The Sacramento Kings made what appears to be curious free-agent move, inking power forward Carl Landry to a four-year, $27 million contract. Unless another move is made to clear the frontcourt logjam, this signing makes little sense, and I'm not even sure it's such a great signing once that second move is made.
It goes without saying that Landry duplicates a lot of what Sacramento currently has on its roster. The Kings already have DeMarcus Cousins, Jason Thompson, Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes under contract. Of the five, only Patterson does his best work outside the paint. One has to think a trade is coming, because finding playing time for all five of those players is going to be impossible.
Landry had a really good year with the Warriors last season, but I think a lot of that had to do with how he was deployed. The Warriors used him as their third big man, playing him occasionally with one of their centers, but more often with fellow power forward David Lee. Fifty-four percent of Landry's minutes during the regular season (out of 1,876) came with Lee also on the court. Meanwhile, only 29 percent of his minutes (555 out of 1,876) came alongside Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli and Andris Biedrins. Using him with other shooters, along with great chemistry with Jarrett Jack, allowed Landry to operate closer to the basket, which plays to his strengths.
Duplicating that dynamic in Sacramento is going to be tough, even with a trade. Too many jumpers doomed Landry's first stay in Sacramento, and I worry the same thing could happen again. Unless Landry is paired primarily with Patterson, he's going to have to share the frontcourt with a non-shooting big man. While he could develop solid pick and pop chemistry with new acquisition Greivis Vasquez, he'll have to be placed further on the perimeter to give space for everyone else. Mike Malone surely understands how Landry impacts games given his experience working with him in Golden State, but he's going to have to be really creative with his lineups to put Landry in the same position to succeed.
The best thing you can say about this deal is that Landry is a good player and the Kings need more good players, regardless of position. Thompson and Patterson still have some value to be flipped for other pieces, so it's probably not fair to say with a degree of certainty that the frontcourt logjam will be there on opening day. Pete D'Alessandro studied under Masai Ujiri, the Dean of Flipping Tradeable Average Contracts For Better Pieces, and is probably trying to do the same thing here.
Still, after passing on re-signing Tyreke Evans, I think the Kings should have used the money left over on someone who fit the current roster better. And if they follow through on their rumored interest in giving Monta Ellis a big-money offer, then I'm even more confused.