Malik Monk

Wolves’ Naz Reid Named Sixth Man Of The Year

Timberwolves big man Naz Reid has been named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year for the 2023/24 season, the league announced on Wednesday evening (via Twitter).

A former undrafted free agent, Reid averaged 13.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 0.9 BPG on .477/.414/.736 shooting in 81 games this season (24.2 MPG).

Reid is the first player in Timberwolves franchise history to win the Sixth Man award, per a team press release.

The 24-year-old was a major reason why Minnesota didn’t skip a beat when Karl-Anthony Towns was sidelined with a knee injury late in the season. The Wolves went 14-6 without Towns and 56-26 overall, good for the No. 3 seed in the West.

The voting was remarkably close (Twitter link via the NBA). In fact, it was the smallest margin between first- and second-place finishers since the current voting format was implemented 21 years ago, according to the league (via Twitter).

Reid finished with 45 first-place votes, 39 second-place votes and 10 third-place votes for a total of 352 points. Runner-up Malik Monk had the exact same number of second- and third-place votes, but finished with two fewer first-place votes for 342 total points.

Kings guard Monk appeared in 72 games this season for Sacramento, all off the bench. He averaged 15.4 PPG, 2.9 RPG and 5.1 APG on .443/.350/.829 shooting in 26.0 MPG.

Bucks big man Bobby Portis, who finished third in Sixth Man voting last season, finished a distant third again in ’23/24, receiving 81 total points. He averaged 13.8 PPG and 7.4 RPG on .508/.407/.790 shooting without missing a game this season for Milwaukee (24.5 MPG).

Clippers wing Norman Powell (65 points) and Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic (40 points) finished fourth and fifth in voting, respectively. No other player received more than three points.

Powell actually received the most third-place votes of any player, but fewer first- and second-place votes than Portis, which is why he finished behind Milwaukee’s forward/center.

Jose Alvarado, Russell Westbrook, T.J. McConnell, Jonathan Isaac, Jaime Jaquez, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Bojan Bogdanovic all received at least one vote.

Kings Notes: Monk, Brown, Ranadive, Offseason, Vezenkov

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Sixth Man of the Year finalist Malik Monk made it pretty clear that he plans to test the open market in free agency this summer, tweets Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

I can go somewhere else with a lot more money and be in a worse situation, so you never know,” the Kings guard said. “I’ve got a great agent who’s going to do his job. I think my job is done.”

Sacramento holds Monk’s Early Bird rights, so the team is somewhat limited in what it can offer him this summer. Monk said in a perfect world, he’d “definitely” like to return, but he’s not sure what the future will hold, as Anderson relays (Twitter links).

I came here, (played with) one of my best friends, turned the organization around, turned the city around,” Monk said. “The city loves me and I love the city, so the emotions are everywhere right now.”

Monk added that he would prefer a starting role, but he’s willing to come off the bench if it’s better for whichever team he signs with, per James Ham of ESPN 1320 and The Kings Beat (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the Kings:

  • Even though they lost their second play-in game in disappointing fashion, the Kings have undoubtedly played much better under 2023 Coach of the Year Mike Brown the past two seasons. Sources tell Anthony Slater and Sam Amick of The Athletic that Brown is essentially entering the last season of his contract (2025/26 is a mutual option), and he hopes to sign a long-term extension that includes a raise. However, owner Vivek Ranadive hasn’t presented an extension offer to this point, and it’s unclear if he’ll be willing to commit to Brown going forward, per The Athletic.
  • Anderson of The Sacramento Bee recently released an offseason preview for the Kings, with Monk’s future the biggest question mark.
  • In a feature for The Ringer, Howard Beck wonders if Sacramento will be able to escape NBA purgatory as a good-but-not-great team. “We knew the expectations were coming for us right away,” GM Monte McNair told Beck. “That’s what we’ve seen this year. And that’s the reality of the NBA. For us, it’s trying to figure out: How do we continue to take those next steps? And that means getting back into the playoffs and eventually winning a round or two.”
  • Despite dealing with injuries and inconsistent minutes, rookie forward Sasha Vezenkov said he had no regrets about coming stateside last summer, Ham tweets. I made the right choice, no doubt about it,” last season’s EuroLeague MVP said. The 28-year-old will earn $6.7MM next season, with a $7MM team option for ’25/26.

Pistons Notes: FA, Trade Targets, Draft, President, More

Appearing on the HoopsHype podcast with Michael Scotto, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic said the Pistons will likely explore the viability of pursuing Miles Bridges or Tobias Harris in free agency, though he conceded that could change depending who they hire to be the new president of basketball operations.

While he doesn’t expect Detroit to give anyone a long-term, maximum-salary deal, Edwards suggested a short-term deal with a higher annual salary could be an option if the team pursues Bridges or Harris. Edwards also thinks the Pistons will undergo a “significant roster overhaul” this offseason through a combination of trades and free agent signings, with Malik Monk another impending free agent to potentially keep an eye on.

Scotto said the Nets want to keep Nic Claxton on a long-term contract, and Brian Lewis of The New York Post recently told Scotto he believes there’s better than a 50/50 chance the center will remain with Brooklyn. However, Edwards thinks Claxton would fill a major need for Detroit as a rim protector, even though it might push Jalen Duren to a reserve role.

Edwards previously listed five ideas for the new head of basketball operations, and Scotto believes Bucks GM Jon Horst, a Michigan native, is the main name to keep an eye on.

As for the futures of GM Troy Weaver and head coach Monty Williams, Edwards said he wouldn’t be surprised if neither is back next season, particularly Weaver. Despite being on a lucrative long-term deal, Edwards placed the odds at 60/40 that Williams would not be Detroit’s head coach in 2024/25.

Here’s more on the Pistons:

  • Edwards of The Athletic predicts that, of the veteran free agents Detroit has this offseason, only Simone Fontecchio will be retained. Edwards is convinced of that happening, putting the odds at 100%. He also thinks Fontecchio will receive a four-year deal worth in the range of $56-68MM as a restricted free agent. The Italian forward has said he expects to be back next season.
  • In a mailbag for The Detroit Free Press (subscription required), Omari Sankofa II discusses the Pistons’ basketball operations hierarchy, among other topics. The objective of hiring a president of basketball operations, according to Sankofa’s sources, is to “unify a front office that has clearly hit a significant stump, to say the least, in its ongoing remake of the team.” That person would have full autonomy over who gets hired and fired, Sankofa adds.
  • If the Pistons decide to keep their first-round pick, who should they target? If it lands No. 1 overall, Edwards of The Athletic would select French big man Alexandre Sarr, who played for the Perth Wildcats of the NBL this season. However, if it were up to him, Edwards says he’d trade the pick. After finishing with the worst record in the NBA for the second straight season, Detroit has a 14% chance of landing the top selection and can do no worse than No. 5 overall.

Doncic, Gilgeous-Alexander, Jokic Named MVP Finalists

Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Nuggets center Nikola Jokic were revealed on Sunday as the finalists for the Most Valuable Player award, according to the NBA (Twitter link).

Doncic led the league in scoring (33.9 points per game) and finished second in assists (9.8) while also grabbing 9.2 rebounds per contest. Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder to the top seed in the Western Conference by averaging 30.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 2.0 steals per contest. Jokic, who is widely considered the favorite to win his third MVP trophy, averaged 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 9.0 assists per night.

The NBA also announced the finalists for six other postseason awards. Here are the finalists for all of those awards:

Most Valuable Player

Sixth Man

Defensive Player of the Year

Most Improved Player

Note: Sengun appeared in just 63 games but was eligible for award consideration based on the season-ending injury exception described in our glossary entry on the 65-game rule.

Coach of the Year

  • Mark Daigneault, Thunder
  • Chris Finch, Timberwolves
  • Jamahl Mosley, Magic

Rookie of the Year

Clutch Player of the Year

Kings Notes: Offseason, Monk, Year In Review

After they fell to the Pelicans in the play-in and missed the playoffs, there will be questions regarding whether or not the current build of the Kings has plateaued, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. On one hand, a team that brought back the same starting five from last season went from the No. 3 seed to out of the playoffs. On the other, the Kings finished just two wins shy of their total from last year despite late-season injuries to Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk.

An already strong Western Conference is projected to get even stronger next year with almost every team in the conference set up to compete. Monk is the team’s most crucial free agent, but the Kings can’t offer the Sixth Man of the Year candidate more than four years and $78MM. Teams with cap space could outbid the Kings, and even if they are able to re-sign him, his $17.4MM projected first-year salary would send Sacramento into the luxury tax.

Outside of Monk, Sacramento’s potential to improve comes from the No. 13/14 pick (pending tiebreaker), Keegan Murray‘s growth, trades, and various cap exceptions. The Kings have four first-round picks and nine players earning between $2.1MM and $18MM to use in potential trades, but Marks notes that outside of the Domantas Sabonis deal, general manager Monte McNair has been relatively conservative on the trade market.

De’Aaron Fox, who has two years left on his contract, is an extension candidate this offseason, Marks notes. The Kings can currently add three more seasons at up to $165MM to his contract. If he’s named All-NBA this year, Fox would be eligible for a four-year, $267.5MM extension. If he doesn’t sign an extension by Oct. 21, he can become eligible for a four-year, $229MM deal next offseason — if he’s named All-NBA next year, he’d be eligible for a five-year, $346MM super-max deal.

We have more on the Kings:

  • Monk averaged a career-best 15.4 points and 5.1 assists per game this year for the Kings, but they’re limited by the money they can offer him, The Sacramento Bee’s Chris Biderman writes. “Obviously, I think he was extremely big for us,” Fox said. “People that watched us play know that he should be Sixth Man of the Year. But at the end of the day, this is a business, and I feel like what he gave to us in his two years that he has been here, I feel like he showed his value, what he can do for a team.
  • While Fox didn’t sound overly confident that Monk would re-sign with the Kings, he said he would try to convince his former Kentucky backcourt partner to return, per The Athletic’s Anthony Slater. “For sure,” Fox said. “But money talks. You can’t play this game forever. We have such a short window to play basketball. Not everyone is going to be Bron or CP, play 19, 20 years. You have to be able to get paid whenever you can. That’s what Vince Carter told me. He played 21, 22 years. I’d love to have him back, but I don’t know what the future holds.
  • The play-in loss to the Pelicans was emblematic of Sacramento’s season as a whole, Biderman writes in a separate story. Three nights after scoring 32 against the Warriors, Murray had just 11 against New Orleans. Keon Ellis, who did a great job defending Stephen Curry, went scoreless against the Pels and was a minus-20. All season, the Kings showed they could hang with the best of the West with a 17-11 record against the top seven teams in the conference (including a 3-1 record against Denver). However, they went 0-6 against New Orleans this season and lost games to the likes of Washington, Portland and Detroit throughout the regular season. “I feel like we had really good wins and we had really bad losses,” Murray said. “So it was really a mountain-and-valley season for us. That’s something that the top teams in the West, they’re just consistent throughout the whole season.

Pacific Notes: Monk, Murray, Warriors, Suns, O’Neale

Asked earlier this week about Malik Monk‘s recovery from an MCL sprain, Shams Charania of The Athletic said during an appearance on FanDuel’s Run it Back show (Twitter video link) that the Kings guard still isn’t anywhere close to returning to action.

“Malik Monk is going to be out well into April and May. He’s not going to return anywhere in this play-in tournament (or) the first round,” Charania said. “The Kings are preparing to move forward here – if they do they make it into the playoffs – for at least the first round without Malik Monk.”

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Monk didn’t rule out the possibility of making it back during the first round if the Kings advance, but admitted that he doesn’t yet have a clear idea of what his timeline will look like, since he hasn’t gotten back on the court or done any running yet (Twitter video link). Sacramento is expected to reevaluate him around April 27.

Following a win over Golden State on Tuesday, the Kings will be in New Orleans on Friday facing a banged-up Pelicans team that will be missing star forward Zion Williamson, so there’s a path to the No. 8 seed for Sacramento. Still, it sounds as if the Kings would probably need to knock off the No. 1 Thunder in the first round to have a chance to see Monk back in action this spring.

Monk will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, with the Kings holding his Early Bird rights.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Kings star De’Aaron Fox put in significant time last offseason training with second-year forward Keegan Murray, so Fox was thrilled to see the former No. 4 overall pick have a huge game on Tuesday, writes Hunter Patterson of The Athletic. Murray scored a game-high 32 points in Sacramento’s play-in victory over Golden State. “Just seeing his development, and how different he’s been,” Fox said. “… Obviously we want to see it on a consistent basis. But just seeing that come to fruition and seeing the work he put in all summer, especially on a big stage like this, it’s definitely great to see.”
  • Within a look at what’s next for the Warriors, Logan Murdock of The Ringer says league sources believe Andrew Wiggins will be included in trade discussions this offseason. Stephen Curry told Murdock that continuing to push toward contention is his top priority. “I want to win,” Curry said. “Plain and simple. It’s not my job to make all of those decisions, but it’s my job to hold people accountable and say I want to win, and I’ll give my input, but I just want to win.”
  • An unrestricted free agent this offseason, veteran forward Royce O’Neale suggested that he has enjoyed his time in Phoenix and would be open to re-signing with the Suns. “Yeah, for sure. It’s a great place, team, organization,” O’Neale said (Twitter video link via Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports). “It’s been great since I’ve been here, since day one.”
  • Already projected to be over the second tax apron next season, the Suns may be motivated to re-sign O’Neale since they’ll have limited resources to add outside talent. But a new deal for the forward would exponentially increase the projected luxury tax bill for team owner Mat Ishbia. “(Ishbia)’s gonna cost himself a s—ton of money under the new collective bargaining agreement,” one opposing executive told Steve Bulpett of “He just is. If he wants to pay it, that’s fine. The point is that he’s mortgaged everything on this current group here, and once this runs its course … that is, when (Kevin Durant) starts to slow down — and he hasn’t yet; he’s still very good — they’re going to be in a tough situation.”

And-Ones: Kawhi, Team USA, FAs, Musa, Coaches, More

With 11 of 12 roster spots reportedly locked in for USA Basketball’s 2024 Olympic roster, the program could go in a number of different directions with the 12th and final slot. The list of players in contention for that final roster spot includes plenty of big names, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports that Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard is currently viewed as the leading candidate.

Leonard’s teammate Paul George, Knicks guard Jalen Brunson, Magic forward Paolo Banchero, and Nets forward Mikal Bridges are also in the mix, sources tell Charania.

Leonard hasn’t represented Team USA at the Olympics or a World Cup before, but has support from some of the stars on the roster, including Kevin Durant and LeBron James, says Charania. George won gold with Team USA in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, while Brunson, Banchero, and Bridges competed in the 2023 World Cup.

It’s possible that more than one player in that final group of candidates could ultimately make the cut if any of the top 11 have to drop out due to an injury or for personal reasons. Of course, Leonard is currently dealing with a nagging knee issue of his own, though there’s no indication at this point it would prevent him from playing in July.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Danny Leroux of The Athletic takes a look at the NBA’s 2024 free agent class, evaluating what sort of stars, starters, and rotation players will be available. As Leroux observes, a handful of stars are on track for potential free agency, but few – if any – are good bets to change teams. That group includes LeBron James, Paul George, James Harden, Pascal Siakam, and Tyrese Maxey.
  • In an interview with Dean Sinovcic of, former first-round pick Dzanan Musa, who spent two seasons in Brooklyn from 2018-20, didn’t rule out the possibility of returning to the NBA as early as this offseason, but said he’s focused for now on trying to win Liga ACB and EuroLeague titles with Real Madrid (hat tip to Sportando).
  • Sam Amick of The Athletic considers what’s at stake for each NBA head coach in the postseason, suggesting that the pressure will be on Joe Mazzulla (Celtics) to at least reach the NBA Finals. Jason Kidd (Mavericks), J.B. Bickerstaff (Cavaliers), and Darvin Ham (Lakers) are among the others who will be motivated to avoid early exits, Amick adds.
  • In a conversation about end-of-season awards, a panel of five ESPN experts weren’t in agreement on who should win Most Improved Player or Sixth Man of the Year. Three different players – Malik Monk, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Naz Reid – earned votes from the five-man panel for Sixth Man honors.
  • Which NBA players were the most underpaid this season? Despite being on a maximum-salary contract, Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander tops the list from Frank Urbina of HoopsHype.

Magic Notes: F. Wagner, Carter, Banchero, FA Targets

Magic forward Franz Wagner, who has missed the past two games with a sprained right ankle, returned to action on Friday in Philadelphia in a matchup with major playoff implications (Twitter link via the team).

Wagner is a critical piece for Orlando, having averaged 19.6 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 3.8 APG and 1.0 SPG through 70 games (32.4 MPG). Orlando has a 43-27 record with the 22-year-old in the starting lineup, but has gone just 3-7 in games he has missed.

The No. 8 overall pick of the 2021 draft, Wagner will be eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer.

Here are a few more notes on the Magic:

  • While Wagner’s return was a positive development, center Wendell Carter Jr. picked up a pair of early fouls defending Joel Embiid and was wincing when he exited the court in the first quarter, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Carter is questionable to return to the game due to back spasms, according to the Magic (Twitter link).
  • 2022 No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero achieved his preseason goal of becoming an All-Star, and he would be thrilled if he earns a spot on an All-NBA team, he told Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. “Honestly, this year was more … I was trying to be an All-Star,” Banchero said. “But if (All-NBA) was to happen, that would be awesome. It’s an exclusive club, you know what I mean?
  • As Fischer writes, Banchero has developed nicely in his second season, becoming a better screen-setter both on and off the ball as well as a more advanced play-maker. “That was something that really took on itself this year. Understanding that it starts with me, it starts with Franz,” Banchero said. “Just everyone understanding their role and how important their role is. We need everybody. There have been games where (Jonathan Isaac) has single-handedly shut down a guy, and it’s lifted us to get a win. There’s been times where I’ve had to score the last 18 points of the game just to keep us afloat. There’s been times where Franz took over. Where Jalen (Suggs) took over. We just need everybody. I think it’s translating into a lot of success.”
  • In the same story, Fischer cites league sources who say rival teams expect Orlando to target shooters and scorers like Warriors wing Klay Thompson or Kings guard Malik Monk in free agency. Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, who covers Golden State, recently said it was “one of the worst-kept secrets in the league” that the Magic may offer Thompson “a ton of money” this offseason.

Pacific Notes: O’Neale, Allen, Hyland, Leonard, Monk, Sabonis

Suns coach Frank Vogel switched up his rotation in the team’s 124-108 win over the Clippers on Wednesday, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic reports. Royce O’Neale was inserted into the lineup in place of Grayson Allen, while Thaddeus Young replaced Drew Eubanks as the backup center.

However, the Suns could go right back to Allen as the starter against Sacramento on Friday. “It’s just something we’ve been talking about,” Vogel said. “If we get into a playoff matchup where we have a bigger opponent, then we feel like (O’Neale’s) size in the starting lineup is something that would make sense. We didn’t want to go to that with Grayson coming off the bench for the first time having never done it. We used this one game to let Grayson just feel the rhythm of coming off the bench, if it’s needed in the playoffs.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Ivica Zubac and Norman Powell sat out the second game of a back-to-back on Wednesday. Bones Hyland carried the Clippers‘ offense in their absence, pumping in a career-high 37 points, Janis Carr of the Orange County Register notes. Leonard sat out his sixth consecutive game because of inflammation in his right knee. He might not return until the postseason but coach Tyronn Lue believes his superstar forward will be ready to go by that point.
  • Kings guard Malik Monk was the solid frontrunner for the Sixth Man of the Year award until he suffered a sprained MCL in his right knee late last month. Center Domantas Sabonis said Monk still deserves the honor. “Monk has to win it,” Sabonis told HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto. “If he doesn’t win it, it’s rigged. He definitely brings energy and light. If we’re down, he’s always up and in a good mood off the court, too, so that really helps during a long season with ups and downs.” Coach Mike Brown concurs. “It should not even be a debate on Sixth Man of the Year with Malik’s body of work and us fighting for a playoff spot,” Brown said. “He should be the hands-down winner.”
  • Monk will be an unrestricted free agent after the season. Sacramento has Early Bird rights on Monk and can sign him up to $78MM over four years. “I’d love to play here again, for sure. I’ve been here for two years and made friends with everyone, including the training staff and front office,” Monk told Scotto. Sabonis said the organization can’t afford to lose him: “We’ve got to keep him. He’s a big piece for us moving forward.”
  • Sabonis saw his 61-game double-double streak end on Tuesday, Cliff Brunt of The Associated Press writes. He had eight points and 13 rebounds against Oklahoma City. It’s the seventh-longest streak in league history and the longest since the NBA and ABA merged prior to the 1976/77 season.

Malik Monk To Miss Four-To-Six Weeks With MCL Sprain

8:02pm: The Kings will reevaluate Monk’s condition in four weeks, tweets James Ham of The Kings Beat.

5:16pm: Kings guard Malik Monk suffered a sprained right MCL in Friday’s game and is expected to be sidelined for four-to-six weeks, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The injury occurred shortly after Monk entered the game in the first quarter against Dallas, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Monk was defending Luka Doncic on a drive to the basket when their legs got tangled up, and Doncic landed on Monk’s right leg with much of his weight. Monk was able to walk to the locker room for treatment, but the Kings announced that he wouldn’t return to the game.

Monk is among the favorites for Sixth Man of the Year honors, averaging career highs of 15.6 points and 5.2 assists per game while shooting 44.3% from the field and 35.1% from beyond the arc. He’s also an indispensable piece for a Sacramento team that’s locked in a tight race to avoid the play-in tournament.

A four-week absence would have Monk returning in late April. That would keep him out of action past the play-in games, which start April 16, but it could allow him to return late in a first-round matchup that lasts six or seven games.

A six-week absence means Monk wouldn’t be back until mid-May, which would be well into the middle of the second round.