Darren Collison emerged as a valuable cog in the system of the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2013-14 NBA season as he was faced with the unkind task of filling Eric Bledsoe’s shoes. However, it seemed like Collison was mostly just a rental for the Clippers last season considering the payday that he was likely to earn in 2014 NBA Free Agency. As it turns out, that was exactly the case.
Collison agreed to a three-year, $16 million deal with the Sacramento Kings on Thursday, joining a franchise that’s in the midst of trying to rebuild in the wake of their neglectful and careless former owners. Adding a player with the experience that the 26-year-old point guard could be important in helping the Kings—particularly their young assets—progress.
Immediately after the Collison signing, though, many people began to jump to conclusions about what this meant for the Kings and, more specifically, restricted free agent Isaiah Thomas. With Sacramento signing another point guard, some took that as an indication that the Kings don’t plan to match any offer sheets given to Thomas. That’s not the reality of the situation, though.
As pointed out by David Aldridge of Turner Sports, the Kings could still match an offer sheet given to Thomas, though it would require Sacramento to waive someone on their roster using the stretch provision. Aldridge also points out that Jason Thompson, Carl Landry and Jason Terry are the players on their roster that would qualify to be waived via the stretch provision. All three players have a cap-hit between $5.8 and $6.5 million for next season, so they essentially would have to decide which player they would most be willing to go forward without.
Thomas has emerged as one of the brightest young point guards in the league today and has shown remarkable talent on the offensive end of the floor. His defensive abilities are limited by his short stature, but his contributions on the other end of the floor more than make up for that. Coming off a deal that didn’t pay him $1 million in any of his first three seasons in the league, Thomas is definitely going to see some sizable numbers thrown his way. Numerous teams have already expressed interest in acquiring Thomas, but there have been no offer sheets on the table just yet.
While the newly signed Collison could be a serviceable starting point guard for the Kings, a point guard tandem of Thomas and Collison could cause some real trouble for opponents. They have the ability to match an offer sheet, but now we have to see if that’s what the Kings will ultimately do regarding Thomas.