Marcus Thornton will remain a Sacramento King. (Video courtesy of Kings.com)
“We’re really excited that we were able to re-sign Marcus Thornton and have him come back and build off of the great contribution that he made to the team last season,” said Petrie. “He’s a young and exciting player who has a lot of competitive drive. He’ll team with Tyreke (Evans) and Jimmer (Fredette) and be part of a terrific, young backcourt. We’re very upbeat about the future potential for improvement and the opportunity to watch him play for the Kings again.”
Kings Head Coach Paul Westphal via press release:
“Marcus impressed us greatly last year and we just couldn’t wait to re-sign him,” explained Kings’ head coach Paul Westphal. “We made that a high priority and never felt it was in doubt. We’re really pleased to have one of the fine, young shooting guards in the league to be on our team for several years to come. It’s a great fit for him and us and was a high priority on our behalf.”
ESPN’s Chris Broussard initially broke the news of the transaction via Twitter. However, the specifics of the contract have changed according to Sports Illustrated’s Sam Amick.
Amick originally reported the deal hit a snag after Broussard’s tweet. However, Amick along with David Aldridge of Turner Sports later followed up, the snag was only a formality and didn’t keep Thornton from again donning the purple and black.
Reaction from across the web after the jump.
Even at this price, Thornton is a young, attractive asset, the kind of player a small-market club is wise to lock up early. His presence gives the Kings all sorts of back-court versatility, allowing Fredette to roam off the ball if he prefers and Tyreke Evans to experiment at small forward. Having guys who can play with the second unit and create their own shot is always good.
The defensive issues are real, but Thornton is young, and he’ll improve with time. The Kings will have decisions to make going forward as other young players–Evans, J.J. Hickson, Jason Thompson, etc.–come off rookie deals, and having Thornton locked up brings some stability to things. Also: Spending $8 million on a 24-year-old means there is $8 million less around to spend on over-the-hill veterans just to meet the minimum salary floor. All in all, a good, strong move by the Kings.
My gut reaction is $8 million a year is steep. They needed to lock him up, he shows promise and is just entering his third season, and he averaged 12.8 points per game last season… but $8 million a year? Maybe in a few years this is a steal. Maybe.
For a player that’s flashed as much talent as Thornton has during his short time in the league, this deal seems perfectly reasonable. It’s far more likely Thornton will improve than regress at this stage in his career, and the Kings can provide Thornton with the minutes he needs to develop (38.1 MPG last season). In a league in which Drew Gooden garners a 5-year, $32 million deal, shoring up your backcourt for years to come is plausibly worth slightly more than $40 million over five years.
Check back to Cowbell Kingdom for more transaction updates and reaction throughout the day. (Updated at Saturday, December 10, 8:50 am)