||06-26-2009 06:02 PM
Kings looking to add size this off-season
The 2009 NBA draft is over. Now it's on to the next phase of the offseason.
Free agency begins Wednesday, and teams will begin trying to eliminate voids in their rosters that can't be filled by rookies who are not ready to contribute.
Having drafted guard Tyreke Evans and Omri Casspi in the first round and forward Jon Brockman in the second round helps the Kings at guard, on the wing and up front.
Acquiring guard Sergio Rodríguez from Portland in a trade provided depth at point guard.
Getting bigger will be the priority in free agency.
"I think we need to try to add some additional size up front," Kings general manager Geoff Petrie said.
An incumbent player who could fit into that equation is restricted free agent Ike Diogu. The Kings acquired Diogu from Portland in February, but he languished on the bench for most of his tenure with the team.
Diogu's most extensive playing time came in the Kings' final two games, when he averaged 30 points and 12 rebounds. Whether that was enough to convince the Kings to offer him a one-year qualifying tender worth $3.9 million to come off the bench remains to be seen.
Petrie said after the season that any action with Diogu would depend on what happened in the draft. Petrie remained coy on what the team's plans are regarding the forward, who is entering his fifth season.
"We're not allowed to talk about free agents until July 1," Petrie said. "I guess we'll talk about that then."
Guard Rashad McCants is the Kings' other restricted free agent. Center Calvin Booth, forward Cedric Simmons and guard Bobby Jackson are unrestricted free agents.
Kenny Thomas also could be a bargaining chip. The veteran forward spent most of his time on the bench last season, but he has value because of an expiring contract that pays him $8.7 million for the 2009-10 season.
With teams looking to create salary-cap space to make a run at what should be a star-filled class of free agents next summer, Thomas' deal could be a major factor this offseason. He could be dealt for the help the Kings seek up front. Or they could hold on to Thomas and receive some cap relief in 2010.
But until Wednesday, Petrie won't say anything publicly about who might be coming to Sacramento.
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