Report: Kyle Kuzma gaining momentum as Kings target, Pacers eying Barnes
Jun 27, 2023, 9:21 AM
(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
As we move within 72 hours of the start date for NBA free agency, reports are swirling regarding the Sacramento Kings’ plans with their newly created salary cap space.
Following last Thursday’s NBA Draft deal that sent center Richaun Holmes and the $25 million remaining on his contract to the Dallas Mavericks, the Kings could open up Friday’s free agency period with around $35.6 million in cap space, per Spotrac’s Keith Smith.
The move to free up space puts Sacramento, one of the lone playoff teams with this type of financial flexibility, in a position to make a splash in free agency–but which player will bring that splash to the 916?
According to Yahoo! Sports NBA insider Jake Fischer, the Kings are targeting soon-to-be free agent forward Kyle Kuzma as a potential replacement for Harrison Barnes, who Fischer added could be a top target for the Indiana Pacers:
The name that’s gained plenty of momentum as a potential Sacramento target is Kuzma, who once thrived down the road in Los Angeles and was nearly dealt to the Kings in 2021 before the Lakers rerouted Kuzma to the Wizards instead and acquired Russell Westbrook.
Even with a new deal for Sabonis, plus the Kings’ expectation to bring back versatile forward Trey Lyles, sources said, Sacramento could have more than $25 million to play with in cap room, according to salary projections provided to Yahoo Sports.
The Pacers, sources said, are also a strong contender to sign Harrison Barnes from the Sacramento Kings. Barnes had a close relationship with All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton during their overlapping tenure in Northern California, and Barnes has further support from Indiana head coach Rick Carlisle dating back to shared days with the Mavericks.
Fresh intel notebook just dropped @YahooSports. The forward market is crowded after John Collins' trade to Utah, including Indiana, Orlando, Sacramento. The latest on Kyle Kuzma and KJ Martin. Plus other dominos teams are waiting to see fall in succession: https://t.co/xW7AiAj1CX
— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) June 27, 2023
Kuzma, who just finished sixth NBA season with the Washington Wizards, averaged career-highs in points (21.2) and assists (3.7) per gam while also pulling down 7.2 rebounds over 64 appearances.
The 2020 NBA champion will enter free agency seeking a new deal worth an average annual value of $30 million, per multiple reports, and the Kings are looking increasingly likely to be involved in the bidding process now that they have created the necessary cap space.
Fischer’s report indicates that Sacramento will look to extend All-NBA center Domantas Sabonis for a new deal in the neighborhood of four years, $120 million while also making an attempt to bring forward Trey Lyles back in free agency, but that doesn’t mean that they would be unable to go after Kuzma.
Even after a potential Sabonis extension and reunion with Lyles, the Kings would still have around $25 million in space to make a run at Kuzma or another wing on the market.
While Kuzma, who will turn 28 years old in July, is seeking $30 million in free agency, its possible that the market brings the forward’s demands to a level that Sacramento can afford–the $20-25 million average annual value range.
With three days remaining until free agency begins (Friday, June 30th at 3:00 pm PST), you can expect many more reports that link the Sacramento Kings to impending free agents.
While it’s unknown in the Kings will come out on top in the Kuzma sweepstakes, it’s clear the Kings general manager Monte McNair has big plans for this summer.
As Fischer put it in his story from Tuesday, “many league personnel are of the mind that Sacramento has a specific move up its sleeve.”
We’re about to find out what that move is.
Sacramento Kings Offseason Schedule
- Friday, June 30– Free Agent negotiating period begins
- Monday, July 3rd & Wednesday, July 5th – California Classic Summer League at Golden 1 Center
- Thursday, July 6– Free Agents can begin signing deals
- Friday, July 7–Monday, July 17– NBA Summer League in Las Vegas
- August TBD– 2023-24 NBA regular season schedule release
- September TBD– Sacramento Kings training camp begins