What’s next for the Sacramento Kings following Summer League?

Jul 19, 2023, 8:59 AM | Updated: 9:21 am

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 23: Delon Wright #55 of the Washington Wizards drives to the bask...

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Now that the NBA 2K24 Summer League has ended, basketball fans are entering the slowest, most painful portion of the offseason.

After two weeks of seemingly non-stop NBA action, fans will have to endure nearly three months without watching their favorite teams play as we slowly inch toward the start of training camp in late September.

Nearly all of the big-name free agents have found new homes. Some blockbuster trades have sent big names like Bradley Beal, Chris Paul, and Kristaps Porzingist to new teams.

Aside from the ongoing Damian Lillard and James Harden trade request sagas, the NBA offseason is moving into a quiet period, one that basketball fans dread following the excitement of early July’s free agency frenzy.

For a team like the Sacramento Kings, one that emerged from a 16-year playoff drought as one of the Western Conference’s best teams in 2022-23, this summer has seen several familiar faces return for another go-around in Northern California.

Harrison Barnes inked a three-year extension with the Kings, while Trey Lyles and Alex Len also signed deals to return to Sacramento during the opening days of free agency.

All-Star center Domantas Sabonis solidified himself as a franchise staple for years to come after signing a five-year extension that will run through the 2027-28 season.

For the first time in nearly two decades, the Sacramento Kings have a young and talented roster that possesses the potential to become a threat in the West for years to come.

As we drag ourselves through the dog days of the offseason, here are some questions that will be answered in the coming months.

How many roster spots does Sacramento have open?

Following Tuesday’s move to bring in shot-blocking center Nerlens Noel, the Sacramento Kings now have just one roster spot open for the 2023-24 season.

Last year, the Kings entered training camp with Matthew Dellavedova, Quinn Cook, Sam Merrill, and Kent Bazemore competing for Sacramento’s 15th and final roster spot.

Dellavedova came out on top in the end and spent the entirety of the 2022-23 season with the Kings.

It’s possible McNair takes a similar approach with this year’s 15th roster spot, as teams can enter training camp with 20 players (including two-way contracts) on its roster before having to trim down to 18 players (15 full roster spots and three two-way contracts) before the regular season begins.

As of July 19th, Sacramento has one full roster spot and a two-way spot open.

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Did Jordan Ford earn himself an NBA contract?

The main storyline from Sacramento’s Summer League run was local product Jordan Ford, who positioned himself to join an NBA roster for the upcoming season.

Ford, a 25-year-old guard that grew up in Folsom and attended Saint Mary’s, averaged 16.2 points, 5.2 assists, and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 49 percent from the field and 31 percent from deep during Las Vegas Summer League.

Sacramento currently has two point guards on its roster–De’Aaron Fox and Davion Mitchell.

While backup shooting guard Malik Monk has proven that he is capable of setting the table on offense (3.9 assists per game in 2022-23), the Kings could use more of a safety net at the backup point guard position.

Ford would be an ideal candidate for the third-and-final two-way spot, providing Sacramento with insurance in case Fox or Mitchell were to miss time due to injury. Sacramento could also use its final full roster spot on Ford and look to sign a younger prospect that can log minutes with Stockton.

During an interview with Sactown Sports 1140’s Jason Ross last week, Ford said that he has dreamt of joining his hometown team.

“I envisioned myself actually being on the [Kings],” Ford said. “Hopefully, I can make that happen soon.”

The fact that Sacramento held Ford out of its Summer League finale and are including him in local events like Thursday’s “Kings 209 Pantry” Distribution bode well for the guard’s chances of snagging a roster spot in the coming weeks or months.

Will the Kings bring back Neemias Queta?

As of July 19th, the Sacramento Kings have one remaining restricted free agent: Second-year center and NBA G-League MVP runner-up, Neemias Queta.

The news of shot-blocking center Nerlens Noel joining Sacramento for the 2023-24 season does not bode well for Queta’s chances in returning to the Kings, especially when you factor in that the 24-year-old has not been signed to the team’s third and final two-way contract.

Queta has proven that he can dominate the G-League level, but the real question is what can the Portuguese big do in a consistent NBA role?

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During his two seasons with Sacramento, Queta spent most of his time with Stockton rather than logging reps at the big-league level. Queta only appeared in 20 games (149 minutes) during the past two seasons with the Kings, averaging just 7.5 minutes per game.

The seven-footer thrived with Stockton, earning All-NBA G-League First Team and All-Defensive Team honors while averaging 16.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.9 blocks per game while shooting 68 percent from the field.

While Queta has looked like a force in the G-League, he has looked raw during his limited minutes at the NBA level. Queta might be better suited in an environment where he can have a larger role and an increased margin for error, rather than a setting like Sacramento where the Kings are chasing another postseason berth behind Sabonis, who plays big minutes on a nightly basis.

Queta is a restricted free agent, meaning that Sacramento has the right to match any offer the center might sign on the free agent market.

What does Sacramento’s current depth chart & roster look like?

The Kings have one open roster spot and one two-way spot that can be filled, but the team should prioritize adding a third-string point guard.

As mentioned earlier in this piece, Jordan Ford is a viable candidate for the third-string point guard spot behind De’Aaron Fox and Davion Mitchell.

If McNair wants to go the veteran route and bring in an established guard with NBA experience, players like George Hill, Ish Smith, Kendrick Nunn, Goran Dragic, and Frank Ntilikina are available on the free agent market.

For now, here’s what Sacramento’s roster looks like:

When will the 2023-24 NBA schedule be released?

Last summer, the NBA released the 2022-23 regular season schedule on Wednesday, August 17th.

Expect some of the more notable dates (opening night, Christmas Day, etc.) to be leaked by noted news breakers Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania during the first or second week of August before the full schedule is released sometime in mid-August.

As of now, here is what we know about the 2023-24 NBA schedule:

  • The regular season will begin on Tuesday, October 24th
  • The regular season will end on Sunday, April 14th

Sacramento Kings Offseason Schedule

  • August TBD – 2023-24 NBA regular season schedule release
  • September TBD – Sacramento Kings training camp begins
  • October TBD – Sacramento Kings preseason begins
  • Tuesday, October 24th – NBA regular season begins

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