Report: Kentucky reunion? ‘Mutual interest’ between Monk, Kings originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Could the Kings reunite the dynamic 2016-17 Kentucky Wildcats backcourt of Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox?
Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report reported Wednesday night, citing sources, that there’s mutual interest in the Kings signing Monk as free agency is set to officially begin at 3 p.m. Thursday.
Monk, who signed a one-year veteran minimum deal with the Los Angeles Lakers last season, posted a career-best numbers in 2021-22 and is due for a raise. The most he can sign with the Lakers is the team’s taxpayer mid-level exception, valued around $6.3 million.
At age 24, the No. 11 overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft could be looking to cash in.
“He definitely is looking for more, a bit more,” Fischer reported on a Spotify Live chat with fellow reporter Mark Stein. “The numbers I’ve heard are between $8 million and $12 million, which the taxpayer is at $6 million.
“The one team I heard — I’m not saying this is a done deal or it’s going to happen, it’s a very different situation than LA — but I heard there’s mutual interest. The one team I’ve heard to look out for him not to go to the Lakers is the Sacramento Kings.”
Sacramento has its estimated $10.3 million mid-level exception available, and could toss all or part of it at Monk to lure him to Golden 1 Center.
In 76 games last season, his first with the Lakers, Monk averaged 13.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, Monk lacks defensive presence — a massive need for the Kings — but he has greatly improved as a 3-point shooter. Monk drained 3s at a 32.2 percent clip over his first three seasons but jumped to 40.1 percent and 39.1 percent the last two campaigns.
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Even after drafting the efficient Keegan Murray with the No. 4 pick of the 2022 NBA Draft, outside shooting remains a need for Sacramento this offseason.
Fox and Monk spent their lone collegiate seasons at Kentucky together, starring in coach John Calipari’s backcourt. That season, Kentucky went 32-6 and advanced to the Elite Eight before falling to North Carolina. Monk was Kentucky’s leading scorer with an average of 19.8 points per game and Fox was second on the team with 16.7 points per contest.
That duo would undoubtedly fill up the highlight reels once again if reunited in Sacramento.