Sacramento Kings waive Nerlens Noel & Neemias Queta
Sep 12, 2023, 3:05 PM | Updated: 3:22 pm
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
As October 3rd–the start date of most NBA training camps–approaches, the Sacramento Kings are narrowing down its roster
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news on Tuesday that the Kings have waived centers Nerlens Noel and Neemias Queta, meaning that Sacramento will open up the season with these big men on the roster:
Domantas Sabonis, JaVale McGee, and Alex Len.
Sacramento entered the offseason seeking rim protection, and Kings general manager Monte McNair inked both Noel and Queta to partially guaranteed deals earlier this summer with the expectation that both would battle for an opening night roster spot.
However, once the Dallas Mavericks cut ties with shot-blocking center and three-time NBA champion JaVale McGee, Sacramento brought the veteran big in on a fully guaranteed contract for the 2023-24 season.
Seeing that the Kings now have a bevy of depth down low with All-NBA center Domantas Sabonis, the returning Alex Len, McGee, and Trey Lyles in small-ball sets, Sacramento is choosing to let Noel and Queta find work elsewhere while McNair looks to address other areas of need.
Noel, 29, spent the 2022-23 season with the Brooklyn Nets and Detroit Pistons, where he averaged 2.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 0.6 blocks per game over 17 appearances.
The sixth-overall pick from the 2013 NBA Draft has dealt with various lower-body injuries during his career, but Noel is a legitimate rim-protector when healthy. Over 467 career games, Noel has averaged 1.5 blocks per game during his nine-year career.
Queta, 24, was named to the All-NBA G-League First Team and All-Defensive Team after a strong 2022-23 season with the Stockton Kings.
The Utah State product finished the season with averages of 16.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.9 blocks per game while shooting 68 percent from the field for a Stockton team that finished the season with a record of 25-7.
Among league leaders, Queta held top-five places in blocks (4th) and blocks per game (4th) while patrolling the paint for the Kings.
The 24-year-old finished the season as runner-up for the G-League Most Valuable Player, adding to Queta’s impressive year at the minor league level.
Why did the Kings waive Nerlens Noel & Neemias Queta?
Sacramento had a surplus of centers as they were prepared to open up training camp with five big men on the preseason roster:
Sabonis, Len, McGee, Noel, and Queta.
Noel, who hasn’t logged over 25 games since the 2020-21 season, would have been a low-risk, high-reward move, but McGee’s availability and glowing track record on the health front made this decision easier for the Kings.
The move to cut Queta, however, surely was not an easy call for McNair.
After making the NBA Playoffs for the first time since 2006 and building a roster that appears to be built for the long-haul, Sacramento is not the place for a project player like Queta, who needs plenty of game reps and a spot in the rotation to develop.
Queta dominated the G-League last season, and there is little doubt that he will find a new home and quickly carve out a role in a rotation elsewhere. This decision came down to what this Kings team needs more, and that’s a veteran presence behind Domantas Sabonis.
Now that Sacramento has cleared space for more potential training camp deals, expect some guards to be in the mix at camp as the Kings seek a third-string point guard to play behind All-Star guard De’Aaron Fox and defensive stalwart Davion Mitchell.
Folsom native Jordan Ford is expected to be in camp after an impressive Summer League showing with Sacramento, although it’s currently unknown if his involvement will include a guaranteed deal, two-way contract, etc.
The Kings have solidified their center position, and the forward spot could be the team’s deepest position. Now, it’s time to see how McNair rounds out an already impressive guard quartet that features Fox, Mitchell, Kevin Huerter, and Malik Monk.
Current Sacramento Kings roster
- De’Aaron Fox
- Davion Mitchell
- Malik Monk
- Kevin Huerter
- Colby Jones
- Keon Ellis (two-way)
- Harrison Barnes
- Keegan Murray
- Chris Duarte
- Trey Lyles
- Sasha Vezenkov
- Kessler Edwards
- Jalen Slawson (two-way)
- Domantas Sabonis
- Alex Len
- JaVale McGee
*Non or partially-guaranteed contract
How many roster spots do the Sacramento Kings have open?
Open Full Roster Spots: 1
Open Two-Way Spots: 1
Training Camp Spots: 5
Sacramento Kings 2023-24 Preseason Schedule
- Sunday, October 8th – Sacramento Kings @ Toronto Raptors – 5 PM PST (Preseason Opener)
- Wednesday, October 11th – Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Lakers – 7 PM PST (in Anaheim, CA)
- Sunday, October 15th – Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors – 7 PM PST
- Wednesday, October 18th – Sacramento Kings @ Golden State Warriors – 7 PM PST
- Thursday, October 19th – Sacramento Kings vs. Utah Jazz – 7 PM PST
Sacramento Kings 2023-24 Regular Season Schedule
- Tuesday, October 24th – NBA regular season begins
- Wednesday, October 25th – Sacramento Kings @ Utah Jazz – 6 PM (Season Opener)
- Friday, October 27th – Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors – 7 PM (Home Opener)