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Everything is in play.
This is something we have repeated time and time again on the podcast. We’ve even written about the options the Sacramento Kings have at No. 4. Less than a week before the 2022 NBA Draft, the noise is only getting louder.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Kings are open for business, which has been known for some time. What is new is that Woj has a list of teams that are lining up for a shot at a deal with the Kings and the asking price for competing franchises is following the rules of supply and demand.
From Woj, the Pistons, Pacers, Wizards and Knicks have all engaged the Kings in conversations about moving to the fourth overall pick and there are a few other teams outside of the lottery who have shown interest as well.
Here WOJ about the kings pick
And they are teams trying to get deals done with sacramento to select Ivey
— 𝙅𝙖𝙨𝙠𝙖𝙧𝙣🪁 (@SwipaZorro)
Jun 17, 2022
The more teams that are interested the better if you are Monte McNair and the Sacramento Kings. A bidding war might yield the type of game changing return that the Kings covet in their push to end the franchise’s 16-year playoff drought.
According to Jonathan Givony, the Kings are not the preferred destination for prospect Jaden Ivey, who is slated to go at No. 4. There are murmurs around Sacramento that the Kings see a potential fit issue with Ivey and De’Aaron Fox as well.
Saying all of this, if a trade doesn’t materialize that the Kings feel comfortable with and Ivey is the player that falls into their lap, they will likely do what they have done the last two drafts and select the best player available and worry about the potential fit down the road.
If you haven’t listened to the podcast, then you might have missed the fact that the Kings have completely changed their approach to the draft process this season. Media has not been allowed in the building for prospect interviews and after the first week or so of workouts, the team has cut off information about what prospects are coming through the practice facility at Golden 1 Center.
Over the last week, the Kings have allowed their own digital team to record some of the action and release names of prospects, but this is a break from the norm. In the past, media members have been allowed in the building for as many as 17 workouts in one summer.
The team has made a decision to keep the media at bay, which could be for a variety of reasons, including the fact that they lost both of their media directors this summer and have yet to replace them.
While this is the path the Kings have chosen, the NBA has its own process that includes interviews with the top 19 prospects jumping on Zoom calls with media around the world.
After the first two days of virtual media sessions, a trend has developed. The media isn’t the only one who hasn’t stepped foot in the Kings’ building.
Of the first two groups of players that included Keegan Murray, Jabari Smith Jr., Ousmane Dieng, Malaki Branham, Bennedict Mathurin, Shaedon Sharpe, Paolo Banchero and Jalen Williams, only Murray confirmed that he had spoken to the Kings recently.
"For me, being a King, I would want to be a part of that, that culture and be a part of that group that can turn that franchise around," Murray said when asked about Sacramento.
Banchero told media members that he hasn’t met with the Kings at all. So did Sharpe, but an NBA source has confirmed that he met with Sacramento’s front office at the combine and they also attended his pro day following the combine.
The Kings did the same with Mathurin, visiting with him at the combine and also taking in his pro day in Southern California, but he has not come through Sacramento.
Of the projected lottery picks, only Jeremy Sochan is confirmed to have come through Sacramento. Dyson Daniels is also expected to visit, but nothing is official as of Friday afternoon.
What does all of this mean? That is a great question.
The Kings certainly traveled to meet players, like Ivey, Mathurin and AJ Griffin. They spent a three day stretch bouncing from one pro day to the next and it’s possible they have seen even more of these players in person than is known.
It is well within NBA norms for players who are vying for the top three picks in the draft to turn down workouts with the fourth pick. Where the confusion lies is that the Kings have the No. 4 overall pick and the rest of the top 10 prospects should be battling to move up.
Sharpe just held a 3v3 workout in front of the Trail Blazers and he has another workout scheduled for Monday in Indiana. Mathurin worked out in Indiana as well, so these players are making visits, just not to Sacramento.
Is this a strategy of the Kings keeping their plans under wraps? Have agents around the country cut the Kings off from player visits? Does this signal that the Kings have no intention of staying at No. 4 in the upcoming draft?
All of these are possibilities and we will know much more in the coming days as we approach draft night. It is safe to say that this is a unique draft cycle and the possibility for chaos is on the table.
The Kings will finally get the chance to formally introduce new head coach Mike Brown to the fan base on Tuesday. Details are still being finalized, but he will speak to the media and then visit season ticket holders for a Q&A.
Brown has been extremely busy over the last few weeks as the lead assistant on Steve Kerr’s Golden State Warriors staff. Congrats go out to Brown and the Warriors franchise for picking up their fourth championship ring in the last six years. Hopefully he can bring some of that championship culture to Sacramento with him in his suitcase.
While Brown has been preoccupied with Warriors success, the Kings’ newly formed coaching staff of Jordi Fernandez, Jay Triano, Doug Christie and Luke Loucks have been busy visiting players and getting the summer program going.
There is still no answer from the franchise on the fate of the remaining holdovers from Luke Walton’s staff, including Mike Longabardi, Rico Hines, Lindsey Harding, Jonah Herscu and Stacey Augman.
A few of these coaches have been seen in some of the prospect workout videos, but a standard coaching contract runs through the end of the NBA fiscal season, which resets on July 1.
Teena Murray, the Kings’ Vice President of Health and Performance for the last four seasons, joined a long list of departures from the Kings organization this summer. Murray took a position with the Pittsburg Penguins of the NHL as the VP of Integrated Performance.
With Murray’s exit, the Kings have either moved on from or lost their head of health and performance, as well as lead trainer Joe Resendez, both of their media directors in Rahsaan Gethers and Alex Segui, an assistant general manager in Ken Catanella and chief strategy officer Joe Dumars.
Clearly the front office has a lot of work to do once we get past the draft and free agency period. To date, the team has not announced replacements for any of these positions, although interim head coach Alvin Gentry was retained and given the title as VP, Basketball Engagement.
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