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With salary cap pressing on them, might Kings let Isaiah Thomas walk?

Jun 20, 2014, 7:45 PM EDT

Sacramento Kings v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

If I don’t get to see an Isaiah Thomas Pizza Guy ads next season on League Pass I’m going to be bummed. They are some of my favorite of the local ads.

But I may not because Thomas may well not be in Sacramento.

The Kings have long been torn on Thomas, even if the fans have not. Thomas is 5’9” and a defensive liability, but he has beaten out every guard the Kings have drafted/brought in to replace him. Last season he averaged 20.3 points a game with a true shooting percentage of 57.4 percent, plus he dished out 6.3 assists a night. He had a PER of 20.5.

Those are the kinds of numbers that will get Thomas, a restricted free agent, paid. Not eight figures, but $6 million at least, maybe a couple million more a season. That’s an issue for the Kings, especially if Rudy Gay opts in for his $19.3 million or re-signs with the team for a healthy contract. Good friend of this site D.J. Foster of Bleacher Report laid it out beautifully.

As it stands right now, the Kings have over $47 million in guaranteed contracts. If Rudy Gay opts in to his massive player option worth $19.3 million, that will bring the Kings to over $66 million. Then there’s the eighth pick in the draft to account for ($2.2 million), as well as Thomas. Without Thomas, the Kings should be at around $68.5 million in salary commitments.

That’s a problem, as the salary cap is projected to check in at somewhere between $63 and $65 million, meaning the luxury tax will be around $77 to $79 million.

If Thomas were to sign an offer sheet starting at around $8 million annually, which doesn’t seem unrealistic since that’s what point guard Jeff Teague pulled down in a similar situation last offseason, then the Kings would be a tax-paying team. You have to think that Sacramento’s ownership wants to avoid that, particularly if the product on the floor is an unlikely playoff team.

If Thomas gets a healthy offer, the Kings may not match.

The structures of the new CBA were in part the owners trying to take back control from the players and not let something like the Miami “big three” happen again where the players got to dictate the terms. Owners and NBA front offices didn’t like that loss of control. But those structures and taxes are going to make a lot of teams hit a wall, small or big markets.

How would you feel about the Ray McCallum era in Sacramento? Fans in Sac Town would be crushed if the Isaiah Thomas era came to an end — fans always relate to the little guy, the one their size, making their way among the trees of the NBA. He’s a favorite.

This wouldn’t be a basketball decision, it would be a dollars and cents decision. Welcome to the NBA.

But I’ll still have my favorite Pizza Guy add take off to watch forever.

  1. money2long - Jun 20, 2014 at 7:46 PM

    Ohh hell nawwww

  2. kaeptaincrunch - Jun 20, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    I’m kinda torn as well, it would suck to see him go to another team. But with that being said, I think Ray McCallum has what it takes to take over the starting PG spot. He’s not a score first PG like Isiah, he has good court vision and did great filling in for him when Isiah was out with injuries.

    Only time will tell now.

    • muhangis - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:07 AM

      Yeah that’s just what the Kings need — is a bunch of good enough fill-ins. That is exactly what will take them out of their losing funk for the last 8 years “good enough fill-ins” to take over all their starting spots lol

      Gotta love the standard which Kings’ fans have been brought down too!

    • muhangis - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:10 AM

      Because Ray McCallum is absolutely nothing more than that right now. His rookie season was overall disappointing, factoring in his minutes.

  3. imthedudedude - Jun 20, 2014 at 8:12 PM

    Kings offered him and the 8th pick for Bledsoe.

    • muhangis - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:13 AM

      If I were the Suns I would do that in a heartbeat!

    • enigma2742 - Jun 22, 2014 at 11:42 PM


  4. JMClarkent - Jun 20, 2014 at 9:07 PM

    I think signing Rudy to a near-max contract is a mistake. He is a nice scorer, but he isn’t a franchise player. They would be better off investing that money elsewhere.

    • casualcommenter - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:05 PM

      *If he can maintain

  5. digg2000 - Jun 20, 2014 at 9:14 PM

    I’m a life-long Kings fan and actually don’t mind if he’s signs somewhere else. What difference does it make really? If he leaves, they’ll only win 25 games instead of 30. Take your turnovers elsewhere, Thomas.

    • muhangis - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:16 AM

      The pg position is always the leading turnover position in the NBA. Thomas is in the middle with all other point guards in the NBA in the turnover category! I guess he will take his 20.3 ppg and 6.3 apg somewhere else too…. Since all you seem to do is focus on the negatives

    • muhangis - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:17 AM

      Yeah that’s the attitude to win games *idiot

  6. skins26portis - Jun 20, 2014 at 10:49 PM

    Kings need to resign Thomas no matter what. If they don’t it will be a huge mistake .

  7. bparmalee - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:17 PM

    I love the way Thomas plays…. would love to see him in a Pacers uniform.

  8. jazz11001 - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:38 AM

    T-Wolves got some cake laying around for ya I.T. He is the prototypical pg for Flips offense…

  9. 00maltliquor - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:39 AM

    I think it will be a disaster if they don’t resign him. I HATE this stupid cap rule. Fricking raise that ish to 80 mill. Too many teams with potential to be something get robbed no matter what market they are in. It seems like no one is allowed to keep anyone nowadays. This was a crap CBA.

  10. eugenesaxe1 - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    This kid’s getting paid. He’d look damn good in Portland if we didn’t have Lillard.

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