Reporting Tony Lopez
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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Fans aren’t the only ones cheering the end of the NBA lockout. Smaller market teams like the Sacramento Kings have reason to be optimistic after what all this stern and painful labor talk has delivered — a more even playing field.
Former Sacramento Bee sportswriter Sam Amick, who now works for Sports Illustrated, says the Kings will benefit from a couple of things in the new deal.
First off, teams who overspend on pricey free agents will be hit with a more expensive luxury tax penalty.
“Once that begins teams like the Lakers and the Knicks that are routinely spending above the salary cap simply won’t want to anymore because the penalties are so great,” Amick told CBS13.
And speaking of spending, under the new deal the minimum payroll has been increased so the Kings have to break open that checkbook.
“They literally have about $18 million that they’re required to spend by the time the season gets rolling,” Amick said.
That means the Kings’ roster could look a lot different come opening night. They’re scheduled to play their first game at Power Balance Pavilion the day after Christmas.
“Right now they’ve got a core of young guys they like, but they’re going to sign free agents and they’re going to look to make trades,” Amick said.
The Kings will also look to embrace the fans again, who, remember, thought after last season that they were going to have to say goodbye forever to their team. Instead, the Kings stay put for now and the season is saved.
“I would think the fans would be fired up,” Amick said. “I think the Kings have a lot of talent and a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the direction they’re going.”