The Sacramento Kings already have one obviously talented yet objectively limited seven-foot center from Lithuania on the roster. Would pairing franchise stalwart Domantas Sabonis with fellow countryman Jonas Valanciunas this summer really be an optimal move for Sacramento? Let's just say the oddsmakers in Vegas don't share your skepticism.

As Valanciunas' foray into free agency awaits, the Kings are favorites to be his team at the start of the 2024-25, per Bovada. Sacramento currently owns +400 odds to employ the veteran center for next season's opener, better than any other team's.

The Los Angeles Clippers—another particularly vexing destination for Valancunas given the seemingly cemented presence of starting center Ivica Zubac—come in next at +500 odds, while the Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz sport +550 0dds. The Washington Wizards and Oklahoma City Thunder are at +650 odds to be Valanciunas' next team, while the Brooklyn Nets are the only other potential suitor with +900 odds or better to land him.

Valanciunas, 32, has spent the last three seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans after arriving via trade from the Memphis Grizzlies before 2021-22. While he put up typically solid numbers with the Pels, Valanciunas' utter lack of defensive versatility and inability to stretch the floor on offense made him an increasingly tough fit as New Orleans leaned further into prioritizing a two-way style built around Zion Williamson and its bevy of long, athletic wings.

Coach Willie Green regularly opted for Larry Nance at center in crunch-time this season, occasionally even benching Valanciunas coming out of halftime when his team was struggling. Reports emerged earlier this week that the Pelicans plan to let Valanciunas walk in free agency come July, no surprise given his diminished role in 2023-24 and the team's broad-scale personnel crossroads following another disappointing season.

Jonas Valanciunas makes no sense for the Kings

Sacramento Kings forward Domantas Sabonis (10) and New Orleans Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas (17) fight for position during the second half at Smoothie King Center
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

It's safe to say Bovada's apparent confidence in Valanciunas being a realistic option for Sacramento is based on more than his personal relationship with Sabonis, right? Oddsmakers have often been a step ahead of the rumor mill when it comes to free agency destinations and blockbuster trades. There must be something more to the Kings being odds-on favorites to bring in Valanciunas than the ties to Lithuania he shares with Sabonis, especially given just how nonsensical adding him seems for Sacramento from a basketball perspective.

Sabonis is an absolute iron man, one of the most consistently available impact players in the NBA. Valanciunas surely wants a bigger role than being his backup, and doesn't have the innate playmaking chops nor relative mobility on defense that would make him a plug-and-play replacement for Sabonis in case of injury. They certainly can't play together against quality competition in the regular season let alone playoffs, a problematic dynamic that's even affected the Lithuanian national team during international competition in recent years.

One more major obstacle to Valanciunas playing for the Kings? Money. Sacramento will operate as an over-the-cap team this summer, likely absent the financial flexibility to re-sign key scorer and playmaker Malik Monk unless he takes a hometown discount. The Kings will be in desperate need of more ball-handling juice on the perimeter behind De'Aaron Fox if his longtime friend and former Kentucky teammate leaves for a bigger payday in free agency.

Would it really be prudent for Sacramento to use the mid-level exception—its primary means of team-building in free agency—on a backup for Sabonis should Monk sign elsewhere? Is that $12.4 million starting salary even enough to lure Valanciunas to the Kings in the first place given other teams could offer similar or more money while giving him a bigger role?

Maybe Vegas really does know something we don't. From a basketball and financial perspective, though, the marriage of Sacramento and Valanciunas just doesn't make sense for player or team.