Report: Kings, Ben McLemore unlikely to agree to rookie contract extension
It makes sense for both sides to wait
In the least surprising news of the day, the Sacramento Kings are not expected to reach an agreement on a rookie contract extension for guard Ben McLemore, per ESPN's Chris Haynes. The deadline to extend his contract is Oct. 31, and if there's no deal, then McLemore will become a restricted free agent after this season.
McLemore, 23, has had three up-and-down years with the Kings since being drafted No. 7 overall in 2013. While he clearly improved in his second season, his minutes and production declined last year. Given that he has the tools to be an effective 3-and-D player and a slasher, and the fact that Sacramento has been dysfunctional essentially the entire time that he has been there, some people believe that he's bound to break out. Others believe that his inconsistency and lack of production when it comes to playmaking and rebounding mean that he's destined to be only a bench player.
For both sides, it makes sense to wait. The Kings don't have evidence that they can count on McLemore to be their starting shooting guard of the future, so they shouldn't have to invest a significant amount of money in him. This gives them the opportunity to see how he does under new coach Dave Joerger when competing for minutes with veteran guard Arron Afflalo, and, if he thrives, they'll still be able to match any offer he gets next summer.
From McLemore's perspective, there's no point committing to Sacramento unless it gives him great financial incentive. He surely still believes he can be better than he's shown so far in his career, and if that's the case, then he can use this season to boost his value.
The Kings reportedly turned down a trade offer that would have sent McLemore to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for guard Michael Carter-Williams, who was instead sent to the Chicago Bulls for Tony Snell a couple of days ago. While they have McLemore, they must try to help him reach his potential.
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