Kings decline to pick up option on Fredette's contract

11/01/2013 12:00 AM

10/08/2014 10:59 AM

Those who have wanted the Kings to "Free Jimmer" might get their wish.

The Kings on Thursday declined to pick up the fourth-year option on guard Jimmer Fredette's contract for the 2014-15 season, which would have paid the 2011 first-round draft pick a little more than $3 million. The deadline to do so was Thursday at 9 p.m.

Therefore, Fredette will be an unrestricted free agent after the season. The Kings could re-sign him at a reduced salary, but the decision likely means this will be Fredette's final season with the team.

It also means Fredette probably would bring more value in a trade because his expiring deal would create salary cap space for next summer's free-agent class. The trade deadline is Feb. 20.

Fredette didn't play in Wednesday's 90-88 season-opening victory over Denver, and his playing time probably will be limited this season because the Kings have an abundance of guards.

During the offseason, the team drafted Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum and acquired Greivis Vasquez from New Orleans. The Kings' front office likes Isaiah Thomas, and Marcus Thornton has two years left on his contract.

Fredette, who will earn $2.6 million this season, was drafted 10th by Milwaukee in 2011 after a standout career at BYU. The Kings acquired him in a three-team trade on draft day.

A huge crowd greeted Fredette at Sacramento International Airport when he arrived following the draft, and he remains extremely popular, even though his playing time with the Kings has been inconsistent.

There have been questions about Fredette's defense and whether he has the ballhandling skills to be a point or shooting guard in the NBA.

As a rookie, Fredette averaged 18.6 minutes and 7.6 points in 61 games, including seven starts.

But in his second year, Fredette's playing time was unpredictable. He averaged 14.0 minutes and 7.2 points in 69 games, with no starts.

Overall, Fredette has averaged 7.4 points on 40.2 percent shooting.

Thursday also was the deadline to reach agreement on contract extensions for 2010 first-round draft picks.

The Kings had two players eligible for deals, Vasquez and forward Patrick Patterson. Neither landed an extension.

Sacramento can make both players restricted free agents after his season, giving the Kings the right to match an offer from another team and retain them.

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