With the NBA regular season set to tip-off in just 5 days on October 18, training camp contracts cuts are starting to ramp up across the league. The Kings carried 20 players into training camp, so Monte McNair had at least three difficult decisions to make.
The first round of cuts hit Sacramento Thursday morning. According to Kings insider James Ham, McNair and his staff have decided to waive veterans Kent Bazemore and Quinn Cook. The Kings later confirmed the cuts via press release.
According to a league source, the Sacramento Kings have waived Quinn Cook and Kent Bazemore.
— James Ham (@James_HamNBA) October 13, 2022
Kent Bazemore is the more shocking name here. Baze appeared in the first two preseason games for the Kings, and while he didn't show a lot in limited minutes, he felt closer to an NBA rotation player than Quinn Cook at this stage of their respective careers.
Cook did have a decent game vs. the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night, scoring an efficient 10 points in 9 minutes, but based on the preseason rotation it seems as though Mike Brown is more comfortable with Matthew Dellavedova as the Kings' emergency point guard.
With Bazemore and Cook out of the picture, the Kings still need to waive at least one more player.
Educated speculation suggests one of Matthew Dellavedova, Chima Moneke, Sam Merrill, Chimezie Metu, or KZ Okpala will be next to go.
Neither Dellavedova or Okpala have guaranteed contracts, but Delly is probably safe after Cook's exit as it's long been speculated that they were the primary candidates for third string point guard, and Okpala would be a surprise if only because he started the first two preseason games for the Kings. It's worth noting that Okpala did not play on Wednesday night against the Suns.
Metu's $1.9 million contract is guaranteed, but he doesn't appear all that much higher on the depth chart as the rest of the player listed here, and the Kings have several players on the roster at his position.
But in all likelihood this is going to come down to Sam Merrill vs. Chima Moneke. I'd give the edge to Moneke based on limited preseason play, but Merrill has more NBA experience, so it's really a toss up. Stay tuned.