HECTOR AMEZCUA / Bee file, 2012

John Salmons, the Kings' incumbent small forward, has struggled offensively at times during his second stint with the team.

Kings still seeking a small forward

Published: Tuesday, Jul. 9, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Sep. 16, 2014 - 1:53 pm

The Kings had a plan at the start of free agency July 1 in their quest for a new small forward: Go after Andre Iguodala, the best available player at the position in this year's market.

But by the following night, the Kings had moved on.

Iguodala hesitated about accepting the Kings' offer of $52 million for four years, and the Kings, unwilling to wait for him to commit, pulled the offer and focused on other priorities. Last week, Iguodala agreed to join the Warriors.

Now, a week after free agency began, the Kings' small forward position looks a lot like it did last season.

Incumbent starter John Salmons is under contract, but that's about it at a position where the Kings have sought stability for years. Ideally, they want a player who can pass, shoot from three-point range and play solid defense.

Salmons was acquired two seasons ago to fill that role, but he has struggled offensively at times in his second stint with the Kings.

And as free agents commit to teams, the Kings' options are limited. The free agents left at the position don't seem to appeal to them.

The Kings haven't shown interest in Andrei Kirilenko, who played for Minnesota last season, or Corey Brewer, who was with general manager Pete D'Alessandro in Denver. Stephen Jackson, Sam Young and Wesley Johnson don't fit the role the Kings envision for the position, either.

On Monday, the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly decided to use the amnesty clause on veteran Metta World Peace, who played for the Kings from 2006 to 2008. The Lakers would pay the $7.7 million owed to World Peace for the final season of his contract without it counting against their salary cap, and he would become a free agent. But World Peace, 33, has played 14 seasons and has a troubled past, factors that might deter the Kings.

The other option for Sacramento would be to trade for a small forward. The Kings, an estimated $6 million under the salary cap, want to shed salary, which could help in putting together a deal.

Most teams don't want to take on additional salary beyond the coming season because the free-agency class in 2014 is expected to be deep.

Since Salmons has a team option for the 2014-15 season, some teams might be eager to take on his contract because it can come off the books after this season. But without a suitable replacement, dealing Salmons or using the amnesty clause to waive him seems unlikely.

The Kings reportedly still are interested in shooting guard Monta Ellis, who played for coach Michael Malone at Golden State, but adding Ellis or another wing player likely would require a trade.

With the addition of Carl Landry, at least one power forward could be dealt.

Among the group, only Patrick Patterson has a contract not guaranteed beyond this season. Chuck Hayes is signed through 2014-15 and owed nearly $11 million. Jason Thompson is signed through 2016-17.

Guard Jimmer Fredette is another player the Kings might consider trading because his $2.6 million salary is small enough that teams might be willing to take a chance on him. Plus, if Sacramento doesn't pick up Fredette's option for next season, it will create cap space for next summer.

The Kings could try to make a deal with a team that has an excess of wings – perhaps Washington and Trevor Ariza – or they could wait to see what other veterans become available through amnesty.

D'Alessandro believes good players can be found at bargain rates later in free agency.

Until then, the Kings still have Salmons.

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

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