NBA

Sacramento Kings Reach Agreement With Forward KZ Okpala

Jul 15, 2022, 10:19 AM | Updated: 11:00 am
ORLANDO, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 17: KZ Okpala #11 of the Miami Heat in action against the Orlando Magic...
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Sacramento Kings have reached an agreement with forward KZ Okpala on a two-year deal, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports.

Okpala, a 6’8 forward that has played three NBA seasons with the Miami Heat, holds career averages of 2.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 0.3 blocks per game over 63 games (nine starts) on 40 percent shooting from the field and 27 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

During the 2021-22 season, Okpala played in just 21 games but averaged career-highs in points (3.7), rebounds (2.0), and blocks (0.3) per game while also shooting a career-best 34 percent from the three-point line.

The 23-year-old has played for the Nigerian men’s basketball team under new Kings head coach Mike Brown, assistant coaches Jordi Fernandez and Luke Loucks, and alongside forward Chimezie Metu. During the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, Brown told the media that Okpala would be used in ‘a Draymond Green role’ due to his defensive prowess.

“KZ [Okpala] is a remarkable talent,” Brown said of the forward last summer. “He has a chance to be, obviously, an elite defender, a contender for Defensive Player of the Year. His upside is tremendous.”

Kings general manager Monte McNair has done a solid job of surrounding his star core of De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis with shooting and defense this summer. By adding guards Malik Monk and Kevin Huerter, Sacramento has two above-average options on the perimeter. Fourth-overall pick Keegan Murray has showcased his ability to be a spot-up threat from deep and a strong defender during an impressive Summer League showcase.

The addition of Okpala provides Sacramento with a long forward that can defend positions three-through-five and join a second-unit lineup that will include defensive guard Davion Mitchell.

There is still more work to be done in ensuring that this Kings team is ready to compete for a postseason spot, but McNair is pressing all of the right buttons thus far in the offseason.

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