COMMENTARY | The recent actions of the Sacramento Kings front office are leaving a lot of folks scratching their heads. On Tuesday, July 2, it was reported that they extended Denver Nuggets free agent swingman Andre Iguodala a 4-year, $56 million offer. Less than a day later, news broke that the Kings had rescinded the contract offer. Iguodala was incredulous, venting his frustration via Twitter.
So what happened?
It's impossible to know everything that occurred behind the scenes, but it seems clear that the Kings weren't happy with Iguodala mulling over their offer at the same time that he was flirting with other teams around the league, including the Nuggets and the Detroit Pistons. Now they've apparently burned a bridge with Iguodala, and though anything can happen, it's hard to see him donning the purple and black next year. After all, the Kings were a longshot to begin with.
Perhaps new GM Pete D'Alessandro, formerly the assistant GM in Denver, overestimated the impact of his relationship with Iguodala.
What's more likely is that the Kings succumbed to the fear that plagues every small market club with cap room during free agency. Marquee players only negotiate with them to inflate their market price before turning their attention to the real suitors. And while that fear is justifiable, the Kings really bungled their negotiations with Iguodala. Here's what should have happened to avoid the PR calamity.
The Kings should have let Iguodala know that while there was no fixed expiration on their contract offer, if Iguodala wasn't prepared to accept it on the spot they would leave it out there but simultaneously court other players aggressively. And if one of those other players happened to beat Iguodala to the punch, so to speak, the Kings wouldn't be in a position to sign him. Using that approach, they could have impressed upon him that there was a sense of urgency, but that neither side was prohibited from exploring other options.
Instead, they took a rather hurried take-it-or-leave-it approach that was bereft of transparency and benefited no one. Iguodala feels slighted and the Kings look like a club battling with their own inferiority complex.
Sac fans should take solace in the fact that Ranadive & Co appear dead set on making a major free agent acquisition this summer. If they didn't want to explore Plan B's, there never would have been such a rush to pull away from Iguodala.
On the other hand, there's a case to be made that the most prudent course of action would be to wait until 2014 to make major moves. If they did manage to sign a player of Iguodala's caliber, and if McLemore ends up being the steal of the draft, it's not hard to imagine Sacramento inching toward .500 next season. But that means a draft pick in the mid teens, and some are saying the 2014 NBA draft could be the best in a decade. Though it might not placate fans fixed on the short term, they might be better off growing their younger talent and earning one more high lottery pick for next year's bumper draft crop.Doug Brockwell is a lifelong follower of NBA basketball who grew up cheering for the Denver Nuggets. After relocating to Northern California in 2008, he began to follow the Sacramento Kings, who remind him of the endearingly hapless Nuggets squads of the '90s that he endured as a kid.
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