NBA rumor mill churning, can Kings jump into free agent market?

Kings offseason moves may hinge on Raptors point guard

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NBA free agency is a fickle beast. There are rumors swirling everywhere and there appears to be one player who could change everything for everyone...or at least the Sacramento Kings.

Here is the latest scuttlebutt as we approach the 24 hour mark before Friday’s free agency bonanza.

  • Fred VanVleet’s decision means everything. According to multiple reports, the Raptors unrestricted free agent is deciding between a massive two-year contract offer from the Houston Rockets and a return to Toronto. If he leaves his NBA home of the last seven seasons, it could trigger a reboot and another feeding frenzy. A deal in Houston would also eat up a huge percentage of the Rockets estimated $60 million in cap room, leaving a few other players who were hoping to join the Rockets, out in the cold.

  • All the talk on Tuesday was focused on Kyle Kuzma and his potential fit in Sacramento, but according to a league source, that isn’t likely to happen. There are strong indications that the lanky forward has his eyes set on the Rockets, which is both interesting and telling. This is where the VanVleet situation could muddy the waters. If Houston lands VanVleet on a reported two-year, $83.6 million deal (H/T Marc Stein), that likely won’t leave enough for Kuzma. Dillon Brooks is also tied to the Rockets and his salary range is a better fit alongside VanVleet’s.

  • The rumors of Kuzma landing in Sacramento lasted all of 12 hours or so, but don’t completely close the door on this option. If Houston misses on VanVleet, Kuz likely takes the money to play for a rebuilding team. If not, Kuzma is floating around in a risky game of musical chairs and he might be the odd man out. This could open a door for the Kings to swoop in.

  • With so many pieces up in the air, the Kings have to cover all bases. As reported here at The Kings Beat on Tuesday night, Sacramento re-established contact with Harrison Barnes’ camp after going radio silent for nearly three weeks. The Kings may have competition from the Indiana Pacers and recruiter Tyrese Haliburton, but Barnes has well established roots in Northern California after spending eight and a half of his eleven NBA seasons with either the Warriors or Kings. A league source put Barnes’ initial asking price at $20 million per season, but to quote the great Davis Stern, “Life is a negotiation.”

  • The Kings Beat has confirmed that general manager Monte McNair picked up the team’s option on Kessler Edwards on Wednesday. The 22-year-old forward joined the Kings in a mid-season trade from the Nets and showed promise, especially on the defensive end. He’s been working out in Sacramento and could fit into the team’s plan this season after spending time with the coaching and training staff. Edwards’ contract is set at $1.9 million this season, which only took away an estimated $800K from the Kings’ salary cap for this season when the minimum cap hold of $1.1 million is considered. This was a low risk insurance policy from the Kings with potential to pay solid dividends. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was first with the news.

  • No Wemby? No problem. The news that Victor Wembanyama will not make the trip to Sacramento for the California Classic was disappointing, but the Kings have decided to put on a show for the home crowd. Edwards is slated to join the Summer League squad and he’ll be flanked by Keegan Murray, last season’s two-way players Keon Ellis and Neemias Queta, as well as the team’s two second round selections and a ton of Stockton Kings players. There is no word on whether Edwards and Murray will travel to Vegas and take part in Summer League there, but it would be shocking if they did make the trip.

We’ll have more in the coming hours as the rumor mill churns. The Kings are the lone playoff team from the 2022-23 season with any real cap space. If they can’t strike a deal for a big name free agent, there is still plenty of money to chase the next tier of players. It should be an interesting couple of days in Kingsland.

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