Jimmer Fredette's stint with the Kings has reached its unceremonious conclusion, as the two parties officially agreed to buyout terms on Thursday. If Fredette clears waivers, he will become an unrestricted free agent with the ability to sign with the suitor of his choice.
Fredette's lack of a future in Sacramento has been apparent since the Kings declined to pick up his fourth-year option. When the team was then subsequently unable to trade Fredette prior to last week's trade deadline, the Kings transitioned to instead buy out what remains of Fredette's expiring contract. In that light, this move merely accelerates the seemingly inevitable; if Sacramento wasn't interested in re-signing Fredette to a new deal this summer, then there's fairly little harm in cutting the 25-year-old guard loose early.
"This was a very tough decision, but we're confident that the agreement reached today represents the most productive path forward, both for Jimmer and the Kings," general manager Pete D'Alessandro said in a statement. "Echoing a sentiment that everyone who knows him appreciates about Jimmer, he's a tremendous person and a consummate professional. We thank him for the meaningful contributions he made to the team and in the Sacramento community. On behalf of an entire organization, we wish him nothing but great success in the future."
Such a move does leave the Kings' point guard rotation a bit thin on emergency backups, but both Isaiah Thomas and undrafted rookie Ray McCallum had been logging regular minutes ahead of Fredette at that spot. Plus, with Sacramento miles removed from the Western Conference playoff race, the need for a third-string stopgap is significantly diminished.
In 41 games this season, Fredette averaged 5.9 points and 1.5 assists in 11.3 minutes for Sacramento. He's improved as a ball handler over the past two years to the point of being playable, and bolstered his shooting percentages in each of his past two seasons. Long-range shooting alone (the renowned marksman is up to 49.3-percent shooting on three-pointers this season) should make Fredette an attractive pickup to any number of potential playoff teams, as that single, marketable skill is in near-universal demand. Sacramento selected Fredette with the No. 10 pick in the 2011 draft, after trading down from the No. 7 spot as part of a three-team deal with the Bucks and Bobcats. As part of that trade, Sacramento sent Beno Udrih in exchange for the pricier John Salmons, who remained a King until he was shipped to Toronto earlier this season as a component in the Rudy Gay trade.