News and notes: Keegan Murray stars, busy week of transactions ahead
Kings head to Las Vegas after successful California Classic
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The California Classic is now over and the Kings have packed up their merry band of NBA hopefuls for a trip to Las Vegas where the official Summer League kicks off on Friday.
Sacramento opens their schedule Friday night against the Atlanta Hawks at 7:30 PM on NBA TV. They have the weekend off before facing the Clippers on Monday (7:30 NBA TV) and Bulls on Tuesday (7 PM ESPN2).
It should be a fun week of basketball before the league goes into hibernation mode until late September. Here is the latest news and notes before the chaos of Vegas takes over.
Put him on ice. Keegan Murray was the best player at the California Classic and it wasn’t even that close, no disrespect to Julian Champagnie. According to coach Luke Loucks, Murray’s summer league experience is officially over after he dropped 41 points on the Miami Heat. Murray will continue on to Las Vegas with his teammates and participate in practice, but he won’t see game action as the Kings choose the safe approach. Here is what the roster will look like without Murray:
Kings announce Las Vegas Summer League roster. Kessler Edwards will play. Keegan Murray will not.
— James Ham (@James_HamNBA)
Jul 6, 2023
Sasha arrives. General manager Monte McNair, assistant GM Wes Wilcox, head coach Mike Brown, assistant coach Jordi Fernandez and vice president of basketball engagement Alvin Gentry all took turns sitting next to the EuroLeague star. Vezenkov was in Sacramento to take a physical and sign a reported three-year, $20 million contract with the Kings. He won’t participate in the summer league festivities, but it appears that he might spend some time with the club as they make their way to Vegas.
Moral support. Davion Mitchell sat courtside holding a basketball for all six games of the California Classic. He’s a basketball junky who will also make the trip to the sweltering heat of Las Vegas to support his teammates. Malik Monk joined Mitchell on Kings row on Monday, donning a bucket hat and a new Malik Monk jersey. De’Aaron Fox made an appearance on both days, along with his wife Recee and baby Reign.
The Kings signed rookie Colby Jones to a four-year deal on Sunday, using the league’s new Second Pick Exception. They also brought back Keon Ellis on a second two-way contract and Jalen Slawson, the No. 54 pick, on a two-way contract as well. The team has one more two-way contract to use, but there is no early word yet on how they will use the roster spot.
Limbo? Third-year big man Neemias Queta filled a role at the California Classic, but his future with the franchise is still unknown. The Kings extended a qualifying offer to the Portuguese 7-footer last week, but there has been no update on his status. Queta didn’t dominate the competition in Sacramento, but he also wasn’t the focal point, with Murray showing up. Queta averaged 10 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and two blocks in 27 minutes per game. He posted a +15 in the opening game and a +8 in Game 2 and he also did a lot of the dirty work. Will the Kings offer Queta a roster spot? Will he get more of an opportunity in Las Vegas? Will he be asked to take another two-way contract in Sacramento after dominating the G League last season? There are a lot of questions and very few answers for the 23-year-old center.
Let the action begin! At 9 AM PST, the NBA’s July moratorium ended and teams are now allowed to officially sign players and complete transactions. Harrison Barnes’ deal was finished early because he was an extension player, not a true free agent. The team has yet to announce Domantas Sabonis’ monster extension, Trey Lyles’ return on a two-year, $16 million contract, Alex Len’s one-year league minimum deal or Vezenkov’s arrival from Greece. It could be a busy afternoon for the legal team. The Kings can also hold out a little longer and use the last bit of salary cap space they have remaining before eating it all up using the early Bird exception, room exception and minimum salary exceptions. This is a complicated puzzle that has to be done in a specific order to maximize the team’s summer of spending.
The first official news from the team hit around 2:30 PM when the club announced the trade that sent Richaun Holmes and the draft rights to Olivier-Maxence Prosper, the No. 24 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, to the Dallas Mavericks for cash considerations. There is no word on the amount of money changing hands, but the Kings cleared $12 million off the books this season and another $12.9 million next season in the trade, in addition to the salary that would have gone to Prosper. This trade sets in motion everything else for the Kings’ offseason.
Done deal. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Kings are finalizing a trade where they will send two second round selections, a 2028 second round pick from the Dallas Mavericks and their own 2030 second, to the Indiana Pacers for Chris Duarte. The 26-year-old wing was the 13th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, but injuries and the emergence of Bennedict Mathurin last season in Indy made him expendable. It’s a low risk, high reward trade for the Kings that reunites Duarte with center Domantas Sabonis.
One last decision. The Kings have until July 10 to either waive P.J. Dozier or guarantee his league minimum $2.4 million contract for the 2023-24 season. If the Kings pick up Dozier’s money and sign everyone who has either been reported or confirmed here at The Kings Beat, Dozier would take up roster spot No. 14. The 26-year-old didn’t play much for the Kings last season after joining the team on a pair of 10-day contracts, but he’s intriguing. He might fit into the team’s third point guard position, like Matthew Dellavedova did last season and he can defend 1-3. There might be other options out there, but Dozier is the defensive-minded, multi-positional player that the Kings could use, even if it’s a “break in case of emergency” type situation.