The Sacramento Kings continue to be in this weird unbreakable circle of disappointment, building unbalanced teams that aren’t terrible, but remain not good enough to end their long playoff drought.
Three of the decisions the Kings have been dealing with are trying to find a trade partner and get rid of Rudy Gay, what to do with Ben McLemore, and the same when it comes to DeMarcus Cousins, who is eligible for a contract extension at the end of September.
Gay has been linked to the Houston Rockets and Miami Heat, but for now, it’s unlikely he goes. His $13.3 million salary isn’t that terrible, but at this point, teams don’t have that kind of money available without moving players they’re interested in keeping. For the Heat, it probably means moving Goran Dragic to Sacramento, and they have no intention of doing that. The Heat, and everyone else, will be much wiser about holes in their roster after the season begins. Gay has a player option worth $14.2 million for the 2017-2018 season, and if he is moved, it’ll probably be after the season begins.
Cousins, currently with the Olympic basketball team in Rio, becomes a free agent at the end of the 2018 season. The Kings signed him to an extension on September 30, 2013, which means three years later, he’s eligible for another one. Cousins averaged 26.9 points per game last season, and unless the Kings are into a rebuild, they’ll probably want to hang on to him. But Cousins has been critical at times of the front office’s decisions, but the main reason he won’t want to sign that extension is a cap on the raise he’ll get in the 2017-2018 season, which means he can only get 7.5% more than the $18.1 million he’ll make on the final season of his deal.
As for McLemore, the 7th overall pick in 2013, the Kings are hoping they can trade him before he becomes a free agent at the end of this season. He’s up for an extension, but he’ll likely role into free agency, and the Kings aren’t even likely to offer him a qualifying offer. A star freshman at Kansas, McLemore had a decent second season in the league, but struggled in his third, averaging only 7.8 points as he lost 11 minutes per game, shot only 42.9% from the field and failed to distinguish himself as the outside shooter he was pegged to be when he arrived in the NBA.