Sacramento Kings

Analysis: Is it time for the Kings to bring back pass-first point guard Greivis Vasquez?

The Kings’ seemingly never-ending quest for a pass-first point guard to initiate their offense hit another bump Tuesday night when free-agent target Shaun Livingston decided he would play in Northern California, but for the Golden State Warriors.

With restricted free agent Isaiah Thomas being pursued by several teams, the Kings face the possibility of second-year guard Ray McCallum as the starting point guard entering the 2014-15 training camp. The Kings like McCallum, but they don’t appear ready to turn the running of the team over to him, hence Sacramento’s interest in point guards in the draft and free agency.

And even if Thomas – a restricted free agent – does return to Sacramento, the Kings wouldn’t mind him in a reserve role.

Which brings the Kings back to Greivis Vasquez, who is a restricted free agent.

Vasquez started the 2013-14 season with the Kings, and the team and player’s representatives worked on a contract extension early in the season. The sides did not reach an agreement, but both remained positive in their thinking that a deal would be reached this offseason. Vasquez, however, was traded to Toronto as part of the deal that brought Rudy Gay to Sacramento.

Vasquez, who was dealing with an offseason ankle injury, limped through parts of last preseason and averaged 9.8 points and 5.3 assists in 18 games before the trade. He averaged 9.5 points and 3.7 assists in 61 games with the Raptors, playing his best down the stretch and helping Toronto into the postseason as his ankle became stronger.

Vasquez averaged 12.4 points and shot 46.6 percent (44.8 percent on three-pointers) in 30 games after the All-Star break as a backup to Kyle Lowry, who is an unrestricted free agent.

Vasquez is a fan of Kings coach Michael Malone, and Sacramento general manager Pete D’Alessandro might be able to persuade Vasquez to return for a contract similar to the one Livingston reportedly agreed to (three years, $16 million). The Kings have yet to reach out to Vasquez.

Vasquez enjoyed his time in Toronto, but the opportunity to start would go a long way in his wanting to return to the Kings. Vasquez will likely wait to see what happens with Lowry before deciding on signing an offer sheet or reaching an agreement with Toronto.

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