The Sacramento Kings may have a new general manager, but they keep making the same mistakes. On Tuesday they allowed restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic to sign with the Atlanta Hawks by not matching the four-year, $72 million offer sheet he received. It was a mistake by new GM Monte McNair not to extract value in return for the departing Bogdanovic.
The Kings had a deal in place to send Bogdanovic to the Milwaukee Bucks via a sign-and-trade last week, but that fell through because he hadn't approved the destination. After that trade disintegrated, the Kings should have worked with Bogdanovic to find an amenable solution and threatened to match any deal he got if the two sides couldn't work together. In the absolute worst-case scenario, the team could have matched the offer, absorbed the four-year, $72 million deal, then traded him sometime this season. Instead, they let him walk to the Hawks for free.
Sacramento is trying to change its culture and McNair apparently likes the team's young core of De'Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley III and Buddy Hield. Add 2020 first-round pick Tyrese Haliburton to that mix and it's not a bad group of young players. But Bogdanovic was a valuable asset coveted by several teams and the Kings got nothing in return for him. This was a major blunder.
At 28 years-old, Bogdanovic was a useful, mature presence for the Kings. He averaged 15.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 29 minutes per game last season. He was tough and clearly had the capacity to do more for the team. The end result of his departure has to be a bigger role for Buddy Hield, who found himself on the bench far too often late in games last season. Late in the year, Bogdanovic even replaced Hield in the starting lineup.
With Fox now given a max contract and Hield due to make $24.4 million this season, it's time for the current roster to step up. If that doesn't happen, it will make McNair look like a fool for allowing Bogdanovic walk.