A lot has changed in a few short weeks. In early June, when Sacramento's undersized frontcourt rotation consisted of Carl Landry, Jason Thompson, Spencer Hawes, and Jon Brockman, the team was in dire need of adding another bigman. Fast forward to today, and the new-look Kings' roster has transformed from one of the smallest in the league, with only three regulars over 6'10", into one of the biggest, featuring a skilled and versatile frontline that can match up with the top squads in the Western Conference.
The Samuel Dalembert trade eliminated the need to add a veteran free agent, and after the NBA Draft, in which the Kings selected 6'10" DeMarcus Cousins and seven-footer Hassan Whiteside, Sacramento has a sudden overabundance of depth at power forward and center that will give Paul Westphal a multitude of options. Considering that Sean May, Kenny Thomas, Joey Dorsey, and Hilton Armstrong all received playing time at those positions last season, this isn't a bad problem to have.
But with Tyreke Evans, Beno Udrih, and Francisco Garcia as the only guards currently under contract — the Kings did not give a qualifying offer to the seldom-used Dominic McGuire — President of Basketball Operation Geoff Petrie has acknowledged the need to strengthen the backcourt. Since yet again, superstars such as Dwyane Wade and Joe Johnson are mere pipe-dreams for the small-market franchise, the Kings will likely look at bargain-bin role players (as well as undrafted rookies) in an abundant free agent market.
Ray Allen, Celtics - The soon-to-be-35-year-old showed that he has plenty left in the tank after several phenomenal playoff performances and would provide leadership and professionalism along with a sweet shooting stroke that would instantly upgrade Sacramento's offense (while downgrading the defense). But although Allen had an efficient season (48% FG, 36% 3PT, 91% FT), he averaged the fewest points since his rookie campaign and put up career-lows in rebounds, assists, and steals. In the latter stages of his career, the aging veteran isn't the type of difference-maker who would single-handedly lead the Kings back to the postseason, and heavily overpaying "Jesus Shuttlesworth" doesn't exactly fit in with Sacramento's long-term plan.
John Salmons, Bucks - All Salmons has done in the year and half since being shipped out of Sacramento is help guide two teams into the playoffs while averaging 16.1 points (45% FG, 39% 3PT, 83% FT), to go along with 3.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. Still only 30 years old, he brings a solid mid-range game, the athleticism to finish at the rim, and arguably the most menacing goatee in sports. Despite how well he'd complement Evans' game, Salmons has likely priced himself out of the Kings' budget, and with the Hawks reportedly targeting him to replace the soon-departing Joe Johnson, a Sacramento reunion is highly unlikely.
Ronnie Brewer, Grizzlies - A strong and athletic swingman, Brewer has averaged a modest 10.3 points per game over his first four seasons, most frequently scoring around the rim and in transition. Although he's a career 52% shooter from the field, he's far less reliable away from the rim (under 35%), and could rival ex-King Kevin Martin for the ugliest form in the NBA. Where the 25-year-old excels, however, is on the defensive end, ranking in the top ten in total steals and steal rate in 2007-08 and in 2008-09. Quick, active, and aggressive, Brewer would enhance the talents of his teammates as an explosive, game-changing reserve.
Raymond Felton, Bobcats - A proven playmaker who's averaged 6.4 assists per game, Felton established career-highs in both field goal percentage (46%) and three-point accuracy (39%) in 2009-10 (although it should be noted that he shot under 40% during his first four years). His excellent ball-handling and passing skills would make him well-suited to play in the backcourt with Evans or serve as a backup at both guard slots, while his strength and quickness make him one of the better defenders at his position (1.4 steals). Felton is hardly flashy, but he'd be an ideal target at the mid-level exception, presuming the 26-year-old would accept a limited role after already playing reduced minutes last season.
J.J. Redick, Magic (Restricted - $3.9 million QQ) - It seems like only yesterday, Redick was considered to be a bigger bust than his collegiate rival, two-time NBA champion Adam Morrison. The 26-year-old has a reputation for strictly being an outside shooting specialist, but he contributes a decent amount in other categories (3.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per 36 minutes). While he isn't Jason Kapono-level bad on defense, he lacks the size and athleticism to defend bigger guards. But after a career year in which he increased his scoring average (9.6 points per game), ranked 17th in the NBA in three-point percentage (41%), and showed the ability to create his own shot, Redick became a vital reserve on Orlando. Although he'd be relatively costly, he'd be a quintessential reserve, as well as a reliable crunch-time option for the Kings.
Anthony Morrow, Warriors (Restricted - $1 million QO) - Another superb outside shooter, Morrow led the league in three-point percentage as a rookie (47%) and ranked fifth last season (45%). While he can certainly score (37 points in his first NBA start) and rebounds well for his position (4.7 per 36 minutes), Morrow rarely drives to the basket (1.5 free throw attempts) and doesn't distribute the ball (1.4 assists). His defense, while being optional on Golden State, hasn't been overly impressive either. But man, can he score, and at only 24, Morrow could still develop into a quality all-around player while providing instant offensive and deep range off the bench.
Mike Miller, Wizards - The 6'8" Miller is a good rebounder (5.1 per game) and playmaker (3.2 assists), and is renowned for being one of the best outside shooters in the league (second in three-point percentage last season). The problem is that his three-point attempts have more than halved from 7.1 per game in 2006-07 to just 3.2 in 2009-10, and his scoring average has accordingly dipped by over eight points per contest. Still, Miller, 30, contributes in several offensive categories, plays satisfactory defense, and finally cut his girlish hair. If he were to revert back to his shoot-happy form, he'd spread the floor and get plenty of looks when Evans, and eventually Cousins, draw double teams.
Wesley Matthews, Jazz (Restricted - $937K QO) - Matthews, who was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent last season (after playing on the Kings' summer league team) emerged into a reliable starter and averaged 13.2 points and 4.4 rebounds in 37.1 minutes per game in the Playoffs. While he isn't the quickest or most athletic player, he has a smooth outside shot (48% FG, 38% 3PT), attacks the basket, and plays tough, hard-nosed defense. The 25-year-old is likely to stay in Utah, but could potentially be had for the full mid-level exception with the Jazz focusing on their more high-profile free agent, Carlos Boozer.