Much like last year, when the Sacramento Kings signed their only significant free agent, Sean May, on July 22, and added veteran small forward Desmond Mason prior to the start of training camp on September 17, despite having plenty of cap space, the team has elected not to make any kind of major (or even minor) offseason splash. While almost every other franchise with money to burn has handed out head-scratching contracts to unproven players and overpaid for mediocre veterans, to date, the Kings’ only transactions have been signing undrafted guard rookie Donald Sloan to a non-guaranteed deal for the league minimum, and trading forward-center Jon Brockman for a future draft pick and a player-to-be-waived in Darnell Jackson.
The team's long-term plan remains building around its young nucleus and allowing the players to develop together at the risk of handing out undeserved long-term deals. Considering that Wesley Matthews of the Portland Trail Blazers and J.J. Redick of the Orlando Magic, neither of whom scored in double-digits or played over 25 minutes per game during the regular season, will earn a combined $17 million next year — in the words of Chris Rock as Cheap Pete, "Good Lord, that's a lot of money!" — it certainly seems like the prudent and highly beneficial long-term strategy. But with a gaping hole still remaining in the backcourt, the Kings will likely bring in one or two of their Summer League guards to training camp while continuing to look for a low-cost veteran free agent.
What Happens in Vegas: Although none of the five guards on the Kings' Summer League roster did enough to solidify a roster spot, Sloan was surprisingly the least productive player. The 6'3'' guard put up just 3.0 points on 22% from the field to go along with one assist and 1.8 turnovers per contest, and didn't record a single steal in 80 minutes. Even the least likely prospect to make the team, Tyrese Rice, who shot 2-for-12 from three-point range and scored just one point over the final two games, badly outplayed Sloan in just about every area. Whether Sacramento will be content with having Sloan as the team's fourth guard and Tyreke Evans' primary backup after his underwhelming execution remains to be seen.
As for the other roster hopefuls, Ryan Thompson, as noted previously, was impressive on both ends of the court, coming up with a key steal that resulted in a Kings victory against the Chicago Bulls on July 17, and consistently attacked the basket. Although he didn't finish with a high shooting percentage (33%) and attempted only one three-pointer (which was a miss), he exhibited sound decision-making skills and stands the best chance of attending training camp.