Sacramento Kings linked to Los Angeles Lakers guard Malik Monk as free agency begins

·2 min read
Randall Benton/AP

On the eve of free agency, there were whispers of a potential reunion between former Kentucky guards Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox in Sacramento.

Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported Wednesday night there was “mutual interest” between Monk and the Kings with free agency set to begin at 3 p.m. Thursday.

Monk, a 24-year-old shooting guard, is an unrestricted free agent after four seasons with the Charlotte Hornets and one with the Los Angeles Lakers. Fox, a 24-year-old point guard entering his sixth season with the Kings, starred with Monk at Kentucky in 2016-17, leading the Wildcats to a 32-5 record and an appearance in the Elite Eight.

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Monk is expected to command a salary in the range of $8 million to $12 million. The Kings can offer him all or part of their $10.3 million mid-level exception.

Monk is a bit undersized for his position at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds. He wouldn’t help the Kings address their need for size, length and defense, but he would certainly add shooting, which is also considered an area of need in Sacramento.

Monk averaged career highs of 13.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.4 blocks in 76 games for the Lakers last season, including 37 starts. He shot a career-best 47.3% from the field, 39.1% from 3-point range and 79.5% at the free-throw line. He shot 40.1% from beyond the arc with the Hornets in 2020-21.

The Kings could be in the market for a starting-caliber shooting guard after declining to tender a $6.6 million qualifying offer to Donte DiVincenzo, who will now become an unrestricted free agent. The Kings could still negotiate a new deal with DiVincenzo — and his Bird rights would allow them to go over the salary cap to re-sign him — but they have given up the right of first refusal.

Sacramento currently has only three guards under contract for next season. Fox will earn nearly $30.4 million in the second year of a five-year, $163 million deal. Davion Mitchell will earn $4.8 million in the second year of his rookie contract. Terence Davis is owed $4 million in the second year of a two-year, $8 million deal.