Most NBA free agents who signed with new teams during the offseason became eligible Thursday to be traded. Or, you could say, it was the first day front offices could admit their mistakes.
The Kings’ free-agent haul wasn’t meant to have a big impact immediately.
Arron Afflalo was signed to start at shooting guard, but blending him into the offense has been a struggle. Small forward Matt Barnes has added a needed edge, but lately he’s grabbed more headlines for an altercation at a nightclub than he has defensive rebounds.
Power foward Anthony Tolliver has played sparingly, but his value was always going to be measured not just in statistics, but leadership. And Ty Lawson has provided a spark as the second-team point guard.
Shooting guard Garrett Temple, meanwhile, has been all the Kings hoped for and more. Sacramento found the multipurpose veteran wing who has been missing from the roster for years.
Temple has added offense, defense, passing, intelligence and professionalism – everything the Kings need for long-term success.
It’s why Temple’s value is greater than his 6.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. He sets a good example for the Kings’ rookies and has the veterans’ respect.
“That’s the guy I’ve known,” said Kings coach Dave Joerger. “That’s the guy that I wanted and really pushed for, and (management) went out and made it happen. They did a good job and got a guy who is all about the team – he’s a great teammate, a tremendous person.”
Temple won’t turn around the Kings. Sacramento is 9-16, and as long as the team has a losing record, DeMarcus Cousins trade rumors will swirl.
But as the Kings add more players like Temple, quality people who contribute on the court, they can begin to improve. Temple has played on six teams since entering the league in 2009, but that’s why he has meshed with the Kings in his second stint in Sacramento.
“With me, I’ve been on so many different teams, it helps in regards to systems, defensive systems and offensive systems,” Temple said. “Because I’ve seen so many things and I have a good memory, I just use that. It’s really the same plays, just different wording.
“And in terms of me fitting in places, I’m proud of my versatility, being able to play different positions on the court.”
Temple’s selflessness is another reason Joerger knew he’d be a good addition. The Kings, after all, have been notorious for not sharing the ball.
Overall, Joerger has been pleased with Temple.
“As well as being a great defender, he’s helped us out with his improved jump shot,” Joerger said. “Everybody was the best player where they came from and is trying to figure out how to be a fit-in guy. Garrett Temple figured that out early. He’s not going out trying to get 20 (points) a game. He knows his role is to be a great defender, a great teammate, be in the right place, make the easy play, all of that stuff.”
Off the court, Temple has quickly become an integral part of the Kings’ locker room. His locker is next to Cousins’ at Golden 1 Center, and he has earned the All-Star center’s trust.
Whatever Joerger needs, Temple is fine with that. It doesn’t matter that the scenery is new.
“I’ve been doing it my whole career,” Temple said. “Before my (four-year) stint in D.C., I’ve been on new teams once every three months almost, if not less. So I learned to fit in and make myself a part of the rotation or make myself a productive part of the team no matter what my role was.”
Note – Sunday’s game at Dallas has been moved to 3 p.m. CST (1 p.m. PST).
The Dallas Cowboys’ home game against Tampa Bay was flexed to prime time, so the Kings-Mavs game should be over before kickoff.