12:53pm: Kulagin is re-upping with Zenit St. Petersburg, a source tells Sportando’s Enea Trapani (Twitter link).
SEPTEMBER 9TH, 12:34pm: Kulagin has decided to remain in Russia, a source tells Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). Charania says Kulagin is signing a one-year pact with a Russian team, but it’s not clear if he’s leaving Zenit St. Petersburg, with whom he had apparently been under contract, or inking a new deal with the club. In any case, it looks like Kulagin is not coming to the NBA this year.
8:08am: Agent Stanislav Ryzhov pegged the chances that the Kings will sign Kulagin at 50-50 as he spoke to Timur Rustamov of Sport-Express (translation via Alexander Chernykh of Rush’n Hoops). Ryzhov added that he believes there will be clarity about his client’s situation by the end of the week. Kulagin told Rustamov that he’s spoken with Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro and scouts from the team and that playing in the NBA is his goal, but the shooting guard cautioned that he only wants to play in the league if a team will ensure him that he’ll see significant playing time.
SEPTEMBER 4TH, 5:25pm: Kulagin and Sacramento are still discussing an NBA deal, but Kulagin is considering offers to play in Russia as well, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link).
AUGUST 26TH, 5:51pm: The Kings are eyeing Russian shooting guard Dmitry Kulagin, and the 22-year-old is seriously considering joining the NBA for this season, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. Still, any team that would sign him would have to buy him out of his contract with Zenit St. Petersburg, according to Spears.
Kulagin was eligible for the draft this year but went unselected, so any NBA team is free to sign him as long as Zenit St. Petersburg gives the OK. The 6’6″ Moscow native averaged 7.3 points in 22.3 minutes per game last season for his Russian team, but as with many European prospects, upside is the key, rather than prior production.
The guaranteed salary the Kings are carrying puts them less than $1MM beneath the tax line, so while the team still has its biannual exception available, any deal for too much more than the rookie minimum salary would be tough for Sacramento to manage. A buyout of more than the Excluded International Player Payment amount of $600K would also complicate a deal.