The Sacramento Kings have an Isaiah Thomas problem. They’d like to keep the diminutive but impressive (20.3 points a game) young point guard around, but he is a restricted free agent likely to draw offers this summer. The problem is with Rudy Gay opting in and accounting for the No. 8 pick the Kings are at $68.5 million in salary, that’s over the cap and less than $9 million from the luxury tax line (estimated to be around $77 million). The Kings could lose him.
How do they replace what he brings at point guard?
Maybe Shaun Livingston. The Kings are interested in the guy who had a solid season for the Nets, reports Sam Amick at the USA Today.
The Kings are on the lookout for a starting point guard, and one name to keep an eye on is the Brooklyn Nets’ Shaun Livingston. The 28-year-old free-agent-to-be whose career looked all but over in 2007 when he had a devastating leg injury while with the Los Angeles Clippers had his best season yet in 2014-15, helping the Nets turn their season around when he started in place of the injured Deron Williams and remaining a vital part of their program even after he returned.
Livingston also might come cheaper than Thomas.
All of this really comes down to how big an offer Thomas gets on the free agent market. If, because of his defensive liabilities, other teams offer him closer to a league average salary, the Kings likely match. However, if it gets up to $8 million or more the Kings may be forced to consider other options (and paying the luxury tax is not one of them, not for a roster that may well not make the playoffs).
Just something to watch when free agency opens up July 1.