When Does Free Agency Start For The Sacramento Kings?
With the NBA draft now behind us, it’s time to look ahead to one of the most exciting and dramatic parts of the offseason: free agency. This summer should be no different as there are several high-caliber players likely on the move later this week when the window opens.
But before we get to the action, here are a few things to keep you up-to-date on this year’s NBA free agency period and what it means for the Sacramento Kings’ plans this summer.
While the NBA hasn’t officially announced the exact start date for the free agency period, the negation period is expected to begin at 3 P.M. PST Thursday, June 30th, according to The Athletic. Starting at three, teams and players can begin negotiating contracts and agree to them in principle, but can’t make these signings official until the NBA moratorium period concludes, typically one week after.
Salary Cap For The 2022-2023 Season
The salary cap for the new season is set at $122 million, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, almost a $10 million increase from the $112.4 million salary cap in 2021-22.
Additionally, the luxury tax threshold has increased from $136.6 million to $149 million for the 2022-2023 season. The luxury tax apron, which hard-capped teams must stay below, is $155,196,200.
The Kings currently have an active roster worth $106,564,793, according to Spotrac, on the payroll heading into free agency, giving the team not much room to work without trading players and assets.
Who Has The Most Cap Space?
Even with the increase in salary cap league-wide, there are very few teams operating under the cap this offseason. Therefore only a select few teams are expected to have significant cap room to sign else free agents with Spotrac’s practical cap space projections having only five teams currently under the $122 million figure. Those teams include: The Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers currently operating under the salary cap.
Here are the top 10 teams in projected practical cap space:
1. New York Knicks: $-2,050,798
2. Detroit Pistons: $25,844,474
3. San Antonio Spurs: $18,234,856
4. Oklahoma City Thunder: $-8,565,048
5. Houston Rockets: $-13,001,772
6. Memphis Grizzlies: $-19,100,814
7. Charlotte Hornets: $-23,548,786
8. Miami Heat: $-11,439,667
9. New Orleans Pelicans: $-29,945,156
10. Sacramento Kings: $-25,862,493
The 6 tiers of spending this offseason
💰The cap space teams
💰Room but at a cost
💰The wild card teams
💰Watching their own free agents
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) June 27, 2022
What Is The NBA Mid-Level Exception?
Even though the Kings are projected to be over the salary cap during the free agency period, there are still plenty of routes to sign free agents.
If a team over the cap is under the luxury apron, that franchise has access to the $10.35 million non-taxpayer mid-level exception, which can be up to four years in length. Said team can also use the $4.05 bi-annual exception if it wasn’t used last season. However, if a team uses the non-taxpayer MLE or bi-annual exception, it’s hard-capped at the luxury apron for the rest of the league year.
For teams operating above the apron, they have access to the $6.39 million taxpayer mid-level exception, which can be used for a deal up to three years.
Lastly, teams below the cap have the $5.53 million room exception at their disposals, which can be used for a deal up to two years long.
It’s also worth mentioning that exceptions can be split up to sign multiple players. For example: Say the Kings re-sign Rajon Rondo (that would never happen) for $5 million and a backup forward for $5 million, the non-taxpayer MLE would be able to absorb those two contracts.
Best Available Players
The 2022 free agent class is stacked this offseason, with the potential to have multiple star-caliber players on the market and numerous rotational pieces as well. Here are the best players who could be available:
- Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (unrestricted)
- Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards ($36.4M player option)
- James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers ($47.4M player option)
- Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns (restricted)
- Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets (restricted)
- Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers (restricted)
- Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks (unrestricted)
- Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers (restricted)
Some rotation/starting-caliber players include: Victor Oladipo, Malik Monk, Jusuf Nurkic and Montrezl Harrell to name a few.
Team Needs for the Kings And What They Should Do
The Sacramento Kings currently have 11 players on the roster heading into free agency, leaving room for a number of signings the team can this summer. Maneuvering will be tricky though as the Kings have almost $50 million in cap holds, including the looming contract of mid-season acquisition Donte DiVincenzo about to hit the books.
Resigning DiVincenzo at a reasonable number should be one of the main priorities for a Kings team lacking a true starting shooting guard, along with resigning center Damian Jones to backup Domantas Sabonis during the season. Retaining both on a reasonable rate will allow GM Monte McNair to have more flexibility to sign key rotational pieces to fill out the depth of this squad.
My top #Kings targets w/ the MLE in Free Agency:
– Gary Harris
– Bruce Brown
– Otto Porter, Jr.
– Mo Bamba
— Nick Cattles (@NickCRadio) June 27, 2022
In my opinion, the Kings’ priority should be finding a starting two guard to play alongside De’Aaron Fox. A player that defend the 1-3 positions and can be an offensive creator/shooter to take the load off of Fox and Sabonis. Some players that come to mind: Bruce Brown, Gary Harris and Victor Oladipo. Particularly Brown and Oladipo, who have shown their abilities on both ends of the floor in high level competition.
Sacramento could also use some depth at the forward positions. Guys like Kyle Anderson, T.J. Warren and Otto Porter Jr. could prove vital for a young Kings team needing veteran leadership and switch-ability on the perimeter.
2022 NBA free agency kicks off Thursday, June 30th at 3 P.M. PST with already huge news surrounding Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving, dropping Monday. What other twists and turns await us this offseason; we’ll have to find out later this week.