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Sacramento Kings waive Kent Bazemore, Quinn Cook

The training camp cuts are coming.

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.

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.

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Kosta
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October 13, 2022 9:38 am

Educated speculation suggests one of Matthew Dellavedova, Chima Moneke, Sam Merrill, Chimezie Metu, or KZ Okpala will be next to go.

So my guy Ellis is safe, then? (Is it because he’s on a 2-way?)

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Last edited 1 month ago by Kosta
PretendGhost
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October 13, 2022 10:31 am
Reply to  TonyXypteras

It would be poor asset management, unless they were to convert Chima to a two way (is this even possible?)

Kingsguru21
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October 13, 2022 11:00 am
Reply to  PretendGhost

Queta and Ellis are TWCs. That’s been true since the draft basically. They would have to convert into a standard exhibit 10 contract (this happened with Metu in 2021) or waive either Queta or Ellis to convert Moneke into a TWC.

I would suspect the plan has been to keep both Queta and Ellis on TWCs all year and reevaluate next summer. But if one forces the issue, you can always convert them into a standard exhibit 10 contract.

Kingsguru21
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October 13, 2022 11:06 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

And I guess I should say while there aren’t 17 roster spots technically since Two Ways (TWCs) aren’t considered roster spots, they effectively act as 2 more roster spots. Especially since COVID hit and availability was a concern.

However in Bazemore, Dellavedova, Cook, Merrill, Moneke and Okpala’s cases, that isn’t true. They must be on the 15 man roster or be waived by opening night.

Essentially, Ellis and Queta have nothing to do with why Cook and Bazemore were cut.

murraytant
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October 13, 2022 3:38 pm
Reply to  Kosta

possible but highly, highly unlikely.
Ellis is becoming one of my favorite Kings. He is the only one who stopped Washington Jr.
I think that they should play him for last opponent possession of first three quarters- last under 24 seconds. Just like LAC used T. Mann early in his career.
This was a play down to the competition game. And a huge warning.
I thought Merril would go but he can shoot. Moneke has looked pedestrian. Cook of Delly redundant. Baze was a surprise.

and they picked up a Gael (Jordan Ford)

Kosta
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October 13, 2022 9:40 am

Chima was doing a lot of good stuff last night on both ends. I’m rooting for him to stick around.

RikSmits
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October 13, 2022 9:51 am

That’s Dellycious!

andy_sims
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October 13, 2022 9:55 am

I figured Delladova and Morrill would be the first ones gone. Seems like they offer the least as far as being able to contribute if needed.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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October 13, 2022 10:12 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Maybe Brown gives Delly the edge with experience and defensive skills?

andy_sims
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October 13, 2022 10:28 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Maybe that’s it, but I really have no idea if Delly is a plus defender anymore at thirty-two and after being out of the league.

Not to advocate for Bazemore, but he can give you minutes at the wing, which puts him a cut above MD. I know we’re talking end-of-bench, so I’m not going to lose sleep over it, but I’d guess he and Brown are friends from way back, and that may be a factor.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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October 13, 2022 10:39 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Meh, Quinn Cook is no spring chicken either. He’ll be 30 in March and has also been out of the league just as long as Delly has, having both played for the Cavs in 2020-21.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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October 13, 2022 10:11 am

IMO, if the Kings are serious about making a playoff push, they are going to need a 3rd legit ball handler. Delly makes the most sense to keep now for the occasional nagging injury or illness to Fox and/or Mitchell. I think Merrill is the odd man out now. He’s also the most redundant with Huerter, Monk, and TD ahead of him on the wing rotation.

Kingsguru21
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October 13, 2022 10:20 am

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.

I’d be willing to bet both Moneke and Okpala are on the roster given what they do. To me the 3rd PG argument isn’t that important anyway given what they have on their wings. I’m guessing they are looking for shooting and defense. If they need a 3rd PG for an extended stretch, they can waive someone to get that player. But really, 3rd PGs don’t matter that much.

MichaelMack
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October 13, 2022 12:09 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

I largely agree, and Huerter can play some time at point as well, I think we will learn. Especially with the teams ability to run the offense through Sabonis. It seems there are always some sort of vet PG available if something happens injury wise that is more than a game or two at a time, including Delly and/or Cook. I would be surprised if they were on a roster to start the season.

Kingsguru21
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October 14, 2022 7:32 am
Reply to  MichaelMack

Coming into the season, I figured Metu, Lyles and Len had roster spots due to contracts. Obviously the top 9 were your main minutes guys regardless.

That left Okpala, Moneke, Merrill, Bazemore, Dellavedova and Cook a shot at the 3 roster spots remaining. Especially since there was no-one you deemed worthy of the Bi Annual Exception (BAE).

I figured Okpala would make it due to his defensive versatility, his NBA experience and Nigerian team relationship with Mike Brown. Moneke is an upside play that, in the best case scenario, ends up being your starting SF in 2023. And we’ve seen a bit of that in pre-season. It wouldn’t surprise me if Moneke ends up in Stockton for a game or two for some game reps.

I have nothing against Kent Bazemore, but I thought he was a real long shot to make the roster let alone get minutes. Same with Matthew Dellavedova althought the 300K guarantee gave you some thought he could make it through camp. (That felt more like a ‘if you come to camp, we’ll give you 300K deal, though, ain’t gonna lie.) Cook was a good bet to grab the 15th spot, and he’s already cut.

It comes down to Delly and Merrill, and the way this roster is shaping up, I can easily see it being Delly due to that guarantee. But if Merrill is really the guy that has impressed the coaching staff and front office peeps, then I think he’s the guy. I doubt the 300K guarantee matters here all that much. I doubt the “3rd PG” factor matters much, either. Especially if you have other guys you are comfortable handling the ball and initiating and/or running through the offense through. Also, you can always waive Delly and/or Merrill if you want a true 3rd PG you’re comfortable with. I would suspect the concern for Mike Brown is being able to defend the smaller PG’s more than anything else.

For all the words and thought going into this, it matters very little in the final analysis Mike. 15th roster spots don’t usually matter much to anybody unless you’re the Warriors. And hell, Gary Payton II is still out with the surgery he had in the off-season. It wouldn’t surprise me if he didn’t play until December or so. I think if you’re looking for things that will help you, things that will help you most, and things that will give you an opportunity to win, having a guy for an arbitrary thing like 3rd PG isn’t that big of a deal. But…..having guys who can play and make an impact on the court when there is.

And hell, I haven’t been watching pre-season. Maybe Delly is having an impact and nobody is seeing it. He’s taking a total of 3 shots in 2 games, I don’t see how you can have that guy on the court. Merrill is at least a guy who is a 3 pt shooter on moderate USG% levels at Utah State and has shot pretty well when gotten a little time in Milwaukee.

My money is Sam Merrill is the 15th guy because he’s at least something in the range of 3&D as a wing player. That isn’t Delly. But, I can see Delly because he at least is a guy who can bring the ball up the court and play defense or something. In theory he’s a 3rd PG or something. It’ll be interesting to see what they choose, but I have a feeling they are going to be more worried about upside and defense than ‘known quantities.’ If you wanted a guy who could really just shoot the ball and bring it up the court without fumbling it, just keep Cook.

That’s my thoughts.

Kingsguru21
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October 14, 2022 8:55 am
Reply to  MichaelMack

One additional thought Mike: There might be the opinion that Keon Ellis can function as your 3rd PG when necessary. So having Merrill whose main skill (shooting) is better than what Delly provides overall is more valuable than having Delly who overlaps Ellis’ skills to a large degree.

You don’t really need a 3rd PG all that often anyway, once in every 4 or 5 games. That’s perfectly fine for a TWC guy whom you like longer term anyway as a 3&D type like Ellis.

That makes Merrill even easier to add to the roster, not more difficult.

rockbottom
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October 13, 2022 10:31 am

Cook is a much better player than Dellavedova in 2022 . A mistake that could cost a win when injuries happen .

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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October 13, 2022 10:41 am
Reply to  rockbottom

What makes Cook a much better player than Delly?

eddie41
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October 13, 2022 2:37 pm
Reply to  rockbottom

Whether Cook or Delly, I think Monk and TD would be above them on the depth chart.

RobHessing
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October 13, 2022 10:42 am

Baze? But what about the chemistry?
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RAP87
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October 13, 2022 11:03 am

Merrill and Moneke makes the team. Dellavedova would be the last player being waived. You here it here first folks!

andy_sims
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October 13, 2022 12:12 pm
Reply to  RAP87

Merrill doesn’t look like an NBA player, from what I’ve seen. He does one thing exceptionally well, shooting, and he hasn’t demonstrated that so far. Combine that with average athleticism, and there has to be better options for that roster spot.

eddie41
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October 13, 2022 2:35 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Merrill’s shooting might help the Stockton team with spacing. Plus he played with Neemie in college I think.

andy_sims
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October 13, 2022 6:49 pm
Reply to  eddie41

I’m all in favor of that, a year of regular minutes ought to provide evidence one way or another.

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
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October 13, 2022 1:47 pm

A little surprised after how Cook played last night. Haven’t seen much from Delly in pre-season but we don’t see practices.

AnybodyButBagley
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October 13, 2022 8:16 pm

Maybe a secret deal to get Bazemore back to his boy Walton in exchange for some of Walton’s money back?

fossilizedflatus
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October 13, 2022 10:55 pm

I’d guess Merrill before Delly.

Dellavedova is a stronger locker room, cheerleader, coach on the bench presence and he can play a position of some need. Merrill is even more of a one trick pony – a pure shooter who can’t create and doesn’t have a rep as an above average defender.

Chima, KZ and Metu – I’m just guessing, are coaching familiars and favorites (Mike Brown, Jordi Fernandez, Luke Loucks), and will stay aboard.

These are 3 stringer spots – even if someone doesn’t work out, they can be replaced easily enough. They can also continue to develop into more selected roles. Same goes for, and especially applies to, the TWCs – Queta (who played poorly last night, IMO) and Keon Ellis (who looked good, IMO).

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