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Pass on Jabari Parker, think ahead: How the Kings can avoid messing it up for 2019

The Chicago Bulls' Zach LaVine (8) drives past the Memphis Grizzlies' Dillon Brooks on March 7, 2018, in Chicago.
The Chicago Bulls' Zach LaVine (8) drives past the Memphis Grizzlies' Dillon Brooks on March 7, 2018, in Chicago. AP

The Kings are not expected to be major players in the market for talent when NBA free agency begins at 9:01 p.m. PDT Saturday.

That's OK.

The Kings aren't an attractive destination for high-profile players, but this summer begins the Kings' audition for impact players in 2019 and beyond.

If the Kings show major improvement over the course of next season, it would help to entice a player or two. That means giving their young talent opportunities to prove their worth – either as a potential teammate for a veteran free agent or as an enticing piece in a trade for an established player.

That's not to say the Kings front office should be dormant this summer. They will explore ways to add a small forward or even a stretch power forward. And if there's a chance to land a young player who would upgrade the roster – even if it means a long-term deal – the Kings will jump at it.

Opinion

Sacramento will also explore ways to use its cap space, about $17 million, to add a bad contract if it means gaining a first-round draft pick for 2019, which the team currently lacks. The Kings also have four veterans with expiring contracts they could move in a deal, too.

The Kings believe they'll be in a position of strength next year. They can sell a free agent on their young, improving core along with the ability to sign more talent.

That could be jeopardized if the Kings veer off course and commit to players who are not a part of the future. They don't need a repeat of last summer, when they brought in veterans George Hill and Zach Randolph on multiyear deals and Vince Carter for one year. The Kings traded Hill, but still have Randolph in the mix with a glut of power forwards and centers.

The Kings would be headed down that road again if they were to make a play for Milwaukee restricted free agent Jabari Parker, whom they have been linked to in various reports.

If the Kings are committed to Marvin Bagley III or Harry Giles, it makes no sense to add Parker, unless they were just trying to make a splash for the sake of making a splash.

The Kings, however, appear to have minimal interest in Parker at this point. Their priority is small forward, not power forward, which is what he'd be in Sacramento.

The Kings have also been linked to Chicago's Zach LaVine, who does fit with the kind of player the Kings want to add.

LaVine, however, plays shooting guard, where the Kings already have Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield. So while the Kings like LaVine's talent, they'd have to consider moving at least one of their young guards for him.

Plus, LaVine is a restricted free agent, so the Bulls would probably match any offer, given LaVine was a key part of their compensation in the Jimmy Butler deal.

No matter what happens starting tonight, the Kings must stay focused on the big picture.

Don't mess it up for 2019.

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