10 potential starting forward options for Kings in free agency

Can Monte McNair add one more big piece in free agency?

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NBA free agency is set to begin Friday, June 30 at 3 PM PST and Kings general manager Monte McNair has a Brinks truck worth of cash to spend.

The summer should be filled with intrigue, but McNair has a glaring hole in his starting lineup that has to be addressed in one way or another. Bringing back Harrison Barnes is one option, but the Kings will likely conduct an expansive search before committing to one player.

McNair’s mantra of maintain and improve will be tested. Despite having an estimated $35 million in cap space to spend an d a top three finish in the Western Conference last season, McNair is battling against perception.

The biggest named outside free agent to ever sign with Sacramento is Vlade Divac, still to this day. McNair has built a winner, cleared cap space and is the only winning team with any room heading into free agency. He needs to work the phones until he wears through a screen protector if he hopes to give his team a shot to become a true title contender.

Here are 10 solid forward options as the Kings embark on stage two of the NBA’s offseason. These are all starting level forwards that move the needle.


Harrison Barnes - Kings - Small Forward

2022-23 Stats: 15.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, .7 steals, 47.3% FG, 37.4% 3-pt

Age: 31; Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent (Larry Bird Rights)

Barnes has started a total of 317 games in a Kings uniform over the last four and a half seasons, including all 82 last season, plus another seven in the postseason. He may not have the flash of Kuzma or the defensive acumen of Green, but he’s solid at nearly every aspect of the game and one of the better citizens you’ll find league-wide.

According to a league source, the Kings have had discussions with Barnes on a potential extension in the last few weeks, but those conversations went quiet. He might be the best option for continuity’s sake, as long as McNair can add depth in free agency or through trade.

Predicted Salary

Barnes is still a serviceable starting level forward who will draw interest around the league. There are rumors in Sacramento of a potential $20 million per year price tag for Barnes’ services. That would be a bump from his declining scale deal that paid him $18.4 million last season. As is the case for the rest of the free agents on this list, there isn’t a lot of money floating around the league. Barnes could ask the Kings to facilitate a trade or he could take mid-level money. A three-year, $45-48 million extension in Sacramento would make sense.

Big Game Hunting

Draymond Green - Warriors - Power Forward

2022-23 Stats: 8.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.8 assists, .8 blocks, 52.7% FG, 30.7% 3-pt

Age: 33; Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Deemed “the perfect fit” for the Kings from some of the talking heads in the NBA world, Green brings an energy and defensive mindset that Sacramento needs. Unfortunately, his age, inability to shoot the 3-ball and relationship with some of the Kings’ players might be tough to look past.

Mike Brown knows Draymond as well as anyone from their six seasons together with the Warriors. If Brown thinks Green can mesh with the current squad, it might be worth a conversation, but this would be an expensive short term move.

Predicted Salary 

Green would love a deal in the three-year, $100 million range and he might get that going back to Golden State. On the open market, there aren’t a lot of teams in “win now” mode, like the Kings. Maybe a three-year, $60 million contract would get it done, but that’s only if the Warriors bow out.

Kyle Kuzma - Wizards - Forward

2022-23 Stats: 21.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, .5 blocks, 44.8% FG, 33.3% 3-pt

Age: 27 (28 in July); Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Kuzma won’t exactly help the defense, but he might make the most sense out of everyone on this list. A high-level scorer and superfluid athlete, Kuzma can play both forward positions. He runs the floor well, can rebound and there is potential for him to be a more efficient scorer when paired with a player like Domantas Sabonis.

Kuzma loves the bright lights of the big city, but if he’s ready to trade in all of that for winning, the Kings would be a great landing spot. At a minimum, Kuzma would be a third scoring option in Sacramento with the potential for more.

Predicted Salary 

The word on the street is that Kuzma is looking for $30 million a year. At almost 28, he isn’t in the same “win now” category that Green is, so he might get that number in a less than stellar situation. In Sacramento, he would have to take less than he wants to make all of the pieces work. A four-year, $100 million offer is a lot more than the three-year, $39 million contract he is coming off of and would fit into the Kings’ budget.

The Fit

Bruce Brown - Nuggets - Small Forward

2022-23 Stats: 11.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.1 steals, 48.3% FG, 35.8% 3-pt

Age: 26; Contract Status: Unrestricted free agent

Brown is fresh off a monster performance in the playoffs with the champs. He looks like he’s found his NBA home in Denver, but there are some major question marks regarding his salary. Brown seems undersized to stick at the three, but he plays well beyond his height and is the type of 3-and-D wing the Kings have been missing. He is a seasoned role player who understands how to play with a big man like Domantas Sabonis.

Predicted Salary

Due to salary cap rules, the Nuggets can only sign Brown to a contract starting at $7.8 million. That’s an issue. On the open market, Brown has earned a mid-level exception level salary at a minimum that Denver just can’t match. Would he leave a great situation and test free agent waters? If he’s open to a new challenge, Brown is probably in line for a contract somewhere in the neighborhood of four years at $50-60 million. The Kings can afford that, but Brown will have other suitors.



Dillon Brooks - Grizzlies - Small Forward

2022-23 Stats: 14.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, .9 steals, 39.6% FG, 32.6% 3-pt

Age: 27; Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Brooks is an All-League defender and an NBA instigator. He would bring a different mindset to the Kings that has been lacking, but there are plenty of question marks. First up, he’s an inefficient offensive player who would need to be reigned in. The poor mid-range shots would need to go and he would have to fit into a different style of play. There is also the fact that he’s being run out of Memphis. Maybe last season was a wake up call? If Mike Brown wants a challenge, this could be the biggest risk/reward signing of the offseason, especially with Brooks’ defensive abilities.

Predicted Salary

Brooks is coming off a three-year, $35 million deal with the Grizz. There are rumors that Brooks was looking for a starting salary in the neighborhood of $25 million per season, but that’s not happening. He might be able to get above the mid-level range, in the neighborhood of three years, $40-50 million, but there could be a team option mixed in there. Sacramento needs this type of defender and maybe even a bit of Brooks’ personality.

Kelly Oubre - Hornets - Small Forward

2022-23 Stats: 20.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.4 steals, 43.1% FG, 31.9% 3-pt

Age: 27; Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Oubre is intriguing. He’s the type of long, athletic wing the Kings need, but like Brooks, he comes with an issue or two. He averaged a career-best 20.3 points per game last season, but his shooting numbers weren’t great. There is also the issue that he doesn’t pass the ball hardly at all and doesn’t make his teammates better. On the plus side, Oubre played AAU ball with De’Aaron Fox and the two are friends. Also of note is that Oubre played for Brown in Golden State and Jay Triano in Charlotte. The Kings have the scouting report on him and can make a very educated decision.

Predicted Salary

Oubre is coming off a mid-level contract and is probably looking at something similar this season, despite the scoring outburst. Even the Hornets are limited to just “early Bird” rights. A three-year, $40 million contract with a team option might work to land the talented, but enigmatic Oubre.


Cam Johnson - Nets - Forward

2022-23 Stats: 15.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.4 steals, 47% FG, 40.4% 3-pt

Age: 27; Contract Status: Restricted Free Agent

For some reason, Johnson seems younger than the rest of the options, but he’s not. Acquired in the Kevin Durant deal, Johnson is another one of those long, athletic forwards who would fit well in Sacramento. He’s played power forward for much of his career, but his rebound numbers show a player who is probably playing out of position. The switchability with Keegan Murray would be fun, although the restricted status is trouble.

Predicted Salary

There is already talk of a potential four-year, $100 million offer coming in from the Detroit Pistons for Johnson. That is likely the starting point, even if he doesn’t have the same track record for success as a player like Kuzma. The catch is that Brooklyn is potentially matching any and all offers for the 27-year-old, so this is dangerous territory for a team with money to spend.

P.J. Washington - Charlotte - Power Forward

2022-23 Stats: 15.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.1 blocks, 44.4% FG, 34.8% 3-pt

Age: 24; Contract Status: Restricted free agent

Washington has been linked to the Kings in the past and for good reason. He’s your standard new era stretch four with potential to play up a position. Washington doesn’t have the same buzz that Johnson does and there is potential to price him out of Charlotte, especially with their pending ownership change and the Myles Bridges situation still pending. His 3-point numbers were down and he isn’t a great rebounder, but Washington brings a lot to the table and he has a pre-existing relationship with Triano.

Projected Salary

This is tough. The Hornets reportedly want to keep Washington, but at what cost. He has the numbers of a $15-18 million a year player, but it might take more to get Charlotte not to match. He has the tools to play alongside Sabonis, including the 3-point shooting and blocks. This might be a player to throw a sneaky big offer to.

Pipe Dream

Khris Middleton - Bucks - Small Forward

2022-23 Stats: 15.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists, .7 steals, 43.6% FG, 31.5% 3-pt

Age: 31; Contract Status: Unrestricted free agent

Middleton opted out of a $40 million deal with the Bucks, but it’s likely he’s heading back to Milwaukee for another tour on a longer deal. Middleton is aging, but he still checks a lot of boxes. His 3-point percentage was down this year, but that’s not expected to continue. He would give the Kings another floor spacer and high-level passer who could pair with Sabonis and Murray on the front line.

Projected Salary

A minimum offer is likely in the three-year, $100 million range, but that’s a huge gamble. Middleton has a major injury in the recent past and his ties to the Bucks run deep. It’s unlikely he’s even considered leaving when everything is accounted for, but it would be rude to leave him off the list.

Jerami Grant - Trail Blazers - Power Forward

2022-23 Stats: 20.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, .5 steals, 47.5% FG, 40.1% 3-pt

Age: 29; Contract Status: Unrestricted free agent

Grant is on a long list of forwards who would look good in a Kings uniform. The only issues are the cost and whether he is willing to move from Portland. Grant checks a ton of boxes. He has the length, athleticism and 3-point shooting the Kings desire. He’s an upgrade on the defensive end and he can even block some shots. On the downside, he’s never really put up productive numbers on a winning team and he isn’t a great rebounder at the four. This would be a big time get for McNair, even with some of the questions.

Projected Salary

Before being traded to Portland last summer, Grant was looking for a four-year, $120 million extension, which he did not get. He might still get close to that, but that’s if the Blazers don’t completely turn heel and blow it all up. Grant could be the answer, although it will probably cost upwards of four years and $80-100 million. His versatility on both ends of the floor is intriguing, even if the rebounding numbers are an issue. This would be the Kings’ version of the Aaron Gordon trade that the Nuggets pulled off a few years back. It’s a bold move that requires outside help.

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