Monte McNair

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.

Kings’ Monte McNair Named Executive Of The Year

Having constructed the roster that snapped a record-setting 16-year playoff drought, Kings general manager Monte McNair has been named the NBA’s Executive of the Year for the 2022/23 season, the league announced today.

McNair, who controversially sent ascendant guard Tyrese Haliburton to Indiana in a blockbuster deal for Domantas Sabonis at last season’s trade deadline, supplemented the star duo of Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox this past offseason by drafting Keegan Murray, signing Malik Monk, and trading for Kevin Huerter.

Perhaps most importantly, McNair hired Mike Brown as the Kings’ new head coach after parting ways with Alvin Gentry. Brown won Coach of the Year honors after leading Sacramento to a 48-34 record and its first postseason berth since 2006.

Unlike most of the NBA’s other major postseason awards, the Executive of the Year is voted on by the league’s 30 general managers instead of 100 media members.

McNair received 16 first-place votes and showed up on 24 ballots, earning 98 total points. He beat out runner-up Koby Altman of the Cavaliers, who got seven first-place votes and was included on 21 ballots, finishing with 63 total points.

No other executive received more than two first-place votes or 20 total points. Jazz GM Justin Zanik, Nuggets GM Calvin Booth, and Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens rounded out the top five vote-getters, while sixth-place finisher Bucks general manager Jon Horst joined Stevens as the other executives who received two first-place votes. Nine additional execs received at least one vote.

Pacific Notes: Davis, Vezenkov, Lamb, Bazley

Terence Davis, an unrestricted free agent after the season, has seen his playing time plunge this month. He got a chance to play big minutes on Saturday due to injuries and delivered a 21-point, seven-rebound game for the Kings, Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee writes. Davis acknowledged that he needed an outing like that.

“I haven’t been playing well,” the Kings guard said. “So that’s just point-blank, period. I haven’t been playing well. I haven’t been locked in, honestly. I’m just trying to get that rhythm back. The opportunity opened back up for me and I was able to take advantage of it.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Kings GM Monte McNair and VP of player personnel Phil Jabour traveled to Greece to watch draft-and-stash prospect Sasha Vezenkov play, columnist Shot Vetakis tweets. The Olympiacos Piraeus forward is considered the favorite for the EuroLeague MVP award, according to Javier Gancedo of Kings players have endorsed bringing in Vezenkov, who is averaging 18.2 points and 7.2 rebounds in 28 EuroLeague contests this season.
  • Anthony Lamb‘s new contract with the Warriors only covers the rest of the season, Hoops Rumors has confirmed. That will make Lamb a restricted free agent after the season. The swingman was promoted from a two-way deal to a standard contract on Friday.
  • Forward Darius Bazley said that getting traded from the Thunder to the Suns jolted him, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. “It was kind of tough,” Bazley said. “When it first happened, it was one of those moments when you’re like, ‘Dang.’ That’s all I knew. A lot of those guys, I’ve been with them since I first came here.  In the NBA, your teammates and staff, you spend more time with them than you do your own families.” A restricted free agent this summer if extended a qualifying offer, Bazley has only made two cameos with the Suns.

Western Notes: Lee, Fox, McNair, Ayton, Hyland

Suns point guard Saben Lee is “grateful” for the opportunity the organization gave him, Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic writes. Lee’s second 10-day contract with Phoenix expired on Monday, so the team must now offer him a rest-of-the-season contract if it wants to keep him.

Lee has appeared in 10 games with the Suns, averaging 7.0 points and 3.3 assists in 17.3 minutes. “It’s been really good,” Lee said. “Being able to make strides on and off the court. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here the past 20 days. Able to get a good amount of playing time as well.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Guard De’Aaron Fox is pleased the Kings reached a three-year contract extension with GM Monte McNair, he told Chris Biderman of the Sacramento Bee. “It’s great. Just to have consistency throughout the organization, you want that to be the last thing you’re worried about is no extension,” Fox said. “Just from top to bottom, I feel like everybody wants to know that they have a little bit of security. I feel like you do your job better when you’re secure.”
  • Suns center Deandre Ayton could be a long-term trade target for the Mavericks, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon said on the Lowe Post podcast (hat tip to Hoops Hype). “He’s a name that I’ve heard around the Mavericks,” MacMahon said, explaining that Ayton seems unlikely to be on the move in the next 10 days. “… I think that would have to be a ‘later’ than ‘right now’ type of situation.”
  • Nuggets backup guard Bones Hyland has been mentioned in trade rumors recently. He told’s Harrison Wind that he’s oblivious to the chatter. “I don’t care. It doesn’t bother me at all,” Hyland said. “I don’t pay no mind to it. Whatever happens, happens.”

Kings Sign Monte McNair, Wes Wilcox To Extensions

JANUARY 25: The Kings have officially extended both McNair and Wilcox, the team announced late on Tuesday night in a press release.

“Monte is an integral part of this organization, and I am thrilled to announce his extension,” team owner Vivek Ranadivé said in a statement. “Since joining the Kings, Monte and Wes have proven to be thoughtful and strategic decision makers who have shown their ability to execute a long-term vision for the team. The work continues, and I have confidence in this front office to keep driving our efforts forward.”

JANUARY 24: The Kings and general manager Monte McNair have reached an agreement on a contract extension, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Sacramento is also finalizing a new contract for assistant GM Wes Wilcox, Wojnarowski adds.

According to Sam Amick of The Athletic (Twitter link), McNair is signing a three-year extension with no options.

Marc Stein reported in December that there was a growing expectation in NBA circles that McNair, who was in the final year of his contract, would sign an extension as soon as January, and now that has come to fruition.

“I’ll just say my family loves it in Sacramento and we’re very happy with how things are going,” McNair told Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee last month. “We’re just focused on winning and continuing to keep this thing growing.”

At 27-19, the Kings are currently the West’s No. 3 seed and are in a strong position to snap their 16-year playoff drought, which is an NBA record. The McNair-led front office drafted and then later traded rising point guard Tyrese Haliburton to Indiana for All-Star center Domantas Sabonis, and selected guard Davion Mitchell in the 2021 draft.

In the 2022 offseason, the Kings drafted forward Keegan Murray, who has made an immediate impact, traded for sharpshooter Kevin Huerter and added sixth man Malik Monk in free agency. The franchise also hired head coach Mike Brown, who has helped change the culture of the previously dysfunctional organization.

Pacific Notes: McNair, Lakers’ Picks, Wiseman, Wiggins

There’s “fresh buzz” around the league that talks regarding an extension for Kings general manager Monte McNair have advanced, Marc Stein reports in a Substack story. There’s a growing expectation among NBA circles that McNair will sign an extension as soon as next month.

Entering the final year of his contract, McNair hired Mike Brown as head coach, traded for Kevin Huerter, signed Malik Monk as a free agent and drafted Keegan Murray in the lottery. So far, that’s worked out for the Kings, as they have the fifth-best record in the Western Conference.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Anthony Davis‘ foot injury, expected to keep him sidelined for several weeks, shouldn’t deter the Lakers’ front office from trading their 2027 and 2029 first round picks for immediate help, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times opines. The fact the Lakers didn’t trade those picks during the offseason showed that the front office was unsure that the team was just a move or two away from contending. The Lakers have built their team around LeBron James and Davis and they shouldn’t change that approach despite Davis’ latest injury, Hernandez concludes.
  • Stephen Curry‘s shoulder injury should motivate the Warriors’ front office to make a deal, John Hollinger of The Athletic argues. They have a valuable trade asset in 2020 No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman, who isn’t helping them this season. If they can remove his $12MM salary for next season for a veteran with an expiring contract, they can improve their prospects for this season and get substantial savings from their luxury tax bill for 2023/24, Hollinger observes.
  • Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins remains sidelined due to a groin injury. He’s listed as out for Golden State’s road game against the Knicks on Tuesday, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. Wiggins hasn’t played since Dec. 3.

Kings Notes: Monk, Barnes, Brown, McNair, Fox

Kings players discussed the team’s 16-year postseason drought just once before the season began to clear the air about it, free agent addition Malik Monk tells Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. At 14-11 and sitting at fifth in the Western Conference, the current roster seems well positioned to take Sacramento back to the playoffs. Monk said that’s what envisioned when agreed to a two-year, $19.4MM contract over the summer.

“I wanted to change the culture,” he said. “I wanted to come in here and change everything about Sacramento and how everyone thought about it. I think we’re doing that now. We’ve just got to continue to win.”

The Kings also hired a new head coach in Mike Brown, whom several players praised for instilling accountability. Brown pointed to the leadership provided by Matthew Dellavedova, another offseason addition, and Harrison Barnes, who has been with the organization for nearly four years and is open to a new contract when he reaches free agency after this season.

“This group has a chance to do something special in Sacramento that hasn’t been done in almost two decades,” Barnes said. “I think that’s where my focus is. In terms of a contract, 11 years in now, I’m not too concerned about it. I think it’s all going to work out the way it’s supposed to.”

There’s more on the Kings:

  • Brown set his goals higher than just reaching the playoffs, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “When I took this job, one of the things that I truly believed in is if we did it right, we can have a chance at this thing,” Brown said. “Not just to make the playoffs — which is not what I’m looking to do — but to advance. You take a job to try to build a championship-level team organization. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. But you got to believe.” One way Brown has improved the team is by focusing on defense, where the Kings rank 15th in the league after finishing 27th last season.
  • General manager Monte McNair has overturned the roster since taking over as general manager in 2020 and hopes to get a chance to finish what he started, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. McNair is in the final year of his contract and declined to say if he’s had extension talks with owner Vivek Ranadive. “I’ll just say my family loves it in Sacramento and we’re very happy with how things are going,” McNair stated. “We’re just focused on winning and continuing to keep this thing growing.”
  • After missing the past two games with right foot soreness, De’Aaron Fox participated in today’s morning shootaround, Anderson tweets. He’s listed as questionable for tonight’s contest in Philadelphia.

Pacific Notes: A. Davis, McNair, Clippers, Warriors

After being limited to just 76 in the last two seasons, Anthony Davis is determined to have a healthier year in 2022/23. Speaking to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, The Lakers star said he’s so excited for the coming season that he has “goosebumps,” adding that he’s “looking forward to a healthy year.”

“I went into this summer focusing on strengthening my body,” Davis told Haynes. “I have to be on the court and at my best to put us in position to be our best. I’m ready to do that.”

Davis has played more than 70 regular season games just twice in his 10-year career, so the Lakers would likely be thrilled to see him surpass that benchmark. However, the eight-time All-Star told reporters this week that he has loftier expectations for himself.

“I want to be able to play all 82 (games),” Davis said, per Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group. “And if I’m not, I don’t want it to be injury-based where I can’t play. That’s my goal. The more I’m on the floor, the more I can help my team and its chance of winning when I’m playing.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • With Monte McNair entering the final year of his contract, Kings owner Vivek Ranadive said on Wednesday that he’s happy with the job the general manager has done, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. However, the two sides have been “too focused on the season” to discuss a possible contract extension, according to Ranadive. “Monte, (assistant GM) Wes (Wilcox), the whole front office, the coaches they hired, the coaching staff, the process they went through, the trades they made, the rookie they picked, I’m very pleased with everything that’s happened,” Ranadive said. “I think right now the focus is: Let’s win.”
  • The Clippers are taking a cautious approach this preseason with a handful of veteran players, with head coach Tyronn Lue announcing on Thursday that Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, John Wall, and Reggie Jackson won’t play in the team’s preseason opener in Seattle on Friday (Twitter link via Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times). The Warriors are going the same route with Klay Thompson, holding him out of the club’s two preseason contests in Japan, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic.
  • The Warriors‘ preseason opener on Friday showed the new simplified offensive role the team envisions for center James Wiseman, who was primarily used as a slasher and roller en route to a 20-point, eight-rebound game, Slater writes for The Athletic.
  • Logan Murdock of The Ringer takes a look at the Warriors‘ efforts to balance their title defense in the short term with their vision of the franchise in the long term.

Pacific Notes: Crowder, Ayton, McNair, Murray, Wall

Suns forward Jae Crowder was informed over the summer that he might lose his starting job in 2022/23, which prompted him to ask for a trade, sources tell Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

Crowder has been a key member of a Suns team that made the NBA Finals in 2021 and won 64 regular season games last season, but Phoenix appears prepared to grant his trade request, having agreed to have him remain away from the team for training camp.

“Jae brought a number of intangibles to the team, I think all of our guys would speak in that way about him,” Suns head coach Monty Williams said on Monday, per Windhorst. “At the same time, these things happen and you have to transition and move forward. I totally am behind (GM) James (Jones) and how we are handling this.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • According to Windhorst, there seems to be some scarring following the Suns‘ offseason standoff with Deandre Ayton, which ended when the team matched the four-year, maximum-salary offer sheet he signed with Indiana. Windhorst writes that there was a “complete lack of enthusiasm emanating” from the “usually jovial” Ayton during Monday’s Media Day when he discussed his experience in free agency.
  • Speaking to reporters on Monday, Kings general manager Monte McNair expressed confidence in the team’s new-look roster and brushed off questions about his contract situation as he enters the final season of a three-year deal. “Is my deal, like, on the internet or something?” McNair joked, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. “Look, for me and my group, we’re excited about what we’ve done. We’re excited that coach (Mike) Brown is in here. I’m the GM right now and I’ve got a bunch of work to do, so I’m going to do that until they kick me out, and I hope I’m here for a long time.”
  • Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee takes a look at how No. 4 overall pick Keegan Murray is dealing with high expectations as he joins a Kings team attempting to snap a 16-year playoff drought.
  • Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue is looking forward to taking advantage of the element of speed that newly added point guard John Wall will bring to the team this season, writes Helene Elliott of The Los Angeles Times. “I think with John, adding John, his pace is tremendous. That’s going to allow us to get easy baskets,” Lue said. “Guys get open threes, easy shots, him getting downhill, getting to the basket changes our team dramatically. His pace, the way he plays, brings a different dimension to our team.”

Kings Notes: Brown, McNair, Draft Strategy

With the Warriors’ title run out of the way, Mike Brown finally got to have his introductory press conference as the Kings‘ new head coach, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Brown is leaving his spot as associate head coach with the NBA’s latest dynasty to take over a team that hasn’t reached the playoffs in 16 years, and in Tuesday’s session with reporters he charged directly into the challenge that awaits him.

“There ain’t no elephant in the room,” Brown said. “You can speak on it. We’re going to embrace that. I’m not coming here to have fun, be excited, join the area. I’m coming here to win. So we’re going to embrace anything that’s in front of us that talks about winning. So, we look forward to it.”

Although Brown accepted his new job more than six weeks ago, his duties with Golden State prevented from formally joining the Kings until this week. He said he has already talked to all his new players and staff members, some on Zoom and some in person, and expressed optimism about the talent that he’s inheriting.

“The potential here, I truly believe the potential is off the charts,” Brown said. “It gets me excited thinking about it. … The players here, I’m excited about. There’s just a lot of opportunity here for this place to explode, and I want to be a part of it.”

There’s more from Sacramento:

  • In an interview with Sam Amick of The Athletic, Brown said he dealt mainly with general manager Monte McNair and assistant GM Wes Wilcox during the hiring process. Brown, who previously worked with Wilcox in Cleveland, said the working relationship with those front office officials is vital to success. “You can go ask (Warriors general manager) Bob Myers,” Brown said. “Throughout my six years with the Warriors, he would ask me, ‘What would be the one thing that you look for if you were to get a head (coaching) job in the future?’ I’d say, ‘The relationship has got to be there with the GM and the head coach.’ ‘If that relationship is not there, you have no chance. You have no shot.”
  • Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee examines how McNair’s tenuous hold on his job might affect the team’s approach to draft day.
  • The Kings’ decision on the No. 4 pick will likely go “right down to the wire,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on the network’s Mock Draft Special (video link). Purdue guard Jaden Ivey may be the best player available, but he doesn’t fit a need in Sacramento, so Wojnarowski expects the team to consider trade offers while it’s on the clock.