Jimmer Fredette Has Chance to Revamp Career After Completion of Contract Buyout

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIFebruary 27, 2014

Sacramento Kings guard Jimmer Fredette looks on against the Denver Nuggets in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Denver on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The Sacramento Kings and guard Jimmer Fredette reached a mutual contract buyout agreement on Thursday, giving the 25-year-old sharpshooter a chance at a fresh start with a new NBA franchise.

According to a statement on the Kings' official website, general manager Pete D’Alessandro suggested that it was difficult to part ways with Fredette:

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. 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.

After starring as an explosive scorer at BYU, the Milwaukee Bucks selected Fredette No. 10 overall in the 2011 NBA draft, but traded him to Sacramento right away. Fredette was never able to establish himself in the Kings' rotation and hasn't started a game since his rookie campaign, when he registered just seven starts.

The good news is that multiple suitors are reportedly willing to look past Fredette's underwhelming career to date. ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported early Thursday that the Chicago Bulls are interested in Fredette:

He could provide an offensive boost to a Bulls team desperate for offense in perpetual lieu of star point guard Derrick Rose.

Another team that has surfaced is the Cleveland Cavaliers. Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal provided inside intelligence on that possible scenario following the Cavs' 114-104 win in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, noting that a pursuit wasn't likely:

The Cavs have internally discussed the merits of pursuing Jimmer Fredette, but right now that seems unlikely.

Part of the Cavs’ decision whether to pursue him is the status of [Dion] Waiters and [C.J.] Miles. If either or both are expected to miss an extended period of time, the Fredette option becomes more viable. But the team won’t really have a feel for their status until they are re-examined on Thursday and I get the impression they’ll be back sooner rather than later.

Recent injuries to C.J. Miles and Dion Waiters have depleted the Cavs, but also created a void for Jarrett Jack to really assert himself on offense against the Thunder. He did with 21 points.

However, Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio reported that Cleveland has tried to trade for Fredette multiple times and that three additional teams are interested—including the sentimental favorite Utah Jazz:

The Cavs investigated trading for Fredette both last summer and at the trading deadline last week, sources said. Now that Fredette is available for nothing but money (rarely considered an issue in the NBA), the Cavs' curiosity has been renewed. 

But despite the fact Fredette is averaging a career-low 5.9 points, several teams are exploring the idea of signing him. According to sources, the Nuggets and Grizzlies, as well as possibly the Bulls, are said to be intrigued. The Jazz are also considered a likely suitor.

Not all of those potential landing spots may be ideal for Fredette. At least he's generated interest and has emerged from his burial on the Sacramento bench.

Few organizations have been as dysfunctional as the Kings in recent years, and much of that has been due to a convoluted rotation featuring a stockpile of misfit perimeter players. Even the wholesale changes by D’Alessandro in his first year at the helm have not helped much at all, as Sacramento is 19-39 and next-to-last in the Western Conference.

Perhaps those changes to personnel will prove to be wise long-term transactions, but Fredette couldn't get out of that environment fast enough. Check out this scathing observation made by Grantland's Zach Lowe during a recent Kings loss:

Fredette isn't the best defender, so it's not as though he's immune to that critique. However, he has a chance to thrive in a far more positive culture, where he'll likely be coveted and see more minutes than his average of 11.3 per game thus far in 2013-14.

With the ability to take opponents off the dribble and some of the best range to come out of college in recent years, the value Fredette presents as a versatile albeit undersized combo guard could help a team in need of an energetic spark.

It's been difficult to evaluate Fredette at the outset of his young career because of his limited action. All the more perplexing is why he didn't play more in Sacramento this season.

With how bad the team's record is, coach Mike Malone could have at least experimented with the rotation.

Regardless of what kept him away from the hardwood as a member of the Kings, Fredette has the golden opportunity to change his NBA narrative and prevailing perception as a slight draft bust wherever he lands next.