ESPN’s Chris Haynes reported on Wednesday that the Sacramento Kings are unlikely to sign guard Ben McLemore to a contract extension. The deadline for teams to sign players currently on rookie-scale deals to new contracts is coming up on October 31, and declining to extend McLemore will make him a restricted free agent next summer.
This doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering persistent rumors that the Kings are interested in trading the fourth-year guard. McLemore hasn’t developed as expected since Sacramento made him the No. 7 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Over the course of his first three years in the league, he has averaged 9.7 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.
Last season was particularly tumultuous for him as he struggled to find a regular role in the rotation. McLemore averaged career-lows in minutes (21.2), scoring (7.8) and rebounding (2.2). He did, however, shoot better than 36 percent from three-point range, which is the best mark of his career to this point.
It might be unfair to label McLemore as a bust at this point, of course. He is still only 23 years old and the Kings have been far from the most stable organization over the last several years. Dave Joerger, who was hired as the team’s head coach in May, will be McLemore’s fourth different coach in four years as well.
ESPN reported last week that the Milwaukee Bucks gauged the Kings’ interest in a McLemore trade that would have brought point guard Michael Carter-Williams to Sacramento, but the Kings rejected the proposal. Any potential of talks reigniting obviously died when Carter-Williams was subsequently shipped to the Chicago Bulls.