely cost the Mid-Level Exception with a starting salary of $9.5 million per season, which is a far cry from the five-year, $126 million contract he just finished. 

Not going to happen: DeMarcus Cousins, Dewayne Dedmon

Been there, done that. Fences are difficult to mend for a player like Cousins and Dedmon is one of the biggest free-agent flops in Kings history.