The Kings have won 12 of their last 17, are 6-1 since the All Star break, and hold sole possession of ninth place in the West, trailing the Memphis Grizzlies by 3 games for the final playoff spot. Even in the midst of a late season playoff push there is something dwelling on Kings fans’ minds: the front office’s decision to decline Harry Giles’ fourth year option back in October.
On Halloween, the Kings made the decision not to pick up Harry Giles’ fourth year option for $4 million. That means that in the offseason, they are limited to offering the big man a 1 year, $4 million contact if they decide to try and bring him back.
Although there may have been some merit behind not exercising his option with his injury history and his physical condition entering training camp this year, it was still a bad move.
Last year, a season removed from sitting out his first season while rehabbing a knee injury, Giles showed that he has what it takes to earn a spot on the team. He played with a lot of heart and energy, and showed that he could pass, shoot, and rebound well.
Expectations were elevated coming into this season as he was supposed to build off his rookie campaign and take the next steps. It is easy to understand why it must have been a little disappointing for management to see Giles not up to their standards entering training camp.
Giles sat out games early on in the season, even when Marvin Bagley couldn’t play due to injury. Harry has played in only 35 of the team’s 61 games, but in every minute he’s on the floor, he plays with the same tenacity he always has, making him a fan favorite.
Giles really got his break when starting center, Richaun Holmes, went down with an injury on January 6, which really limited the Kings on healthy big men.
Then, of course, the Kings dealt Dewayne Dedmon a month later and Harry Giles has started all but one game since then.[table “39” not found /]
Harry is maturing right in front of our eyes and even though he isn’t necessarily putting up All Star numbers, he’s showing improvements in his game that show the potential this kid really has.
He has played a huge part in this 12-5 run, and the team is 8-3 since both trading Dedmon and starting Giles for all but one of those games.
His great play has left Kings fans angry. Not at the fact that he’s playing well, of course, but the fact that the Kings had an opportunity to keep him through next year. Now, his future with the team is up in the air.
The Kings would be fools not to offer him that 1 year, $4 million contract in the summer, even if they know he won’t take it.
It is a weak free agent class this offseason making Giles even more appealing for teams. However, at the same time, a lot of teams are tight on cap space, which may mean teams won’t be willing to pay a big price for a player like Giles who has shown to be injury prone in the past.
Nevertheless, you, whoever you are, have got to love what the kid brings to the court. It’s bewildering that Divac wouldn’t pick up his option, but with moves he’s made, maybe it’s not surprising that the clock may be ticking on a guy who would be an integral part of a postseason run.
Giles will keep getting minutes, even when Holmes returns to the court. He has earned a place in the lineup and in the hearts of Kings fans.
Harry, please don’t go.