The Sacramento Kings today re-signed restricted free agent guard Marcus Thornton to a multi-year contract, according to Kings’ President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We’re really excited that we were able to re-sign Marcus Thornton and have him come back and build off of the great contribution that he made to the team last season,” said Petrie. “He’s a young and exciting player who has a lot of competitive drive. He’ll team with Tyreke (Evans) and Jimmer (Fredette) and be part of a terrific, young backcourt. We’re very upbeat about the future potential for improvement and the opportunity to watch him play for the Kings again.”
Thornton, who was acquired by the Kings from New Orleans at the NBA trade deadline last season in exchange for Carl Landry, is entering his third NBA season. He averaged 21.3 points (.450 FGs, .361 3FGs, .805 FTs), 4.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.67 steals per game in 27 contests last year for Sacramento, of which he started 23. Thornton averaged 21.3 points (.441 FGs, .354 3FGs, .810 FTs), 5.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.65 steals per game in 23 outings as a starter for the Kings. He has recorded career averages of 13.6 points (.443 FGs, .371 3FGs, .801 FTs), 3.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game over 146 contests with New Orleans and Sacramento, of which he started 40. Thornton has posted career highs of 42 points versus Golden State (3/14/11), 11 rebounds (twice), nine assists at Minnesota (3/20/11) and six steals versus Oklahoma City (4/11/11). He tallied 29 points (9-16 FGs, 1-4 3FGs, 10-12 FTs) in his first game at ARCO Arena as a King, scoring the most points off the bench in a home debut for the Kings in the Sacramento era.
“I’m very excited to be back with Sacramento,” said Thornton. “I’m really ready to get this season going and pick up where we left off. This is a good fit for me with my teammates and coaching staff. I enjoy the city of Sacramento and the fans are great.”
Selected by New Orleans with the 43rd overall pick in the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft, Thornton was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team after averaging 14.5 points (.451 FGs, .374 3FGs, .814 FTs), 2.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game in 73 outings, of which he started 17. Among rookies, he ranked fourth in scoring and sixth in free throw percentage. Thornton set a rookie record with 117 three-pointers made in a season. He tied the Hornets’ franchise record for the most points scored by a rookie when he scored 37 points at Cleveland (2/23/10), while also setting a franchise record for the most points scored in a quarter with 23 (2nd quarter).
“Marcus impressed us greatly last year and we just couldn’t wait to re-sign him,” explained Kings’ head coach Paul Westphal. “We made that a high priority and never felt it was in doubt. We’re really pleased to have one of the fine, young shooting guards in the league to be on our team for several years to come. It’s a great fit for him and us and was a high priority on our behalf.”
Thornton was named SEC Player of the Year following his senior season at Louisiana State University, capping an impressive two-year career for the Tigers. He spent his freshman and sophomore seasons at Kilgore Community College.