Yogi Ferrell

Source: Kings keep Yogi Ferrell hours after waiving Frank Mason III

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Source: Kings keep Yogi Ferrell hours after waiving Frank Mason III

SACRAMENTO -- Two point guards, one roster spot.

The Kings made the difficult decision to waive point guard Frank Mason early on July 4. A league source confirmed to NBC Sports California that Yogi Ferrell will not face the same fate.

Sacramento had until Thursday to either waive Ferrell or guarantee his $3.2 million salary for the 2019-20 season. The team opted for the latter, and will retain the 26-year-old point guard.

After posting double-figure scoring in each of his first two seasons in the league, Ferrell struggled to find court time in Sacramento last year. He played in 71 games for the Kings, but averaged just 5.9 points and 1.9 assists in 15 minutes per game.

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It doesn’t appear that this season will get any easier for the fan favorite. The Kings landed reserve point guard Cory Joseph on a three-year, $37 million contract on the first day of free agency, and he is expected to play major minutes behind starter De’Aaron Fox.

With Mason leaving and Ferrell staying, Sacramento’s roster now stands at 13 players under guaranteed deals. That does not include either Kyle Guy or Justin James, as the two second-round picks have yet to sign with the club.

Kings offseason outlook: Who will back up De'Aaron Fox at point guard?

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Kings offseason outlook: Who will back up De'Aaron Fox at point guard?

SACRAMENTO -- De’Aaron Fox, and?

What is the Kings' plan for the reserve point guard position this season? Last year, it was a point of contention between head coach Dave Joerger and the front office.

Joerger wanted a true veteran point guard that could handle the offense when Fox went to the bench. The team acquired Alec Burks at the deadline, but he didn’t really work out for the team in his brief opportunity.

After averaging 31.4 minutes per game last season, Fox is expected to play even more next season. What does that leave for a backup point guard?

Not much. Whoever takes the job is going to have to make an impact with very little opportunity.

The Kings have three options in house and added another two during the draft, but there still isn’t a true floor general on the roster outside of Fox.

According to a league source, the team is willing to walk into the season with the group they had last year, but they’ll look at other options during the first few days of free agency before making a final decision.

Bogdan Bogdanovic is a playmaker, but he’s more of a shooting guard or small forward than a natural point guard. He’ll eat minutes at the position, but the team would be better with him playing on the wing.

Yogi Ferrell is an option as well and he’s affordable. The team has a $3.2 million option on the 26-year-old, which they have until July 4 to exercise. The fourth-year guard is more of an undersized two than a point, which was one of Joerger’s concerns last season. He can be a defensive liability and the team needs an offensive hub to run the ball through when he’s on the floor.

Frank Mason is in a similar boat. While more of a point, he is undersized and struggled to make an impact when given a shot last year. After lighting it up from long range in college and putting up solid numbers during his rookie campaign, Mason struggled mightily from deep last season. Sacramento has until Oct. 15 to guarantee Mason’s contract for the upcoming season. He’s only due $1.6 million, so he’s an affordable option. He’ll likely get a shot to run the team in summer league and prove that he’s ready to contribute.

Vlade Divac and his team added a pair of guards in the second round, but they are inexperienced and neither is a perfect fit.

Justin James is a 6-foot-7 combo guard who ran the show at Wyoming. Kyle Guy is a big-time shooter, but not much of a distributor. They both were second-round selections, which means that they are on budget deals that likely are non-guaranteed this season. The team could use one or both of their two-way contracts on the pair and bounce them back and forth between their G-League affiliate in Stockton. They also could lock them down with three-year contracts with team options and see how they develop.

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None of these options is a perfect solution. Then again, the combination of three or four of these players might work.

If Divac doesn’t fall in love with someone new in the opening days of free agency, he might have to rely on a back-up point guard by committee approach and reassess his options next summer if it doesn’t work out.

There is talent at the position, but new head coach Luke Walton is going to need someone to step up and earn the minutes quickly or Fox will have to play even more than expected.

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

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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 might have been slightly unexpected, it wasn’t for Kings general manager Vlade Divac and his team. It might 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's 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 it also would open up a massive amount of salary-cap 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 follows 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 worth a four-year, $72 million to $80 million contract? To the Kings, the answer is yes. And a contract like that immediately would 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 space, again, without Ferrell, Cauley-Stein or Mason.

There are further cap implications, like massive 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 of $18 million to $20 million would open an extra $5 million to $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 likely is 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.