The Sacramento Kings currently own the longest playoff drought in the NBA. The Kings last made the postseason in 2006 and it looks like that will extend to 15 years by next season. Sacramento has repeatedly failed to land marquee free agents, leading to questionable deals handed out by management.
Over these past few years, especially, the Kings have given some pretty bad and overvalued contracts to aging veterans despite in the midst of a youth movement. Sure, adding veterans to help the youngsters out is a good move, but not at the price the Kings gave them.
These make up the worst free agent signings in Sacramento Kings history.
5. Arron Afflalo
After averaging 12.8 points per game with the New York Knicks in 2015-16, the Sacramento Kings signed a 31-year old Arron Afflalo to a two-year, $25-million deal. Afflalo only wound up playing a lone season in Sactown. His production dipped to 8.4 points in his debut season with the Kings.
The Kings released Afflalo after just one year.
4. Trevor Ariza
Trevor Ariza is one of the aging veterans that the Kings signed to overvalued deals. The 34-year old wing agreed to a 2-year, $25-million contract with Sacramento this past summer. This comes after they gave re-issued Harrison Barnes to 4-year, $83-million deal. (We’re going to talk about him more later on.)
This deal did not make sense for the Kings, who had two budding young wings in Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield, and Barnes as their de facto starter. As expected, Ariza did not see a sizable role with Sacramento. The 16-year veteran came off the bench in all his 34 appearance with the Kings and averaged just 6.0 points and 4.6 rebounds in 24 minutes per game.
Sacramento eventually packaged Ariza in a mid-season deal with the Portland Trail Blazers.
3. Zach Randolph, George Hill, Vince Carter
The Sacramento Kings brought in a triumvirate of veterans on pretty hefty deals in the summer of 2017 – Vince Carter, George Hill, and Zach Randolph.
With a team full of young players, the Kings certainly wanted to surround their young guys with veterans whom they can learn from. However, the amount of money they gave these aging vets is pretty eye-popping. For starters, Sacramento handed out a three-year, $57-million deal to 31-year old point guard George Hill. This comes after they selected their supposed point guard of the future in D’Aaron Fox in the 2017 draft.
Along with Hill, they also signed 36-year old Zach Randolph to a 2-year, $24-million contract. Finally, the Kings signed Vince Carter to a one-year, $8-million deal.
Hill only ended up playing just 43 games, while Randolph spent just one season playing for the team. The following year, the Kings were paying the 37-year old nearly $12-million to stay at home as the Kings fully embraced their youth movement. Carter, like Randolph, played just one season before moving on to the Atlanta Hawks in 2018-19.
2. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes gambled on declining the final year of his previous deal worth $25.1 million. That proved to be the right move as Barnes was able to secure another big bag with the Kings worth $83 million for four years. Exactly what Sacramento was thinking here, nobody really knows.
To be fair, the former No. 7 overall pick is a decent player that can do everything fairly well. However, for a player that has never made the All-Star team or breached the 20-point average through an entire season, the amount of money he has made is very tantalizing.
Barnes didn’t even play all that well for the Kings last season after they traded for him at the deadline. His production dipped to 14.3 points (from 17.7 points in Dallas). Yet, still, Sacramento still re-upped his deal to four-years with an annual salary of over $20-million.
At 28, it doesn’t seem like Barnes will ever blossom into a star. He already is what he is right now. And his contract won’t justify what he brings to the table.
1. Dewayne Dedmon
When the Kings signed Dewayne Dedmon, there was plenty of optimism that he would fit in perfectly for their team. Coming off a breakout campaign with the Atlanta Hawks, Dedmon established himself as a big man that fits the modern NBA. The 29-year old became a floor-spacing and rim-protecting five for the Hawks in 2018-19. He turned in career averages of 10.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks while shooting 38.2 percent from long range on decent volume for a big man.
The Kings certainly had high hopes for Dedmon when they inked him to a 3-year, $40-million contract this past summer. However, things turned sour immediately for the seven-year veteran and regrets started to settle in for the Kings quickly. Dedmon struggled mightily from three and eventually lost his starting spot just four games into the 2019-20 season to Richaun Holmes.
Dedmon fell out of the rotation and publicly expressed his disappointment with his dwindling role with the team. His public demand for a trade out of Sactown caused some controversy and cost him $50,000 in fines from the league office.
Nonetheless, the Kings granted Dedmon’s trade request after playing just 34 games with the team. They dealt him back to the Atlanta Hawks, but needed to attach two second round picks just to off-load his hefty contract.