The Kings are beginning free agency by targeting two of the NBA’s highly touted perimeter defenders.
The team is scheduled to meet with free agent small forwards Andre Iguodala on Friday night and P.J. Tucker on Saturday, league sources told The Sacramento Bee.
Free agency officially opens at 9:01 p.m. Friday night.
Iguodala, 33, played a key part on the Golden State Warriors’ two recent championship teams. A versatile player on both ends of the floor, Iguodala scored 25 points in the title-clinching Game 6 in 2015 and won the NBA Finals MVP. He had 20 points in the decisive Game 5 against the Cavs last season.
Iguodala, who averaged 7.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists off the bench last season, will first meet with the San Antonio Spurs in Los Angeles, according to a report by ESPN, in addition to meeting with the Houston Rockets.
The Kings need to shore up their perimeter defense, and even at this stage of his career, Iguodala remains one of the league’s best defenders at his position.
This would be the second time the Kings have made a play for Iguodala in free agency. The Kings made Iguodala a four-year offer worth up to $56 million in 2013, but went a different direction when Iguodala, who was leaving Denver, did not quickly accept.
He was the first big free agent the Kings had gone after in some time after years of being strapped financially under the Maloof ownership before the team was sold in 2013.
At that time, Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro had a relationship with Iguodala from their time in Denver. Vlade Divac replaced D’Alessandro three years ago.
Tucker, 32, is a physical defender on the wing and strong enough to challenge post players. He was traded to Toronto in February, and the Raptors are expected to make a pitch to retain him.
Tucker averaged 6.7 points and 5.8 rebounds last season in 81 games. The Kings would benefit from the edge that Tucker plays with every game.
After trading DeMarcus Cousins and waiving Matt Barnes, the team lacks that kind of nasty, competitive disposition.
It would likely take a large financial commitment for the Kings to convince either to bypass opportunities with playoff-caliber teams. Sacramento was about $52 million below the projected salary cap entering free agency, but part will go to Bogdan Bogdanovic, who is expected to make around $8 million next season.
The Kings drafted small forward Justin Jackson at No. 15 overall but lack experience at the position, as Rudy Gay opted out of his contract to test free agency.
The Kings’ best perimeter defender last season was Garrett Temple, who happens to be the only wing player on the roster with more than one season’s experience.
NBA.com reported the Kings have interest in power forward Zach Randolph, who is also meeting with teams in Los Angeles.