SACRAMENTO KINGS

Stiles & Watkins’ Big Fish List: Is Kevin Durant a fit for the Kings?

May 1, 2024, 5:39 PM | Updated: 5:48 pm

Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns shoots over Harrison Barnes #40 of the Sacramento Kings during...

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 12: Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns shoots over Harrison Barnes #40 of the Sacramento Kings during the second half of an NBA basketball game at Golden 1 Center on April 12, 2024 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

As the NBA offseason approaches, the Sacramento Kings are at somewhat of a crossroads heading into free agency and trade season.

What can Kings general manager Monte McNair do to push this team to the next level?

This week on Stiles & Watkins with hosts Allen Stiles and Chris Watkins, the guys broke down players that could be on Sacramento’s offseason wishlist.

Today, let’s dive into number five on Chris’ ‘Big Fish’ list: Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant.

YouTube video

Kevin Durant | Phoenix Suns | SF/PF | Age: 35 | 2024-25 salary: $48.9 million

Everyone knows Kevin Durant. The 6’11, 14-time All-Star, 10-time All-NBA with two NBA Championship, winning the Finals MVP on both occasions.

The Suns had a turbulent 2023-24 season, with injuries to all three of Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal complicating matters — while it sounds like a coaching change is their preferred move forward, you never know what could happen in an NBA offseason.

From Sacramento’s perspective, it’s easy to see how Durant fits on the basketball court. Mike Brown’s Kings run a similar offense to Golden State’s during the time Brown and Durant shared in the Bay Area. He’s an elite shooter, smart cutter, one of the best shot creators in NBA history, and an underrated defender due to his combination of height, length, and agility — something Sacramento is significantly lacking.

Last season, Durant averaged 27.1 points (6th in the NBA), 6.6 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.2 blocks, and 0.9 steals per game. Putting up those numbers on 52.3 percent from the field, 41.3 percent from three, and 85.6 percent on free throws is ridiculous. It’s also just what Kevin Durant does.

Encouragingly, he appeared in 75 of Phoenix’s 82 games this season after playing 47 total games between the Nets and Suns the year before.

Injuries are unpredictable, but a certain amount of missed games should be expected if taking on a 35-year-old Durant.

That’s where Keegan Murray comes into play. General manager Monte McNair and seemingly every member of Sacramento’s staff are incredibly high on the former third-overall pick’s long-term projection. So, while the young forward comes into his own, Durant could essentially shoulder a larger responsibility before passing the baton down.

It’s a similar idea financially. Murray has two years left on his rookie deal, providing production significantly above his financial cost. Durant has two years remaining on his deal, $103 million.

The Kings would likely have to be all-in on the idea of a ‘Big Four’ of Fox, Sabonis, Durant, and (eventually) Murray being good enough. Good enough to compete for a Western Conference championship and the Larry O’Brien afterward. Maybe it could be with the right surrounding pieces. If Malik Monk stuck around and they capitalized on their mid-level and bi-annual exceptions this offseason, the blueprint could be there.

Their 2024 pick fell with the lottery and, therefore, did not convey to Atlanta, leaving their 2025 and 2026 first-rounders untradeable as they remained locked up in that deal — although teams have been able to remove future restrictions in the past.

On draft night, they could select a prospect for another team with a handshake deal in place—if that’s something Phoenix (or any team) would prefer.

Some would need to be made into swaps due to the Stepien rule, which prevents teams from trading away consecutive draft picks. The all-in offer could include the (likely) 13th pick in 2024, two unprotected first (2028 and 2030), and first-round swaps in 2027 and 2029. Three first, two swaps, two middle-of-the-pack (or potentially lower) staters, and a former 2021 lottery pick.

To match Durant’s hefty $48.9 million salary, Harrison Barnes ($18.0 million) and Kevin Huerter ($16.8 million) would need to be included. After that, Davion Mitchell seems like a candidate to sweeten the pot (given their lack of a traditional point guard) and a bunch of draft picks. Including the 2024 pick (13th in lottery odds), the Kings have five first-rounders to work with.

However, additional trades would be tough after acquiring Durant, given the recent track record of NBA stars who hit the trade block. Assuming Murray would be off the table in any deal, the Kings would likely need to fork over significant draft capital to present the best offer.

But that deal could elevate this roster into instant contention for the Western Conference Finals. Of course, it’s up to McNair to decide if it’s worth the price.

When is the next Sacramento Kings offseason date of interest?

For the first time in two years, the Sacramento Kings will be crossing its fingers for luck during the upcoming NBA Draft Lottery.

The 2024 NBA Draft Lottery will be held on Sunday, May 12, 2024, in Chicago, where Sacramento will have the 13th-best odds of securing the top pick.

How the Lottery works: The 14 teams that missed out on the NBA playoffs are eligible for the Draft Lottery. The final odds were determined after the regular season, and tie breaks were settled between teams with identical regular season records.

NBA Offseason Schedule

  • Sunday, May 12 – NBA Draft Lottery
  • 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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Stiles & Watkins’ Big Fish List: Is Kevin Durant a fit for the Kings?