The Sacramento Kings drafted BYU guard Jimmer Fredette last night, but they didn’t do it with the seventh pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. A three-way trade involving the Milwaukee Bucks and Charlotte Bobcats sent the seventh pick to Charlotte and Kings guard Beno Udrih to Milwaukee for the 10th pick and John Salmons, who was traded from the Kings to Chicago in 2009.
Salmons, a 6-foot-6-inch, 207 pound swingman, averaged 14 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and one steal per game with the Bucks during the 2010-11 regular season. He will turn 32-years-old in December and his contract is worth $39 million over the next four seasons. Only $1 million is guaranteed in the final season.
“(Salmons) had long stretches where he was probably our best player, better than the ones we’ve had recently,” Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie said, addressing the media after the draft. He averaged 18.3 points during the season he was traded to Chicago.
Along with Fredette, the Kings drafted UCLA forward Tyler Honeycutt with the 35th pick and Washington point guard Isaiah Thomas with the final pick in the draft.
Fredette was the unanimous player of the year in the NCAA his senior season. The 6-foot-2-inch guard, 196 pound guard led the nation in scoring, averaging 28.9 points.
Honeycutt is a long and lean small forward, measuring at 6-feet-8 inches and weighing 187 pounds. As a sophomore he averaged 12.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks.
Projected as a late first-round pick, Honeycutt attended the draft and was handed his Kings draft cap by NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver.
During a workout with the Kings, both Fredette and Honeycutt were put on the same three-on-three team.
Thomas,who measures at 5-feet-10-inches and weighs 186 pounds, averaged 16.8 points and six assists during his junior season. Although NBA great Isiah Thomas isn’t a relative, his father lost a bet involving a Lakers-Pistons game, leading to Thomas’ familiar name.
Kings coach Paul Westphal said that they welcomed the results of what was projected to be a weak draft.
“It was a good day for us today,” Kings coach Paul Westphal said after the draft. “That draft went very well and we’re pleased.”
If the Kings sign each player they drafted, they will have 12 players on their roster fulfilling the league minimum. Shooting guard Marcus Thornton was extended a qualifying offer by the Kings, making him a restricted free agent. Defensive veteran center Samuel Dalembert will be an unrestricted free agent.
Forward Darnell Jackson has not been extended an offer and point guard Pooh Jeter’s team option hasn’t been picked up yet.
Moves will have to be made to reduce the logjam at small forward. The Kings have six players capable of playing that position and can’t keep all of them on the roster.
“I think we’re going to make some moves, for sure,” Petrie said. “Just by virtue of free agency alone, whenever that starts.”
The upcoming NBA lockout will have a everything to do with the start of free agency, but the Kings feel like they made progress and making their team better last night.