Jimmer Fredette’s tenure in Sacramento officially ended Thursday when the Kings announced they finalized a contract buyout with the third-year guard.
In a prepared statement, Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro said buying out the remainder of Fredette’s contract “was a very tough decision, but we’re confident that the agreement reached today represents the most productive path forward, both for Jimmer and the Kings.”
“Echoing a sentiment that everyone who knows him appreciates about Jimmer, he’s a tremendous person and a consummate professional,” D’Alessandro said. “We thank him for the meaningful contributions he made to the team and in the Sacramento community.”
Fredette hadn’t been around the Kings in recent days while details of the buyout were finalized. Just days after turning 25, he’s free to sign with any team and will be eligible for the playoffs if signed by 9 p.m. Saturday.
Fredette posted a message on his Twitter page Thursday: “I want to thank the Kings fans, coaches, my teammates, and @Vivek (owner Vivek Randive) for my opportunity in Sacramento. I have made some life long friends here and appreciate everyone involved. Excited to start the new phase of my career! Thanks to all again.”
The buyout brings a quiet conclusion to Fredette’s two-plus seasons in Sacramento, which began with much hype and fanfare after the consensus College Player of the Year from BYU was acquired by the Kings in a draft-day deal in 2011 after he was picked 10th by the Milwaukee Bucks.
Fredette averaged 18.6 minutes and 7.6 points as a rookie, but those numbers declined in each of the next two seasons as he searched for consistent playing time and a defined role with the Kings. In 41 games this season, Fredette averaged 5.9 points in 11.3 minutes.
For his career, Fredette has averaged 7.0 points and 1.5 assists in 15 minutes while shooting 41.6 percent from the floor and 40.2 percent from three-point range. His 49.3 percent shooting on three-point attempts this season is the highest among players with at least 70 attempts.
Perhaps no player generated as much discussion and passion among Kings fans the past few years as the 6-foot-2 guard from Glens Falls, N.Y. Clamoring for Fredette was common among crowds during home games at Sleep Train Arena, and fans lit up social media and local sports talk radio to argue for more minutes for Fredette, even amid questions about his defense, ball-handling and the most suitable role for him in the NBA game.
When coach Michael Malone recently said the Kings intend to play rookie guards Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum more down the stretch this season, it became clear Fredette’s minutes would be reduced.
Thursday’s move allows Fredette to pursue a fresh start with another team. ESPN, citing unnamed sources, reported Thursday the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers have expressed interest in Fredette.
After news of an impending buyout surfaced this week, multiple Kings players wished Fredette well.
“He’s a great dude, great basketball player,” said guard Isaiah Thomas, who like Fredette was drafted in 2011. “And the thing about this business is, it can happen to anybody.”
Call The Bee’s Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015.