Chuck Hayes

The Sacramento Kings today signed free agent center/forward Chuck Hayes to a multi-year contract, according to Kings’ President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Chuck Hayes brings a tremendous amount of professionalism and competitive spirit to the team,” said Petrie. “He’s been a winner everywhere he’s been. I really look forward to watching him add to our team defensively, his ability to pass the ball, move the ball and be a real stabilizing force out on the court. We feel lucky to have him. We look forward to watching him play with all of his new teammates.”

Hayes, entering his seventh NBA season (all with Houston), averaged 7.9 points (.527 FGs, .662 FTs), 8.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game in 74 contests year for Rockets, of which he started 63. Known for his toughness and defensive prowess, he has amassed career averages of 4.4 points (.518 FGs, .603 FTs), 5.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game through 424 outings. Hayes has recorded career highs of 21 points versus Phoenix (3/14/2011), 18 rebounds versus Utah (4/7/2010), 11 assists versus Golden State (3/23/2011), five steals (twice) and three blocked shots at Chicago (12/22/07).

“I’m excited,” explained Hayes. “It’s going to feel weird at first because this is all new to me, but there was change that was needed and change that I’m accepting and I’m embracing it. I’m a fan of this team. I’ve watched a lot of their games and know a little bit about all of the players. I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully, we can jump out of the gate and create some chemistry really quick. Going into my seventh year, I bring experience and veteran leadership to this roster that is young at the core.”

Hayes, who prepped at nearby Modesto Christian, enjoyed a stellar four-year career at Kentucky (2001-2005) where he posted numbers that ranked him 35th in scoring (1,211 points), seventh in rebounding (910), ninth in blocks (128), eighth in steals (170) and 16th in assists (292) on the school’s all-time list. He was named “Mr. Basketball” in California and a Parade All-American as a senior in high school while leading Modesto Christian to the state championship game (played at ARCO Arena).

“Chuck is a player who knows how to help his team win basketball games,” said Kings’ head coach Paul Westphal. “It was paramount for us to add a player like Chuck who is a young veteran who can play defense and has experience winning. He’s a great ball-mover. In a lot of ways, he’s a point guard from the center position. I think his addition will help all of our young, scoring players get more shots. He knows how to do that and he knows how to defend and we just couldn’t be happier.”