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NBA Free Agency: Kings to Bring Back Beloved Backcourt Scorer

Sacramento Kings guards Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox

After having a career season, free agent guard Malik Monk “intends to sign a four-year, $78 million deal” to return to the Sacramento Kings, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Monk began negotiating a new deal with the Kings after the conclusion of the 2024 NBA Finals, Wojnarowski adds. The contract includes a player option that would allow him to re-enter free agency in 2027.

In 2023-24, Monk averaged career-highs of 15.4 points and 5.1 assists per game on a .564 true shooting percentage. For the second straight season, he was named a Sixth Man of the Year candidate. In fact, he was the runner-up for the award, many believing him to be the favorite before a knee injury abbreviated his season.

Kings to Bring Back Beloved Backcourt Scorer

A shifty and springy shot-creator who is still developing as a facilitator, the Kings are a stronger team with Monk in the fold. It doesn’t hurt that he shares a friendship with franchise point guard De’Aaron Fox. Teammates with Fox at blue blood Kentucky, their chemistry shows up on and off the court.

Due to Monk’s defensive limitations, he and Fox are unlikely to ever start together in the backcourt. Nonetheless, over the past two seasons, the only players who Fox has lined up alongside more than Monk are the starters. In 2023-24, Fox played more minutes alongside Fox (1,099) than starting shooting guard Kevin Huerter (1,069).

With that being said, if Monk does want to be promoted to the starting lineup, he has a fighter’s chance. The Kings are rumored to be offering Huerter and Harrison Barnes in trades. Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma and Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine have emerged as their top targets.

Of course, if Sacramento lands LaVine, he’ll line up alongside the starters. However, if they haul in Kuzma instead, it could open the door for Monk.

Again, there are defensive concerns with he and Fox in the backcourt, in part due to Monk’s lack of size. Still, with teams like the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks, and Cleveland Cavaliers also starting smallish backcourts, they aren’t necessarily going against the grain. The duo will be streaky, both players shooting below 36 percent from 3 in three of the past five seasons. Yet, at their best, they can deliver plenty of damage from beyond the arc.


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