What went wrong for Sasha Vezenkov & the Sacramento Kings?

Jun 10, 2024, 8:58 AM

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - DECEMBER 08: Sasha Vezenkov #7 of the Sacramento Kings celebrates a three-point ...

(Photo by Kelsey Grant/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kelsey Grant/Getty Images)

The NBA Draft is over two weeks away (June 26th), and the start of free agency is three weeks away (June 30th), meaning that players will be on the move before the Fourth of July.

One Sacramento Kings player has reportedly made it clear he would like to have a new home come next season: forward Sasha Vezenkov.

According to a report published over the weekend by’s Mihalis Stefanou, Vezenkov intends to leave the Kings this summer–whether that be by trade, release, or returning to play in the EuroLeague.

Vezenkov, 28, signed a three-year, $20 million deal (first two years guaranteed) with Sacramento last summer, meaning the Bulgarian forward is under contract for the upcoming 2024-25 season. The Kings hold a club option on Vezenkov for the 2025-26 season worth $6.9 million.

According to Eurohoops sources, the 28-year-old forward has informed the team about his intention to leave. It is yet to be decided if he will seek another opportunity somewhere else in the NBA or if he will return to Europe.

Eurohoops’ Mihalis Stefanou – June 8, 2024

During Monday’s edition of The Carmichael Dave Show with Jason Ross, the guys tried to make sense of what went wrong between Vezenkov and the Kings, contemplate if there is any sole person to blame for the failed partnership and more:

YouTube video

Topics Discussed

  • Sasha Vezenkov wants out, but he is under contract for one more guaranteed season
  • Vezenkov’s team-friendly contract could bode well for finding a trade partner
  • Why did the Vezenkov-Kings partnership fail?
  • Who is to blame in this situation: GM Monte McNair, head coach Mike Brown, or Vezenkov?
  • “I don’t think that Mike Brown fully got the trust of Sasha.”
  • If Vezenkov returns next season, can this team-player relationship be salvaged?
  • Outside of Sacramento’s top six, the rotation was inconsistent during the 2023-24 season

Listen to The Carmichael Dave Show with Jason Ross from 6 – 10 a.m. PST, Monday through Friday, on Sactown Sports 1140.

Click here for full episodes of The Carmichael Dave Show with Jason Ross.

More on Sasha Vezenkov

Expectations were high for Sasha Vezenkov last summer when he inked a multi-year deal to finally make the leap from the EuroLeague to the NBA.

After securing EuroLeague MVP honors while playing for Greek club Olympiacos during the 2022-23 season, Vezenkov—the 57th overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft—joined a Sacramento Kings team that was coming off its first NBA Playoff appearance in 17 years.

While it appeared that Vezenkov, a 28-year-old sharpshooter, would fit in seamlessly with Sacramento’s pass-heavy and three-point-shooting-based offense, the forward found himself in and out of head coach Mike Brown’s rotations as the regular season began.

Once Vezenkov reemerged as a player in Brown’s rotation, the Bulgarian talent suffered a left ankle sprain that kept him sidelined for two weeks. Upon returning, Vezenkov injured his right ankle—a grade 3 partial tear—that kept him out of action for seven weeks, including the bulk of the Kings’ postseason push.

YouTube video

“Overall, it was, I can say, a, like, weird season,” Vezenkov responded when asked to reflect on his season following Sacramento’s Play-In loss to New Orleans in late April. “Ups and downs, new game, new life, a couple of injuries,” Vezenkov said of his first NBA season. “I tried to adjust as fast as possible, and you know, unfortunately, we finished too early. Everybody wanted to continue and go deep into the playoffs, but we have to learn from that.

“It was, as I said, a new experience, and I wanted every day to become better. Unfortunately, those two injuries, I think they held me back, but the whole situation was a little bit difficult and different.”

Over 42 appearances this season, Vezenkov posted averages of 5.4 points and 2.3 rebounds per game on 44 percent shooting from the field and 37 percent on attempts from three-point range. The 6’9 forward averaged 12.2 minutes per contest, ranking tenth among players on Sacramento’s roster.

When is the next Sacramento Kings off-season date of interest?

The NBA Draft is now a two-night event.

Wednesday, June 26th, will act as the first night of the 2024 NBA Draft, where the Sacramento Kings will make their first-round selection (13th). The second round of the draft will be held on Thursday, June 27th, where the Kings will use its 45th overall pick.

Sacramento hasn’t had a first-round pick since 2022, when it selected Iowa product Keegan Murray with the fourth overall pick.

Stay locked into Sactown Sports for all of your Kings draft coverage, including player profiles, reports regarding pre-draft workouts, draft night coverage, and much more.

NBA Offseason Schedule

  • Wednesday, June 26-Thursday, June 27th – 2024 NBA Draft
  • Sunday, June 30th – Free Agent negotiating window opens (3 PM PST)
  • Saturday, July 6th – Free Agents can officially sign contracts
  • July 12-22nd – Las Vegas Summer League
  • July 27-August 11th – 2024 Olympic Games
  • Friday, September 27th – NBA training camps begin

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What went wrong for Sasha Vezenkov & the Sacramento Kings?