Where Kings stand with potential targets heading into NBA free agency


In what could be the most important offseason for the Sacramento Kings in more than a decade, they have a chance to take their upstart young team to another level. 

The competition is fierce, but general manager Vlade Divac and his front office are armed with more than $60 million in salary-cap space, zero restrictions on their first-round draft picks and seven second-round selections over the next two seasons.

More than one of their Western Conference competitors already have made stunning improvements. So, if the Kings want to join the ranks of the elite, they’ll have to chase the top tier in free agency.

Whether they can land a franchise-changing player still is unknown, but here is the latest on the Kings and the players to whom they’ve been linked before free agency starts Sunday at 3 p.m. PT.

Free agents

Al Horford

The Kings need a center, and despite his age, Horford might be a perfect fit. The 33-year-old five-time All-Star can shoot from the perimeter and facilitate the offense, and he’s one of the better defensive bigs in the league.

According to a league source, the Kings are one of the teams in on Horford. He might be a perfect fit next to Marvin Bagley on both ends of the court, and he’d be a perfect mentor for both Bagley and Harry Giles. 

Rumors have Horford landing a four-year, $100 million contract on the open market. Don’t be shocked if the Kings are the team throwing that money around.

Tobias Harris

Harris’ name has bounced up and down the halls of Golden 1 Center for a while. He’s a player on the brink of stardom and a massive improvement in talent. After posting 20 points and 7.9 rebounds per game last season between the Clippers and 76ers, he is an unrestricted free agent.

According to a league source, the Kings have some interest and are ready to chase the sought-after forward. His fit with the team would be interesting, and he’d cost the max. Can he play small forward? Is there room on the front line for both him and Harrison Barnes? Can Bagley move to center in Year 2?

This is the type of swing the Kings should take. Talent wins in the NBA, and at 26 years old, Harris fits the team’s player arc and so much more. 

Patrick Beverley 

Tough as nails, Beverley is a player who’s worked hard to carve out a niche in the NBA. At 30, going on 31, he has created value for himself and is ready to chase the cash.  

Contrary to published reports, an NBA source tells NBC Sports California that the Kings are not in on Beverley. But they have a void at backup point guard and could use a heavy dose of what Beverley brings to the table. He can play behind De’Aaron Fox and steal some minutes at the off-guard as well.

Rumors have Beverley looking for a three-year, $40 million contract. The Kings can afford that and still have plenty of room for other improvements, although Beverley likely will want a bigger role than what the team can give.

Nikola Vucevic

A first-time All-Star, Vucevic is trying to cash in. At 28 years old, he makes some sense for Sacramento, but according to league sources, the Kings are not interested, especially not for the max money Vucevic is seeking.

The 7-footer can do it all. He averaged 20.8 points, 12 rebounds and 3.8 assists while shooting 36.4 percent from long range last season, and he also posted 1.1 blocks and a steal per game for Orlando, but there are questions whether he could keep pace with the Kings’ offense. 

Expect Sacramento to sit this one out unless the bottom drops out on the Magic’s star big. Early rumors have him returning to Orlando on a new four-year, $90 million contract.

Harrison Barnes

The outside world was shocked when Barnes opted out of his $25.1 million player option for this season. The Kings weren’t surprised at all.

According to league sources, Sacramento is extremely confident in its ability to bring Barnes back on a long-term contract. Don’t be surprised if the 27-year-old forward returns on a four-year contract worth between $88 million and $90 million. 

With Barnes in tow, the Kings have a lot of work in front of them. If he bolts, the struggle to build the roster becomes that much more difficult.

Trade targets

Clint Capela

Houston is looking to move on Jimmy Butler, and that would require cleaning house. According to published reports, the Rockets are looking for teams with cap space to take on Capela, Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker. 

The Kings have the space, and at 25 years old, Capela checks almost every box for them. He averaged 16.6 points, 12.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game playing on the Rockets' frontline last season. He’s owed more than $70 million over the next four seasons, but he is the rim runner they hoped Willie Cauley-Stein would become.

According to a league source, Sacramento is interested in the 6-foot-10 center, but the Rockets are looking for a first-round pick, which might be too steep for the Kings. 

Divac doesn’t have time to wait around and see what Houston and Philadelphia come up with on Butler. If this deal happens, it has to be wrapped up well before the free agent clock strikes 3 p.m. PT on Sunday.

[RELATED: Kings extend Cauley-Stein qualifying offer]

Steven Adams 

The Thunder need some cap relief, and they didn’t find it on draft night. On the hook for over $50 million in luxury tax, Sam Presti has some work to do. Dealing away Adams could save the franchise approximately $75 million in tax and salary. 

Losing a player of Adams’ ilk would severely damage OKC’s chances of competing, and word on the street is that their asking price was too high for Sacramento’s liking. 

That could change, but for now, a deal for the NBA’s strongest man is off the table for the Kings, according to a league source.

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