Moving Richaun Holmes’ Contract is Priority Number-One This Offseason

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 05: Richaun Holmes #22 of the Sacramento Kings looks on in the third quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden 1 Center on February 05, 2022 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Making the playoffs as the third seed, featuring two all-star—and probable all-NBA—talents, having the first unanimous Coach of the Year as well as the Executive of the Year, among other things, has all marked what was a successful and historic season for the Sacramento Kings. Even with all that success, however, they have a critical offseason coming up considering the ultimate goal.

“The biggest thing is, as we talked about, a 48 win team is a success for us this year, but we’re gonna have to build on that and continue to try to be better,” general manager Monte McNair expressed at his end of season press conference on Wednesday after winning that Executive of the Year award.

Among the agenda, as McNair noted and everybody knows, is getting an extension done for Domantas Sabonis. Along with that, there’s the matter of either resigning Harrison Barnes or acquiring a replacement for him in the starting lineup. Plus there’s the concept of retaining other free agents, such as Trey Lyles, as well as potentially bolstering the roster from the outside.

That all involves the need for some financial flexibility, which is feasible in terms of those objectives, but the key step in securing that wiggle room is moving Richaun Holmes and his contract.

Holmes is guaranteed over $12 million in each of the next two seasons—the second of which being a player option—and moving that money is imperative.

As Kings fans are aware, even had Holmes slid in as an adequate backup to Sabonis from the start of the season to its end, his contract would be an obstacle. However, after a real let down of a season—one where he was the least impressive of the three options that included Alex Len and Chimezie Metu—not only does the deal itself remain as an obstacle, moving it now seems more difficult.

Difficult, but not at all impossible.

Second round picks seem to pack more and more value, and there are plenty of those to stuff into a deal for a rebuilding squad.

But also, for as bad of a season as Holmes had, there are plenty of indications that point to him having plenty left in the tank to be an effective rotational player. After all, just a few years ago, he was one of the better starting centers in the NBA, athletic, fiery, and easily the most efficient on the offensive end.

Moreover, by early to mid March, it was clear Holmes was still dealing with off the court matters. 

On top of some missed time that was partly due to his eye injury, the personal issue of his custody battle undeniably affected him in the 2021-22 season, and making matters worse, the attention it garnered peaked with The Sacramento Bee’s publishing of a piece that, despite being opinion, baselessly demonized the former starting center. All of that amounted to a forgettable year.

Coming into this past season, after being awarded custody last spring, Holmes said the matter was behind him and that he was “ready to step back on the court” while making clear that those things were not excuses for his play. Commendable as it is not to make excuses, it appears fairly clear that those off the floor issues still followed him around as he failed to form any rhythm or consistency this season.

In January, Holmes made a spot start on the road against the Lakers while Sabonis was out with an illness. The big man finished with a double-double, contributing to a big win that slid Sacramento up into third place in the conference. After that victory, Mike Brown made the first mention this season of what Holmes was still dealing with in his personal life, which was also a tacit indication that the franchise is aware of it and how it affects his play.

Another development came a little less than two months later when The Wall Street Journal reported that Holmes was filing a defamation lawsuit against The Sacramento Bee and its opinion writer Robin Epley, further confirming the prominence of this all in the center’s life.

So with all of that, it’s not all that absurd to think an NBA GM would see this as an indication that maybe all Holmes needs is a change of scenery, a change in role. All of this extra drama seems like a fair explanation as to why Holmes was only able to show flashes of who he still is.

In other words, this is not in any way a contract dump trying to cast off a washed player, which only facilitates a potential deal.

What that deal ends up looking like packs far more mystery at this point in early May. As McNair said in regards to many of the upcoming offseason decisions, it will be something he and this front office will begin discussing over the next couple of weeks.

Nevertheless, if the Kings are going to carry out their primary objectives this offseason as they intend to do, they have to move Holmes first.

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
21 days ago

Holmes was always a favourite of mine…so it’s sad to see things turn out this way. But I guess we’ll have to see if Monte can put something together to unload that contract, whether it’s 2nd rounders or 1st round pick swaps. I’m okay with those as long as they don’t have to give up any 1st rounders straight up, whether they’re later round or not. I hope Monte can bring back Trey, I’m okay with losing Len, TD or Mezie…but Lyles is a solid player and key part of the bench.


[…] [ May 5, 2023 ] Moving Richaun Holmes’ Contract is Priority Number-One This Offseason B… […]