Kings officially sign EuroLeague MVP Sasha Vezenkov

Sasha mania finally comes to Sacramento

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Welcome to the Sacramento Kings, Sasha Vezenkov.

Last Thursday afternoon, the following note was added to the NBA’s transaction list, “Sacramento Kings signed forward Aleksander Vezenkov to a Contract.” The team had to wait until Tuesday for some paperwork to finalize the transaction, but now it is official. Vezenkov is set to join the Kings on a reported three-year, $20 million contract.

This addition ends a nearly 13 month chase for Kings general manager Monte McNair and assistant GM Wes Wilcox after the duo acquired Vezenkov’s rights for the 49th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.

Vezenkov is likely to play for the Bulgarian national team this summer during Olympic qualifiers. He has already been through Sacramento and even joined the Kings in Las Vegas to hang out with some of his new teammates.

How does Vezenkov fit?

There is a reason the Kings pursued Vezenkov so aggressively. The 6-foot-9, 225 pound stretch four has torn up the EuroLeague over the last two seasons, winning multiple MVP awards and leading his team to a EuroBasket finals and a Greek League championship.

In EuroLeague play, Vezenkov averaged 17.6 points and seven rebounds while shooting 39.8 percent from long range in 28.7 minutes per game. His stats looked similar in the Greek League where he posted 17 points, 6.1 rebounds and shot 43.4 percent in 24 minutes per game.

Vezenkov is a knockdown 3-point shooter with a quick release and unlimited range. He is always ready to pull the trigger on the catch-and-shoot and doesn’t waste dribbles, as seen in the video below.

In addition to his high-level shooting, Vezenkov is excellent as a cutter. He will fit perfectly with All-NBA center Domantas Sabonis as a floor spacer and target moving off-ball.

Sacramento already has their two starting forward positions filled with Keegan Murray and Harrison Barnes. The beauty of this duo is in their versatility to play both forward positions. Vezenkov is slated to back up Murray at the four, but there could be plenty of minutes when Murray moves over and plays additional time at the three.

There are questions about how Vezenkov’s defense will translate to the NBA, but this is a tough, physical, mature player with an extremely high basketball IQ.

What is the cost?

This is where the Kings made out like bandits. Vezenkov should be a rotational player, with “should” being the key word. According to Mike Scotto from HoopsHype, Vezenkov will make $6.34 million in year one, $6.65 million in 2024-25 and $6.97 million in 2025-26. Scotto is also reporting that the third year is a team option.

If Vezenkov is the player the Kings believe he is, then this is an incredible value. If he isn’t, having the option of opting out of year three is another stroke of genius.

This is about as low-risk, high-reward as you will find, especially for a 27-year-old proven winner. Sacramento is getting another player in their prime with a skill set that matches perfectly with the current group.

His contract is below market value for an elite shooting power forward, although the Kings will likely fork out the maximum allowed by the collective bargaining agreement of $825,000 to help buy Vezenkov out of his contract with Olympiacos.

What’s next?

The Kings still have at least one roster spot open on the main roster and one of their three two-way contracts available. They filled their fourteenth roster spot earlier on Tuesday when a source confirmed that veteran center Nerlens Noel agreed to a league minimum one-year contract.

Sacramento has yet to sign restricted free agent Neemias Queta, but the roster is filling up quickly and the center position is deep.

In addition to Queta, the Kings had a few other summer league standouts, including Folsom High School’s Jordan Ford and basketball nomad, Mike Daum. Both showed enough during summer league to earn an invite to training camp, although McNair and Wilcox will likely comb the market for additional talent now that summer league is over.

It should be noted that NBA teams can officially carry up to 21 total players during the offseason, up from the previous cap of 20. That number includes up to 15 standard roster players, up to three two-way players and any additional players that total no more than 21.

If the Kings fill their 15 man roster and sign a third two-way player, they still have room for three additional players to invite to training camp, as long as they get down to the roster limits before the start of the regular season.

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