SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Jimmermania began in Sacramento with hundreds of fans gathered at the airport to cheer the arrival of a player most had only watched on television or read about during the NCAA tournament.
It's headed for a much quieter conclusion.
As the Kings and guard Jimmer Fredette worked toward reaching a buyout of his contract, the former BYU sensation was not in attendance for Tuesday night's 129-103 loss to the Houston Rockets. Kings coach Michael Malone said the team advised Fredette to stay home until a resolution is reached.
Malone said he wished Fredette well and believes the third-year guard can carve out an NBA career somewhere — just not in Sacramento.
"For whatever reason, Jimmer was never able to find success, whether they were unrealistic expectations from his college career or whatever it was," Malone said. "But he just wasn't able to play to the level that everybody wanted him to play, which is somewhat maybe unrealistic. Maybe we have to temper our expectations for Jimmer and let him just become a solid NBA player. And there's nothing wrong with that."
Fredette, who turned 25 years old Tuesday, is making about $2.4 million this season. He will be a free agent if — and most likely when — he clears waivers.
Kings general manager Pete D'Alessandro told reporters at the team's morning shootaround that he was approached by Fredette's representatives about a buyout. He said Fredette no longer fits into the team's plans but Kings owner Vivek Ranadive "loves Jimmer and wants to do the right thing by Jimmer. We're just talking about things at this point. There's nothing done at this point."
A person with knowledge of the discussions, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because negotiations were ongoing, said the sides hoped to finalize an agreement by the end of the week. Yahoo Sports first reported the buyout talks.
Fredette's locker at the arena also was cleared out.
Fredette was drafted 10th overall in 2011 after dazzling at BYU, where he won The Associated Press' player of the year award his senior season. Fredette never lived up to the fanfare in Sacramento, though the franchise's instability — playing for three different coaches, two different ownership groups and constant relocation chatter — didn't help his cause.
Fredette is averaging 5.9 points and 11.3 minutes this season, shooting 47.5 percent from the floor and 49.3 percent from 3-point range. For his career, he's averaging seven points, 1.5 assists and 1.1 rebounds while shooting 41.6 percent overall, including 40 percent from beyond the arc.
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