The Sacramento Kings made the difficult decision to not pick up the fourth-year option on Jimmer Fredette‘s rookie contract Thursday afternoon. While there are plenty of unhappy Jimmer fans, new general manager Pete D’Alessandro made the choice he felt was best for the Kings going forward.
Before Sacramento took on the Clippers Friday night, Cowbell Kingdom had a chance to catch up with D’Alessandro and chat about what amounted to a judgment call.
CK: We’ve had plenty of conversations over the last two weeks about Jimmer, but yesterday you had to make the agonizing decision to not pick up the final year on his rookie deal.
PD: It was agonizing. I spent the last month, month and a half (deliberating). And you and I spoke about this, I spent a lot of nights where I actually stayed up looking at this thing. It’s not easy. Look, the thing about it is, we have a lot of evaluation to do – we do. We have guys that are coming up on extensions and we had the option and everything was kind of coming on this Oct. 31st date, which look, it’s part of the system. But it’s a date that is kind of awkwardly thrust in there and for us, it was even more awkwardly because we just started at the beginning of July. So it was a difficult process for us as a front office and as a management group. At the end of the day, our season begins, we have the ability to sign all of our guys and we continue evaluating.
CK: What made you go the way that you went with this decision? What was the final determining factor?
PD: I think trying to keep flexibility… That’s a product of the business of the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) and how the new league kind of works. But also, I think a lot of it is the newness to us and understanding what it is that we have out here. And I think we feel really good about a lot of the things that you see out here. But, you know we talk about sample sizes a lot and this was a very small sample size for us. For us to really take a season and really dig into this and look at it and understand how each individual player fits into what we’re doing – what our coach is doing and the system he is putting in place as well – that’s something we need to do.
CK: Jimmer is a player with popularity that transcends basketball. He’s larger than life off the court because of his fanbase. How do you balance that – the player versus the public relations gem that he is?
PD: Even more, he’s just a great person. I think we’re in the business of making decisions, right? And some are going to be right and some are going to be wrong. And hopefully you’ll get a lot more right than wrong. There was a deadline and we had to make a decision. So understanding that there are a lot of reasons for any option or extension, there are a lot of reasons of why you would or wouldn’t do it. At the end of the day, I had to decide what’s next for the Sacramento Kings and what I felt was next for us was time. Really, time to evaluate it and think we valued the ability to continue that process more at this point.
Clearly, this was an tough call for D’Alessandro. With just over a month to assess soon-to-be free agents like Jimmer, DeMarcus Cousins, Greivis Vasquez and Patrick Patterson, the first-time general manger only pulled the trigger on Cousins. Unfortunately for Jimmer, he just happened to be the one player with an option year.
D’Alessandro and his team will use this season to analyze the Kings’ roster and make decisions that will affect Sacramento’s roster both in the short term and down the road. Those decisions do not exclude Jimmer, but nothing is guaranteed going forward for the former 10th overall selection.