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Sacramento Kings News and Notes: Looking ahead at the offseason

By | 99 Comments | Apr 22, 2024

Dec 13, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive (L) and general manager Monte McNair (R) talk during warm ups before a game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a busy day around the Sacramento Kings. Let’s round it all up.

The Brooklyn Nets officially announce Jordi Fernandez as their new coach

While this news was reported last week, the Nets made their official announcement today.

“I am truly grateful to lead the Nets as head coach and cannot thank Joe, Clara and Sean enough for this exciting and humbling opportunity,” said Fernández. “My family and I are thrilled to join such an incredible organization and become part of the vibrant Brooklyn community. I am eager to get to work with this talented group of players and collectively drive our team forward. Together, we will be fully committed to building something special for Nets fans and the borough to be proud of for years to come.”

Congratulations again to Jordi!

Kings win the coin flip, will pick 13th

The NBA held coin flips to determine tie-breakers for the 2024 NBA Draft order. The Kings won their coin flip against the Golden State Warriors, and will have the 13th best lottery odds rather than the 14th.

Questions ahead for the Kings

An excellent breakdown of the Kings upcoming offseason from The Athletic’s Sam Amick and Anthony Slater. Mike Brown is discussed extensively, as this upcoming year is the final guaranteed season of his contract. The article talks about the possibility of a contract extension for Brown, but Vivek’s unpredictability looms:

Team sources say there’s been a wait-and-see approach from the ownership side to this point, with a feeling from those around the franchise that singular results — the huge win over the Warriors, the gut-punch loss to the Pelicans — could weigh heavily in future decision-making.

That’s a dangerous game to play. Ranadivé has not yet approached Brown with an extension offer. Both sides have known for months now that this discussion was nearing, but the outcome of it will set the tone for the next Kings season to come. Without a resolution, it has a chance to become a distraction.

The article says that according to team sources Brown will definitely return next season, so there is a sense of continuity with the front office and coaching staff, but if Brown doesn’t receive an extension it could lead to awkwardness with the team.

The Athletic’s NBA Player Poll

The Athletic conducted their annual anonymous player poll to get a read on how the players themselves view the league. The voting is conducted via interviews throughout the season, with 127 players answering questions (although some players did not answer every question). Lots of interesting things in here, including some Kings-specific notes:

2.5% of respondents feel Domantas Sabonis is the league’s most overrated player. This placed him 13th in voting
4.8% voted De’Aaron Fox as the league’s most underrated player, placing him 5th.
2.9% voted for Golden 1 Center as their favorite arena to play in, placing it 7th.
2.3% also voted Golden 1 Center as their least favorite arena to play in.
0.8% of voters said the Kings would win the title this season (voters could not vote for their own team). Kind of surprising.

The path forward isn’t easy

The Ringer’s Howard Beck wrote an extensive look at the challenges the Kings now face as they try to avoid being stuck in the middle. Includes quotes from Fox, Sabonis, McNair, Brown, and some dude called Carmichael Dave (whoever that is).

Exit Interviews

Kings players conducted their exit interviews with media today. All your usual beat reporters have the videos and quotes on Twitter, but I specifically wanted to share Malik Monk’s interview, via Fox40’s Sean Cunningham:

I love the way Malik Monk talks to the media. You can tell he’s choosing his words with care, but he’s still pretty candid. You can tell he loves Sacramento and the Kings fan base. You can also tell he doesn’t know what’s going to happen, he’s not ruling anything out. Nor should he. But he also acknowledges that he could get more money but be in a worse situation. I think Monk is going to see what offers are out there, and if a team in a good situation offers him significantly above what Sacramento can offer, he’ll take it. If the money is similar, or if the big offers only come from really bad teams, I think Monk will return. I sure hope this isn’t the last Kings presser for Monk.

 

 

 

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Amonk81
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April 22, 2024 4:27 pm

I do not like where the Kings are right now, as they have a lot to do/fix to be on contending trajectory.

As for Sabonis, I was not all that thrilled when they traded Hali for him. Wasn’t sure then or now why you’d get a non shooter on your team. Unless he gets the mid range going he’s not a max player/second star.

I get it- Sabonis is great in regular season when you can get away with not being able shoot but not playoffs.

So, Monte has built a team with its 2 stars that are not great shooters- though Fox has become one from mid range. And a coach who doesn’t seem mailable.

The whole thing/team feels shaky and like they may have bet on the wrong people.

But- we shall see.

RobHessing
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April 22, 2024 4:32 pm
Reply to  Amonk81

More mailable?
comment image

Amonk81
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April 22, 2024 4:38 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Ha. Stupid phone mic More . Malleable

RobHessing
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April 22, 2024 4:55 pm
Reply to  Amonk81

🙂

McNair definitely chose the narrower path in trading Haliburton for Sabonis, but it was also the deal that gave him the better chance of retaining his employment, as it was the clearer path to near-term relevance. And for what it’s worth, the small sample size of Hali’s only playoff game leaves a lot to be desired.

As good as Sabonis was this year (and he is at least in the conversation for 3rd team all-NBA), Fox needs to be the best player on this roster, and he really wasn’t this year. His clutch numbers took a big hit. He will need to turn that around, at least a bit. And Murray is going to need to be an offensive plus far more often than he was this year. And if Monk walks, that probably means Fox, Sabonis and Murray combining to average 70-75 pts. a night.

The team eventually got better on the defensive end, but they regressed a bit overall. When I look at the Nuggets template, the Kings are missing their Aaron Gordon (and to your point, they have no one in Jokic’s stratosphere).

I noodle with deals like Barnes, Lyles, the 1st round pick and a couple of future 2nds for Jerami Grant and Kris Murray. Or maybe a lesser deal of Huerter and a 2nd for Thybulle. But as is the case with most of the deals that we throw around here, they are very unlikely to happen.

It makes for an interesting summer. The Kings can certainly catch at least some of the teams ahead of them, but there are teams behind them that could catch them as well. I could see the Kings battling for the 3rd seed, and I could see them finishing 13th. Wild times. The good news is, we didn’t have to spend the season trying to convince ourselves that the top of this draft isn’t as weak as it appears to be.

Amonk81
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April 22, 2024 5:20 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Agreed. They need 1 or 2 pieces. Huerter/Barnes ain’t cutting it. Etc

Fox has to get back to midrange. His clutch game. But the fact they he/they went backwards on O is disturbing.

The fact that Monte didn’t do anything this year when we all knew they needed a piece or 2 more is not good either. They needed to put their foot on the gas and make deals. I’m not buying this being careful about not messing with future….cause in being careful that’s exactly what they’ve done.

I just don’t want to see this turn into Atlanta from a couple years back.

Last year opened a window of opportunity and the kings shut the window and backpedaled .

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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April 22, 2024 5:57 pm
Reply to  Amonk81

I just don’t want to see this turn into Atlanta from a couple years back.

This is what I’m worried about as well. They caught lightning in bottle, maxed out Trae, gave out a lot of large contracts, leveraged their future for Murray and now sit in late lottery purgatory.

They only first round picks they have between now and 2028 is their own this year and Sacramento’s obligation. It’s one of the reason I think they pass on taking this year’s pick from the Kings. That obligation they have for next year or even 2026 is their best draft asset.

Amonk81
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April 22, 2024 10:12 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I guess it all boils down to if/what Monte does this off season.

Can he add a couple players? Ala Josh Hart w the Knicks. Or the way Donte fits and is playing for them.

Maybe. I’d certainly be willing to sacrifice some future -be all in now. What are they waiting for?

TheGrantNapear
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April 22, 2024 7:23 pm
Reply to  Amonk81

Mediocrity sounds about right for this core, which as a fan is a boring and depressing place to be. Either make a big trade to go all in on next season or do a semi rebuild on the fly. Returning the same core next season would be the worst offseason outcome.

Amonk81
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April 22, 2024 10:17 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

They definitely have to change this team/add to it and,I think, have a much more immediacy approach to this.

They should be climbing right now, not playing it safe and dropping.

And yes, there is the wonder if building around this core is a good idea.

But at least fucking go for it Monte.

Kings-Rebuild
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April 23, 2024 7:10 am
Reply to  Amonk81

If you go back a couple of years many saw this coming. A short term spike to a low level playoff team without a path to championship competitive. Even with Fox progressing fairly dramatically and Monk being a free agent steel they still couldn’t make it past a playoff first round. A longer term vision was not in the plan when they made the Sabonis and Huerter deals.

What to do now is the question. They need another big move to get someone like KAT. So I would sign Monk if there’s a reasonable deal to be obtained and then use everything left (Murray, draft picks, Mitchell, Huerter etc) to try to get a KAT, Markenam, or some other impact player. After that fill in the pieces with aging serviceable veterans on close to veteran minimum contracts. The very difficult task is to find that third impact player preferably a big who can stretch the floor.

Maximus
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April 23, 2024 1:15 pm
Reply to  Kings-Rebuild

What in the world? Murray for KAT????????????

You need premiere wings, not offensively-oriented bigs.

Markkanen is cool though. I’d do Murray for Markkanen but the Jazz wouldn’t.

Kings-Rebuild
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April 23, 2024 8:15 pm
Reply to  Maximus

I’m confused. You wouldn’t trade Murray for KAT. Obvious some salary fillers are needed and it’s very unlikely but KAT would immediately make us a factor in the playoffs.

Maximus
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April 24, 2024 12:12 am
Reply to  Kings-Rebuild

No. Trading for KAT would make our salary too big and without assets to further improve the team. KAT would make this team better but would not make it a championship contender.

Maximus
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April 23, 2024 1:25 pm
Reply to  Amonk81

I just don’t want to see this turn into Atlanta from a couple years back.

Uhhh, Atlanta’s problem was the complete opposite from us. They went all in too quickly. And they did not manage their salary cap well at all.

rockbottom
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April 23, 2024 7:34 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Agree, Fox is the guy and Sabonis is a true marvel in consistency in production ,effort and availability . No worse than 4th best center in the league . Clearly, best in Kings history and impossible to upgrade. Seems some expect Jokic to walk in . Logic would indicate that areas where you are not in top 15 positions like the 2, 4 and bench should be the focus .

TheGrantNapear
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April 22, 2024 7:20 pm
Reply to  Amonk81

100 percent agree with your take.
I just don’t see a high ceiling with this core.

NowLoveThemOnceAgain
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April 22, 2024 9:02 pm
Reply to  Amonk81

Where would you propose the coach be mailed?

Amonk81
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April 22, 2024 10:19 pm

Preferably to a coaching clinic where they explain to Coach B the importance of running sets/plays in the 1/2 court…. if you want to win in playoffs and if you want to maximize your talent.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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April 22, 2024 5:01 pm

The two teams that really worry me when it comes to Monk are the Magic and 76ers. Both can easily pay him more than the Kings can, can offer him a starting spot, and a legitimate shot at a title before the Kings can. Few players get to sign long lucrative deals and Monk hasn’t had the opportunity until this summer. If someone were to offer him $20M more than the Kings can pay him over 4 years, I’d understand if he took the money.

RobHessing
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April 22, 2024 5:09 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

It will be interesting to see what OG and PG13 decide to do this off season. Given the market, I could see the Sixers and Magic offering some major bank for those guys.

Amonk81
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April 22, 2024 5:27 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Don’t think OG is going anywhere. Knicks love him- unless injuries are too
much

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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April 22, 2024 5:48 pm
Reply to  Amonk81

There are quite a few guys I don’t think are going anywhere: OG, PG13, Pascal, Quickley, and Claxton. I’d put Monk as a top 5 available free agent come July.

rockbottom
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April 23, 2024 7:41 am
Reply to  Amonk81

OG is always injured . Has missed 30% of games since entering league . Very good when healthy but rarely happens . Big money long term would seem a mistake .

Adamsite
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April 22, 2024 5:43 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

I’d have to imagine the Clippers playoff run this year will play a major part in PG13’s future.

TheGrantNapear
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April 22, 2024 7:18 pm
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With Balmer and the Clips opening a new arena this upcoming season, I think they bring back PG and Beard and just keep hoping for injury luck.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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April 22, 2024 7:44 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

Yeah, I can see that.

kingarthur916world
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April 22, 2024 5:15 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I really like monk, but I don’t think the 76ers are going to chase him with maxey, cheaper buddy hield and the magic have a couple young guards already . The spurs might go after monk.

I think monk is resigning here .

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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April 22, 2024 5:42 pm

Buddy is a UFA. Philly only has like 4 players under contract right now at $59M (Embiid makes $51.4M next season). They have more cap space than anyone.

Last edited 2 months ago by Adamsite
TheGrantNapear
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April 22, 2024 7:17 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I think the Magic back up the Brinks truck for MM. They’re a very good perimeter scorer/shooter away from taking the next step. If they strike out on MM, I could even see them having interest in buying low on KH.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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April 22, 2024 7:49 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

I’ve been thinking the same thing. If Monte were playing some next level chess, I’d hope he offer Huerter to the Magic before the draft. The Magic get a sure thing, and better shooter than Monk, before free agency hits. This would take the Magic out of the running for Monk and free up space for the Kings.

Offer Huerter and the #13 for the #18 and a contract or two (Carter or Black?) and see if they bite.

andy_sims
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April 22, 2024 11:17 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I have a feeling that Orlando believes that they’re much closer to contending than they actually are, although the playoffs this month may divest them of the notion. I don’t know anything about upcoming free agents. As it stands, maybe Monk takes Gary Harris’ spot as a starter, but Fultz, Suggs, Cole Anthony (and Harris) should still eat up a lot of guard minutes. They’re better defenders than Monk.

This is me working the Sacramento angle. I hope for your support.

Jack
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April 25, 2024 7:25 am
Reply to  Adamsite

If it were me I would take Black. I really lkke his game. He could backup Fox and even be a SG. If so I would try and get Jalen Smith in FA. Up and coming and a better defender than Carter.

RikSmits
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April 23, 2024 12:02 am
Reply to  Adamsite

The problem with Monk leaving (who is by no means a perfect palyer, especially on defense) is that you lose your only quality point guard. As long as Domas can play his point center role that is fine, but when teams start to focus on disrupting Domas, our only counter is Monk.

And that brings me all the way back to the Tyreke years. Fox is a great player, but he is also NAPG. For the newbies: Not A Point Guard.

When teams take away Domas’p laymaking Fox can score points, but he is limited in his ability to quarterback the team. yes, he gets some assists but it is mostly reactionary, when teams collapse and he can find the open man. But he can’t dictate the offense and mostly goes towards hero ball. Fox is almost non-existent in the pick and roll and seems mostly unable to find Domas for easy buckets.

That is where part of the value of Monk lies. When he’s zoned in (sometimes he is just too chaotic and undisciplined) he is the best PG/quarterback we have and he is also IMO the best one capable of setting up Domas for easy scores in the paint.

If we lose Monk, our biggest priority has to be finding a good PG who can play the pick & roll with Domas (even bigger than a shotblocking PF, IMO). Or Fox must suddenly show that he is capable of placing the pick & roll and providing good pocket passes. Who knows?

rockbottom
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April 23, 2024 7:46 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Exactly. Fox is a scorer than can assist but in no way a point guard . No Monk means a less productive Sabonis and bench . Scary !

Maximus
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April 23, 2024 9:15 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Sabonis works best with an off-ball gravity, not with a pick and roll PG.

When you make Sabonis a pick and roll guy, you take away what he does best which is facilitating in the high post. What you need to make Sabonis better is a more consistent and dynamic off-ball gravity. When Huerter is on like last year, we are the best offense. When Huerter is off, we are just so-so offense.

Monk did say in the exit interview that he wanted to start. I am guessing if we pay the max we could and promise him the starting job, he should be back. I just don’t see how the Monk-Sabonis duo could defend competently, unless we could get an All-NBA defense forward next to Murray. And another issue is that if we start Fox-Monk, they would run the show, which would relegate Sabonis to a finisher role.

I would like to keep Monk if he can continue to be a 6th man. He is just so much more valuable for this team as a 6th man.

kingarthur916world
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April 22, 2024 5:48 pm

I hope we decide to rebuild through the draft. The 2025 draft is projected to be great.

I don’t think it’s a power forward that will be available to push this team ahead. It’s always hard to get wing players without drafting them.

If not fire coach brown. Really need a coach to draw up a better offensive scheme. It’s like Kerr and mark Jackson. Brown reached his peak with this team.

So many different things you can do with Keegan , fox and sabonis if we had a great offensive mind .

Adamsite
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April 22, 2024 5:50 pm

The problem is the Kings 2025 pick is owed to ATL (top 12 protected).

TheGrantNapear
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April 22, 2024 7:15 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Really would have been nice if we beat the Pels and conveyed the pick this season. That loss was like a double whammy.

kingarthur916world
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April 22, 2024 7:31 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Problem ? Fox and sabonis would be traded . The kings will be keeping that pick in 2025 and 2026 . The pick would end up being second round picks . Take the Utah route this summer. If they can’t find deals to make the team better. Do it before fox can control his destination with one year on his deal .

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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April 22, 2024 7:50 pm

So you are angling for a complete tear down and rebuild through the draft?

kingarthur916world
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April 23, 2024 2:41 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Yeah .at least see what fox and sabonis can get you .

Jack
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April 25, 2024 7:28 am

If I had a choice I would trade Fox before Sabonis.

MidtownMike
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April 23, 2024 9:16 am

Gross…how quickly people forget how shitty that drought was…silly

kingarthur916world
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April 23, 2024 2:41 pm
Reply to  MidtownMike

It was silly because the kings did not have a good GM and owners who were broke. Just my opinion, but if you want to keep supporting non playoff teams and players who don’t care to show up everyday you can do it.

the drought just started over again lol . The kings still had fox and sabonis and lost to the pelicans without Zion . Are you telling me fox , keegan and sabonis not better than Ingram , Cj and trey murphy ?

rockbottom
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April 24, 2024 7:57 am

Must love 15 year droughts . Is this Hinkie ?

TheGrantNapear
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April 22, 2024 7:14 pm

Awesome article with countless tidbits!

Watching the Knicks and man, they have so many dogs, 7 or 8 players that just go balls to the wall. The Kings have Domas and that’s about it. I just don’t get the type of team MM is building.

MidtownMike
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April 23, 2024 10:11 am
Reply to  Greg

yup and after year 2 of that process, a lot of this fan base wants a tear down…it’s frankly embarrassing to read lol

RikSmits
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April 23, 2024 10:13 am
Reply to  Greg

NY is still a top market.
Would Brunson want to come here?
It’s comparing the Big Apple to a mediumsized orange.

andy_sims
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April 23, 2024 2:13 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Maybe, but Denver has built in the same way that New York has, and are probably 3-4 years ahead of Sacramento, using Rob’s formula.

One can argue the Mile High City’s virtues, but it’s an outpost as NBA cities go, and doesn’t have the luxury of being in California, and close to huge media markets.

As ever, winning begets winning. Drafting smart and well-thought-out trades is how Denver did it, and I think McNair has shown that he’s adept in both regards.

(Obviously, it can be tough to draft an MVP from the second round, but it’s not as if Denver had that kind of expectation. If they had, he’d have been their pick in round one.)

I do think that there are some late-lottery guys who could be quite helpful for the Kings at positions where they are thin.

RikSmits
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April 23, 2024 11:55 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

What Free Agents came to Denver before they were succesful?

andy_sims
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April 24, 2024 10:09 am
Reply to  RikSmits

You make a fair point.

Last edited 2 months ago by andy_sims
NowLoveThemOnceAgain
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April 22, 2024 9:11 pm

Only weak teams are going to offer Monk a starting role. Kings must offer him a starting role for him to stay–that was clear from his exit interview. Monk at the 2, Fox moves more without the ball (a la Steph Curry), maybe Huerter at the 3, Murray at the 4, Sabonis at the 5 but not always so far from the basket. Barnes, Keon, Mitchell, Lyles and Len are the second unit.

IMO this squad is very strong, and moving too many pieces will mean developing new chemistry, and that takes time. As HB said eloquently in his exit interview, when they focus they can play with the best (or most of the best), and that was proved with big wins over Minnesota, OKC, Clippers and Denver plus 4 over LA Lakers, plus a win in Milwaukee. On nights when they’re unfocused, we saw what happens. DeAaron candidly stated that “little things” like free throws become cumulatively big; so make your damn free throws!

I say that the offensive schemes need to change–they are too predictable, teams figure out how to guard the DHO, it makes Kings too dependent on 3’s. Defensively, Kings should look at doing what the Heat do with their flexible zone–instead of trying to pressure the ball and leaving guys open in the corners or down low. Barnes will really have to improve his lateral defensive movement, and I’m not sure that’s possible.

Last edited 2 months ago by NowLoveThemOnceAgain
Adamsite
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April 22, 2024 10:10 pm

Only weak teams are going to offer Monk a starting role.

The two teams that are likely to do that are currently in the playoffs.

MidtownMike
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April 23, 2024 9:21 am

That is a TERRIBLE starting lineup and second unit as they are not balanced in any way. Fox/Monk/Huerter/Murray/Sabonis equals ZERO defense and Mitchell/Keon/Barnes/Lyles/Len equals ZERO playmaking/offense.

Much better is something like Fox/Keon/Murray/Lyles/Sabonis and Mitchell/Monk/Huerter/Barnes/Len.

I also want to see Sasha get some love by us playing more small ball, should be small ball all minutes Sabonis sits.

Biscuit
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April 22, 2024 10:15 pm

if Brown doesn’t receive an extension it could lead to awkwardness with the team.
IDGAF if Brown is uncomfortable about losing his gravy train… let him fulfill his contract, then evaluate. I don’t long for the days when we had multiple crappy coaches on the payroll, collecting from their couches.

andy_sims
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April 22, 2024 11:19 pm
Reply to  Biscuit

Extending Brown would not be adding another crappy coach to the payroll.

Biscuit
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April 23, 2024 10:45 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Extend, then fire – that’s been Vivek’s MO in the past

andy_sims
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April 23, 2024 2:27 pm
Reply to  Biscuit

Fortunately, he’s put an adult in charge, and gotten good results.

alec26
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April 22, 2024 10:24 pm

On the bright side, here are some guys picked 13th in the draft: Zach LaVine, Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant.

KIngs make that kind of pick, and the future will look bright.

andy_sims
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April 22, 2024 10:59 pm
Reply to  alec26

I’d love it if Ron Holland was still there at thirteen. Just a fantastic fit with Fox, Sabonis & Murray.

And agree with all of the love and praise for Malik Monk, the man just exudes joy on and off the court. I’m certain that he’d be fun to know. That said…

If he does get an offer he can’t refuse, I’d imagine we’d want to look for a player like Keegan, a little taller, ideally, who can offer the 3&D skills. It’s a tough get with only the mid-level exception in hand. You’d probably need to part with Huerter or Murray in order to get a real difference-maker. The first would be easier to swallow than the second, ans either way, two of your best shooters would be headed elsewhere, including Monk.

It’s hard to not overvalue our players, Keegan in particular, whose ceiling feels considerably higher than it’s current level. His year over year improvement was nothing short of incredible. Who would you need to get back as a SF/PF in order to feel okay about losing Murray? PG is theoretically available, although it’s nearly impossible to imagine him leaving Los Angeles. But he is definitely one of those guys that puts a team like the Kings into rarefied air as contenders. I worry about his age and his wear & tear as he turns thirty-four in a couple of weeks, but then look at Lebron and wonder if we’re going to start seeing guys play at an all-star level into their late thirties.

So, besides Paul George, who would you be willing to give up Keegan in order to get? Presumably a player like Barnes would also go out, and some second rounders, since Keegan’s salary isn’t very high yet, as these things go. As good as Mikal Bridges is, acquiring him but losing Murray is a lateral move, although I think that Bridges has that killer gene, as he’s more assertive. For now.

Disregarding all of this prose as I wait for Rick and Morty to start, what ways can Sacramento reasonably make step up from scheduled pain in the ass to a team that could win a title with just a couple of breaks? The math is really hard right now, and I have a feeling that if it comes via trade, it’s going blow the fanbase apart like Haliburton for Sabonis.

Also, you just know that Anthony Davis, that bitch, voted for Sabonis as overrated.

RikSmits
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April 23, 2024 12:13 am

I really dislike the contract extension talks surrounding Brown.

In the past, there was always this eagerness for these premature extensions. And most of them turned outr to be bad to awful.

Brown was great his first season, no doubt.

But this season was a mixed bag, and that is a generous view, even. I was thoroughly unimpressed with what Brown did this season when he had most of his core back, especially on offense. And on defense, I would argue that the improvement was mostly the product of injuries to mediocre defensive players getting hurt and Brown being forced to use defensive players. It did not happen by his design.

Some puzzling things happened, including the overreliance on the (spray) 3’s with no working backup plan, letting Fox go away from his main strengths (either this is encouraged by Brown or he is unable or unwilling to dissuade Fox from playing like that – either way; bad), bad rotations, little ingame adjustments and pretty awful ATO plays. Not having the team prepared for weak/weakened teams, time after time after time. Yes, there were some positives, but not enough to outweigh the negatives, IMO.

So why would Brown, based on the sample size of these two seasons, already receive an extension? The upcoming season will be his big test, and then you can decide on an extension.

RikSmits
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April 23, 2024 1:32 am
Reply to  RikSmits

To add to these thoughts:

  • To clarify; I do not want to fire Brown. I think he has been good these two years overall and should be – without a doubt – the coach for next season.
  • But I also do wonder if he is good enough to commit to long-term? I have to see more before getting a clear feel for that.
  • If Jordi was such an important assistant coach, I’d also want to see how Brown fares without him.
  • If there’s so much grumbling about an uncomfortable situation, or a lame duck status (which I think is way overblown by media and fans), at least wait and see how the team is doing by the All Star break before comitting.
  • Despite the late season injuries to Monk and Huerter, this team has been among the healtiest in the NBA these last two seasons. How will Brown fare when the going gets tough?
  • All the above does not disculpat Monte; he also bears responsibility and I am also in a wait and see mode regarding him.
  • And that is an important element as well; if Monte is too deliberate, trigger shy and loses his job as many teams pass us by; do we want to be stuck with a longterm contract of a coach who won’t be the new GM’s guy?
  • One more thing regarding the defense, and the post All Star improvement; I wonder how much the swallowing of whistles by the refs helped Sacramnto in that regard.

Sorry for being so wordy.

Bluejohn
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April 23, 2024 6:27 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Rik, well laid outs thoughts as usual……I expect nothing less from you.

I am compelled to say that I believe that the word disculpt being ever used in any post or comments before. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it used in anything I’ve ever read in the last 5 decades or so. Truthfully I’m not even sure what the word means.

Thanks for keeping us (at least me) on our toes and as always. Good stuff

RikSmits
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April 23, 2024 11:57 pm
Reply to  Bluejohn

Oops; “disculpate”.

Lots of typos. Sorry.

RobHessing
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April 23, 2024 8:54 am
Reply to  RikSmits

I don’t disagree, but the new NBA basically has tenured coaches (and Brown is a coach of tenure) having at least a guaranteed +1 on their contract. Brown’s original deal has a mutual 4th year option, meaning that the upcoming season is his last guaranteed year. At the very least, the Kings should state that they are picking up the 4th year on their end, as this removes Brown from being a lame duck. This also kicks the can down the road to the end of next season for the next extension.

RikSmits
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April 23, 2024 9:19 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Yeah, good to know and and I would be absolutely fine with that, both from a postive signal perspective and a risk-reward perspective. Actually, that is very close to a no-brainer, IMO.

But picking up an option and signing an extension are two different things. I hear people urging for an extension, and I am against that, right now.

So I disagree with the “at the very least” part of your post. Pick up the option and see what he does next season. Nothing more.

Jman1949
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April 23, 2024 11:58 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Exercising the team option for the 4th year of Brown’s contract seems like a fair and reasonable path forward. Doing more than that now would waste whatever benefit was gained from aligning Monte’s contract with Brown’s at the end of last season.

Does anyone know the deadline for Brown to exercise his side of the option?

Bluejohn
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April 23, 2024 6:29 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Now that is kinda wordy………at the very least.

MidtownMike
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April 23, 2024 9:23 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Brown wasn’t even great his first season.

krswin
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April 23, 2024 9:54 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Playing Alen Len so little against Pels. Only real rim protection and he’s on the bench. Made no sense.

TrojanCBB
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April 23, 2024 8:18 am

That “article” from Amick was trash. It was speculative opinion, with no quotes/sourced info even from anonymous sources. He was just doing his usual stirring of the Sacramento pot.

RobHessing
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April 23, 2024 8:56 am
Reply to  TrojanCBB

I have found Amick to be among the best and most reasoned when it comes to covering the Kings. Patterson of the the Athletic has been a revelation as well. Compared to the likes of Bruski, Hollinger and Simmons, Amick is Edward R. Farking Murrow, IMHO.

AnybodyButBagley
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April 23, 2024 12:30 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Success is not rewarded it is hated.

Don’t be crazy.

AnybodyButBagley
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April 23, 2024 12:29 pm
Reply to  TrojanCBB

Who hurt you?

Hobby916
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April 23, 2024 8:19 am

Lets say Monk chooses to sign with the Kings. The roster then needs upgrades at the 2, 3/4, and 4/5. Barnes and Huerter are where the upgrades need to happen, and finding upgrades for them could be tricky as they don’t seem to hold much value and the draft assets are mediocre.

Does Barnes and Mitchell for John Collins and the 32nd pick in this draft make the Kings better? Collins is more athletic and a better rebounder, has a higher career TS%, but he has had some injuries. The 32nd pick can be used for additional trades or to draft cheaper rotation guy for the future.

Then maybe Huerter, Duarte, Vezenkov for Wiggins and Moody. Wiggins has dropped off a bit, but maybe a change of scenery could do him some good. I like Moody a lot, and not sure why he doesn’t get more minutes.

That would at least get some more athleticism and length on the roster, with increased wing depth and positional versatility. If they still have the MLE, then see what is still needed and fill out the roster. The above might not be ideal/the best, but I think the collection of talent would be better than what is currently on the roster.

Going out:
Barnes, Huerter, Mitchell, Vezenkov, Duarte

Coming in:
Collins, Wiggins, Moody, 32nd pick in 2024, MLE player.

MidtownMike
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April 23, 2024 10:12 am
Reply to  Hobby916

Throw an unprotected pick or two in for the dubs, why in the world would they do your proposed trade?

Hobby916
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April 23, 2024 10:21 am
Reply to  MidtownMike

I heard they were looking at reducing salary, and it would shorten the length of money on the Wiggins deal. Huerter would add some offense, and Davion would help with their backup PG minutes. They don’t want Wiggins any longer, so getting off of him might be something they consider doing.

MidtownMike
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April 23, 2024 10:26 am
Reply to  Hobby916

They would have to really want to be off him for that, but maybe…if so I’d jump on that deal

Hobby916
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April 23, 2024 10:31 am
Reply to  Hobby916

Forgot Davion was in a different deal. The pieces from the Kings could be moved around to make deals work.

MidtownMike
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April 23, 2024 11:31 am
Reply to  Hobby916

I do think they are going to have to take a shot on someone like Collins who has tons of potential

jwalker1395
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April 23, 2024 10:35 am

I have been pretty doom and gloom recently about the team. But taking a step back… it’s not 16 straight seasons of basketball hell. That’s a positive step.

I am happy competitive basketball is back in Sacramento. Fox and Domas are both All-NBA caliber players. Keegan and Keon (and maybe Colby) are young, exciting prospects. It is a LONG way from waiting on development from Donte Greene, Jason Thompson, and Spencer Hawes.

All that said, I still am not optimistic about their near-term prospects. Monk may walk (and if he gets $20 mil+/yr then the Kings shouldn’t pay him anyway). The picks are tied up. And too much cap space is locked up in mediocre players like Barnes, Huerter, Sasha, Mitchell, and Lyles.

Not to mention, the Thunder and TWolves have lapped us. The Rockets and Spurs are likely not far behind, either. It’s difficult to see how a team led by Fox & Ox ends up being superior to one led by SGA, Wemby, or Ant over the course of the next 5 years. The good news at least is that LAL, GSW, and PHX are all set to implode.

But there is value on this roster, and that’s not something that could have been said for the Kings’ rosters of old. We will probably enjoy a few years like the Hawks or the Trailblazers of “happy to be here” playoff appearances before getting bounced in the first two rounds. That alone is a refreshing thought.

But it is what happens after that which I find more inspiring: Fox and Domas will be able to be dealt for actual building blocks. Keegan may evolve into an All-Star. Maybe we hit on a pick or two. Maybe Keon or Colby become something we weren’t expecting. Who knows what the future holds?

This is the first iteration of a Monte McNair team and it’s the best team the franchise has had in years. What could the second iteration look like? It’s disappointing that the team is not already primed for a deep run into the playoffs, but Rome was not built in a day. If anything, it was my own fault for setting expectations so high after so many years of garbage.

Monte has shown an ability to identify holes in his roster, and find versatile, proven, and affordable talent to fill them via trade and the draft. In a town devoid of free agent drawing power, that is absolutely critical. Not only that, he brought in the best head coach we’ve had since Malone. NBA teams are actually hiring from our coaching tree – IMAGINE THAT!

Is Monte the next Morey? Unlikely. Is Mike Brown the next Spoelstra? Almost certainly not. But this team has stability and legitimacy to it for the first time in decades, and that’s a damn good start. If Monte can take an absolute dumpster fire and turn it into a playoff team within a couple years, then I’ll bet he can turn a playoff team into a contender given a few more.

RobHessing
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April 23, 2024 10:51 am
Reply to  jwalker1395

Is Mike Brown the next Spoelstra? Almost certainly not.

Agreed, and within the context of your larger comment. The path to improving the HC position is a much narrower path than the path that saw such luminaries as Musselman, Theus, Natt, Westphal, Smart, Corbin, Karl and Walton pass through here. At worst, Brown is Dave Joerger with better people skills. At best, he may become our Michael Malone, a coach whose firing was bemoaned at the time, and a coach whose head was called for on multiple occasions in Denver before last year’s breakthrough.

My perspective is that Brown was unable to overcome the shortcomings of the roster that was presented to him this year. Was his decision making perfect? No, and perhaps far from it. But I don’t know which head coaches get more out of this roster, and from that list, which ones are available. By my count, the number of available head coaches that could get more wins out of the current roster is zero.

Of all of the things that concern me about this team moving forward, Mike Brown is at or near the bottom of the list.

jwalker1395
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April 23, 2024 10:55 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Interesting that your interpretation of my comment on MB was negative. While I acknowledge his shortcomings, I am actually 100% in agreement with you that the Kings could not do better than MB for the foreseeable future and I highly value the stability, air of legitimacy, and culture of accountability he has been implementing as a long-term foundation for sustained growth.

Last edited 2 months ago by Jacob Walker
RobHessing
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April 23, 2024 12:30 pm
Reply to  jwalker1395

I did not see it as a negative (or really disagree with you), which is why I was sure to note that the larger context was taken into consideration. I was merely toenailing onto your comment. Apologies if it came off that way.

Last edited 2 months ago by RobHessing
Bluejohn
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April 23, 2024 6:50 pm
Reply to  jwalker1395

I’m not quite sure why you interpreted Rob’s comment about Coach Brown as negative….I thought it was quite positive. Of course his comments about Coach Brown echo my own so it’s quite possible the my own objectivity could be called into question.

The other thing I’d like to mention that I don’t believe has been brought up for discussion is that perhaps ownership (I’m looking at you Vivek) did not give Monty the flexibility he needed to make the improvements to our roster that he wanted to make.

Who knows for sure? I’m fairly certain that none of us do.

discocricket
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April 23, 2024 11:13 am
Reply to  RobHessing

I’m aligned with this. That said, the jury remains out on Mike Brown’s ability to make in-game adjustments with a better roster. The 3PT frenzy late season and a lack of creativity in the half court offense in crunch time were a bit worrying in this regard…

RobHessing
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April 23, 2024 12:32 pm
Reply to  discocricket

Yep. The mad early shot clock chucking of threes smacks of lacking confidence in your half court set. And 82 games is not a small sample size when it comes to how well opponent after opponent lit it up from deep. Work to be done on both ends as it pertains to the arc, for sure.

MidtownMike
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April 23, 2024 1:52 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

tbf the defense improved drastically with Keon and Davion playing more minutes down the stretch.

RobHessing
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April 23, 2024 1:59 pm
Reply to  MidtownMike

But the record did not. And I’m not bagging on Keon and Davion. I’m just saying that the macro numbers behind the arc on both ends are alarming, and the small sample size of Mitchell and Ellis soaking up Monk and Huerter’s minutes did not ultimately translate into success.

MidtownMike
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April 23, 2024 2:59 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

It translated to defensive success but yes, not win/loss which ultimately matters. I do believe that Keegan will develop into more consistency year 3, Keon will continue to get better on offense and those two things alone help that particular lineup. If they can upgrade Barnes it’s even better.

RobHessing
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April 23, 2024 3:08 pm
Reply to  MidtownMike

The Barnes position (and a lot of it has to do with fit) is primary for me. My pea brain at work:
Jokic – Sabonis
Murray – Fox
Porter, Jr. – Murray
Caldwell-Pope – Ellis
Gordon –

Now, give me Jerami Grant or healthy Bobby Portis or maaaaaybe even Kuzma (and there are others) to plug in for Barnes – and I think you’re onto something.

This is not to say that Sabonis = Jokic, because he does not. But if you can close the gap in the aggregate by getting Fox to stay at his best level, getting Murray to consistently elevate his game, and getting more off the bench than Denver, you could, with good health, eclipse 50 wins.

MidtownMike
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April 23, 2024 3:11 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

100%, I think if barnes is replaced with Grant, Portis, Collins, Kuzma then 50 wins is all but automatic

aplumley
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April 23, 2024 11:51 am

A team is only as good as it’s assets. The challenge for the Kings is that asset upgrades occur through the draft (or using draft capital), or through free agent signings. A 13 pick in a weak draft isn’t bringing back a starting caliber player. Barnes and Huerter aren’t bringing much in return in a down year for them. Although Sac has improved as a free agent destination, there isn’t much room to sign a difference maker. So I don’t feel like McNair has left himself a ton of flexibility. Upgrading the roster is going to be tough. Catch lightening in the bottle with a #13 pick, or run it back with some minor tweaks around Fox/Sabonis. Final option, blow it up for picks in 25.

MidtownMike
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April 23, 2024 1:52 pm
Reply to  aplumley

Weak/strong drafts typically refer to the top of the draft

RobHessing
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April 23, 2024 2:00 pm
Reply to  MidtownMike

Agreed. I don’t know that there is a guy in this draft that would have been at the top of last year’s board, but there are probably 20 guys that would have been considered back-end lottery guys. There will be appropriate late lottery value on the board for the Kings if they choose to keep the 13 pick.

aplumley
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April 23, 2024 7:13 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

At 13 there are guys that have”upside” and have shown terrible efficiency and a few guys with solid backup potential (Edey, Fillipowski). No difference makers for next season.

RobHessing
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April 24, 2024 8:43 am
Reply to  aplumley

Agreed that a core rotation player at 13 would be a long shot, though that is probably the case in almost each and every draft. Guys like Tyrese (12) and Paul George (13) and others do happen, but they are the exception and not the rule.

The best case scenario is that there is someone there at 13 that another team lusts for, triggering a deal that brings the Kings more immediate help.

cloudyeyes
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April 26, 2024 6:30 pm
Reply to  aplumley

There are some hidden gems in every draft. I like that Kyle Filipowski kid out of Duke. He plays pick and pop, good passer, has a decent 3 at near 35% clip, isn’t afraid to cut. His game really reminds me of Sabonis, except with more length. Would be the perfect student for Sabonis.

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