The Sacramento Kings got some much-needed depth at point guard and a possible backup plan if they lose starter Isaiah Thomas in free agency.
The Kings and Darren Collison agreed to a three-year contract worth about $16 million Thursday, a person familiar with the deal said. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because teams can’t officially sign free agents until the NBA’s moratorium on moves is lifted July 10.
The Los Angeles Times first reported the agreement.
Collison opted out of the final year of his Clippers contract that would have paid him $1.9 million next season. He averaged 11.4 points and 3.7 assists in 25.9 minutes per game last season, primarily as Chris Paul’s backup.
Collison has been a starter at times throughout his career since New Orleans drafted him 21st overall in 2009 out of UCLA, including 35 games last season while Paul was injured. Collison also played two seasons with the Indiana Pacers and one with the Dallas Mavericks before helping the Clippers reach the second round of the playoffs in 2013-14.
Clippers coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers had called Collison the team’s No. 1 priority in free agency. Instead, Collison left for a big pay raise in California’s capital city and possibly even a chance to start.
With so much money already committed to DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay next season, the Kings’ chances of keeping Thomas already were going to be tough this summer. Thomas, the last pick of the 2011 draft who has become a fan favorite in Sacramento, has worked his way into being a full-time starter and averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 assists per game last season.
Because Thomas is a restricted free agent, the Kings can match any offer he receives. Whether they will — or can afford to do so — remains unclear.
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