An interesting dynamic comes into play when talking about Kings third-year guard Jimmer Fredette. The former BYU star and Naismith Award winner came to Sacramento with a huge fanbase, a fanbase that transcends sports on many levels and certainly goes beyond what NBA jersey he is currently wearing. There are Jimmer fans. There are Kings fans. And there are Kings fans that are Jimmer fans.
We saw this dynamic play out in last weeks poll when Jimmer drew an incredible 53-percent of the “Who is your favorite Sacramento Kings?” vote. There is a great debate on why Jimmer has the following he does. Clearly religion plays a role into his popularity and there may even be other social and cultural issues at play as well. But that is not where we are headed with today’s post.
Pete D’Alessandro is on the cusp of major roster decisions regarding the team’s young talent. DeMarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas, Greivis Vasquez and Patrick Patterson are all entering the final year of their rookie deals and enter next summer as restricted free agents. But the team has a decision to make on Jimmer in late October.
According to Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQ, “(teams) have until the October 31 preceding the player’s second regular season to exercise their option for the player’s third season. Likewise, they have until the October 31 preceding the player’s third regular season to exercise their option for the player’s fourth season.”
This means that between now and Oct. 31, D’Alessandro must either exercise the $3.1-million fourth year option on Jimmer’s rookie scale contract or allow him to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2013-14 season.
I’m sure that there are plenty of folks out there that would love to see Jimmer get a shot somewhere else. He has had an up and down run with Sacramento. A strike-shortened rookie season and a lack of minutes in year No. 2 have left many still wondering who and what he is at the NBA level. He is also about to play for his third NBA head coach in less than three years and is buried on the shooting guard depth chart that includes Marcus Thornton and first-round pick Ben McLemore.
The easy answer would appear that the Kings will pass on the fourth-year option. But the easy answer is not always the correct answer.
Thornton has two years and $16.6 million remaining on his four-year, $31 million deal. If McLemore is slated as the long-term starter, that is a lot of money to spend on a bench perimeter scorer. The Kings could look to move Thornton as an expiring contract next summer and give his minutes to Jimmer in the 2014-15 season.
It is also not outside the realm of possibility that Jimmer outplays Thornton during training camp and makes the decision easy on D’Alessandro. With Vasquez running the point, coach Michael Malone could use a shooter of Jimmer’s caliber to open up the offense for post players like Cousins, Jason Thompson and Carl Landry.
This poll is not a popularity contest. It isn’t whether you want the Kings to pick up the fourth-year option on Jimmer or not. It is a prediction poll. Will Pete D’Alessandro exercise the option on Jimmer or not?