Add Donte DiVincenzo to the long and storied list of players frustrated with the Sacramento Kings.
Coming off an ankle injury that kept him off the court during the Bucks’ title run last season and saw him miss much of this season and be supplanted in the rotation, DiVincenzo was traded to the Kings at the deadline. Heading into restricted free agency this offseason, for DiVincenzo a move to Sacramento meant an opportunity for more minutes and to show what he was capable of, driving up his free agent interest.
Instead, he has come off the bench and has been frustrated about his minutes and role, with DiVincenzo’s camp thinking this is an intentional move by the Kings to lower his value as a free agent, reports long-time Kings’ insider James Ham, now of ESPN 1320 and The Kings Beat on Substack.
BREAKING: Donte Divincenzo and his camp are very unhappy with how the Kings have handled his minutes and lack of starts. Relationship may be broken between the Kings and Divincenzo.
— SabonisMuse (@SabonisMuse) April 9, 2022
“DiVincenzo and his group, his team, are not at all happy with the Kings. They believe that the Kings very specifically did not start him down the stretch of the season to limit his value in free agency….
“His team believes he’ll be able to get a [mid-level exception] from somebody, and the Kings are probably hoping that he won’t and they’ll be able to go a little bit lower. But again, what are we creating here? We’re creating a situation where you have an unhappy player who might have to take an unhappy contract and who, realistically, might not be on board.”
DiVincenzo started 66 games for a Bucks team that went on to win an NBA title last season. If he started seven games for the Kings this season he would have met starter criteria and his qualifying offer for next season would have been higher than what the Kings have to offer him now. The Kings have consistently stated Justin Holiday in front of DiVincenzo.
Since coming to the Kings, DiVincenzo has put up raw numbers — 10 points a game in 26.5 minutes a night — similar to what he did for the Bucks, although his shooting efficiency is still a little off those marks (35.7% inside the arc). DiVincenzo has seen his minutes jump up to 29 a game over the last 10.
DiVincenzo may be looking for a contract that gets him out of Sacramento this offseason, but he is a restricted free agent and the Kings had eyed him for a while before trading for him — they will likely match any reasonable offer. Other teams know that, which also will tamp down DiVincenzo’s market this summer.
But as Ham notes, what the Kings have ultimately done is taken a player they traded for and wanted to keep and made him unhappy and looking to get out. Every team deals with players unhappy about playing time and their role, but how they handle it says a lot about the franchise.