It's no secret that the 25-win Kings are rebuilding and need help at every position, save for point guard. At the top of the list would certainly be the frontcourt, where Sacramento has been missing a pivotal bigman to pair with the individuality skilled, but collectively flawed rotation of Carl Landry, Jason Thompson, Spencer Hawes, and Jon Brockman. With over $20 million cap space, Sacramento can add a marquee free agent to a promising young roster.
Of course, the top-tier free agent bigmen, led by Chris Bosh, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Carlos Boozer, are highly unlikely to sign with an inexperienced team at the expense of trying to win a more immediate title. An even bigger caveat is that Sacramento hasn't been a major player in free agency in the past, and with several long-term contracts (Andres Nocioni, Beno Udrih, Francisco Garcia) still on the books, could choose to hold on to its cap space to facilitate a later trade instead of picking up mid-level talent that won't make a significant difference.
Still, with a myriad of valuable commodities and consolation prizes in a splendid free agent class, the Kings will be in prime position to add a solid supporting player or two at a discount. Here's a look at who would makes the most sense, and who's simply not worth the price tag.
David Lee: One of three players to average over 20 points and 10 rebounds in 2009-10, the 26-year-old All-Star trails only Dwight Howard in rebounds and double-doubles over the last two years. But as much as I've admired his hustle and relentless rebounding, it remains to be seen if Lee can develop an outside jump shot and play consistent defense, as well as how much playing in Mike D'Antoni's run-and-gun system helped boost his gaudy numbers (20.2 points on 55% FG, 11.7 rebounds per game).
A restricted free agent in 2009, Lee settled for New York's one-year qualifying offer after failing to land a lucrative contract. It's not inconceivable that he'd opt to take more money from a team like the Kings, who tried to pry him from the Knicks as recently as February, if he encounters a similarly dry market. Would I be disappointed if Sacramento overpaid for Lee this summer? Not in the slightest. Then again, $60 million would probably be better spent on a player whose first five seasons don't resemble the likes of Clarence Weatherspoon.
Brendan Haywood: The 30-year-old Haywood could be precisely the type of veteran presence to help the Kings' youngsters mature and improve defensively. He ranked second in the league in offensive rebounds per game (3.6) and offensive rebound percentage (13.5); 13th in total rebounds per game (9.3); and fourth in blocks (2.1) last season, and holds solid per-36 minute averages of 11.3 points, 9.3 points, 2.0 torn-out dreadlocks over the course of his career.