Pacific Notes: Murray, C. Johnson, Rollins, Diabate

The Kings have taken some heat for selecting Keegan Murray ahead of Jaden Ivey with the fourth pick Thursday night, but general manager Monte McNair said the decision was “unanimous” among the front office, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Owner Vivek Ranadive also endorsed Murray because of concerns about Ivey’s awkward fit alongside De’Aaron Fox, Anderson adds.

“Ultimately, after sitting in the room with my front office staff, our whole staff, our scouting department, our analytics department, it became unanimous that Keegan Murray was the best player available, and we jumped at the chance to draft him,” McNair said.

In an introductory press conference today in Sacramento, Murray talked about how far he has come, noting that he had difficulty finding a Division I scholarship out of high school (video link from The Sacramento Bee). He called the experience since draft night “the best time of my life.”

“I’m excited to be here in Sacramento,” Murray said. “It’s a dream come true to be able to pull on the purple and black so I’m grateful to be in this position. Sacramento has welcomed me with open arms so far. So I’m excited to see everyone at the games and things like that. For me, it’s been a journey from where I’ve came from and to where I am now.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Cameron Johnson knows he’s not the first priority this summer as he waits to see if the Suns will offer a rookie scale extension, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Rankin estimates that if Phoenix makes the offer, Johnson can expect between $15-20MM per year. “There’s a lot of stuff that’s got to happen before we get to that, you know,” Johnson said. “Even if you talk about the stuff with (Deandre Ayton), like that is obviously more at the forefront of things, but I trust that whatever is meant to happen, will happen.”
  • The Warriors viewed Ryan Rollins as a potential first-round pick, which is why they were willing to give the Hawks $2MM to move up from No. 51 to No. 44, according to Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area. Rollins told reporters that Golden State tried to trade up to No. 30, but wasn’t able to complete a deal with the Nuggets.
  • Second-round pick Moussa Diabate will be a project during his first season with the Clippers, notes Austin Meek of The Athletic. A five-star recruit out of high school, Diabate spent just one year at Michigan before declaring for the draft. “I think there’s an evolution to his game: getting more comfortable with the ball, more spatial awareness,” Wolverines assistant Phil Martelli said. “He is a very, very, willing learner.”
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