SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Nearly an entire week had passed before the Kings snagged their first free agent, and since last Friday, when the NBA allowed players to sign new contracts, several players from last year’s roster have left for deals with new teams.
Shortly after officially announcing a maximum, four-year contract extension for De’Aaron Fox – the face of the franchise – on Wednesday morning, the Kings then landed their first player of free agency; who just happens to be a familiar face to Sacramento.
According to league sources, center Hassan Whiteside agreed to a one-year deal with the Kings, reuniting with the team that drafted him in the second-round of 2010.
Those sources, who spoke to ABC10 on the condition of anonymity because the deal has not yet been announced by the team, say that Whiteside, who is coming off the final year of his four-year, $98 million contract he signed with Miami back in 2016, agreed to return to Sacramento for the veteran’s minimum, which is worth a little more that $2 million.
Whiteside, 31, was traded in 2019 from Miami to Portland before the start of last season, where he help the Trail Blazers playoff run in the NBA bubble in Orlando. He would lead the league in blocks with 2.9 per contest, finish third in rebounding with 13.5 and average 15.5 points per game.
The seven-footer, who possesses a massive 7-foot-7 wingspan, should offer a rim protecting presence and a physical, rebounder that the Kings have desperately needed over the past few seasons.
Whiteside was selected with the 33rd pick out of Marshall by Sacramento alongside star center DeMarcus Cousins, who was selected with the fifth pick out of Kentucky in the 2010 NBA Draft. But while Cousins would evolve into an All-Star, Whiteside would spend time in the NBA D-League in Reno, before being released by the Kings after two seasons.
Whiteside would go develop his game spending two seasons between the D-League, then overseas in Lebanon and China before returning to the NBA in 2014 with Miami. He’d finish fourth in the NBA’s voting for the Most Improved Player Award. Then after two standout seasons with the Heat, he was rewarded with the lucrative four-year contract.
Across his eight NBA seasons, Whiteside has posted career averages of 13.7 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.
The Kings signing Whiteside comes one day after choosing not to match a qualifying offer for guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, who as a restricted free agent, agreed to a four-year deal worth &72 million. Free agents Kent Bazemore, Alex Len and Harry Giles also exited Sacramento, agreeing to one-year free agent deals with other teams just three days ago.
Giles, the former Kings’ fan favorite, signed with Whiteside’s former Trail Blazers team. Bazemore, the swingman who provided a much-needed spark in Sacramento last season following a trade from Portland, rejoined his first NBA home in Golden State, and center Alex Len, according to ESPN, plans to sign with Toronto.