The Kings would dearly love to move Richards’ contract, which still has five more years on it at a $5.75 million cap hit. But to do that, they will need to sweeten the pot by adding another asset. Whether that’s a draft pick of value, a player or a prospect, the Kings will need to entice another team with another asset or two if they want to get a deal done.
Now, here’s where it also gets interesting: If you’re a team trading for Richards, are you hoping he can recapture his form? The risk is if Richards retires before the end of his contract, there are cap recapture penalties at stake, both for the Kings and the team that trades for him.
What I think might be at play here is the Kings are hoping that if they can complete a Richards deal, the team involved turns around and buys him out. The point of the deal for that team would be to acquire whatever other asset is involved.
But if the better trade is with a team that wants to keep Richards as an active player -- a few teams I’m told value his leadership skills -- then the Kings need to find a way to leverage the assets they get in return for the potential cap recapture penalties they could face.
It’s complicated, but fascinating, and it’s one of the club’s top priorities to figure out right now. They need to find a way to get out from under that deal.