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Here’s why Sacramento Kings are waiving Neemias Queta, Nerlens Noel before training camp

Sacramento’s stable of backup big men won’t be as crowded as previously believed when the Kings open training camp Oct. 3.

The Kings are waiving centers Neemias Queta and Nerlens Noel to give them an opportunity to play elsewhere, a league source told The Sacramento Bee, confirming a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The move comes 10 days after the Kings announced the signing of JaVale McGee, a three-time NBA champion who will compete with Alex Len for the backup spot behind All-NBA center Domantas Sabonis.

The Kings now have four roster spots and one two-way contract available. Teams can carry up to 21 players during training camp, but they can’t have more than 15 players under standard NBA contracts when the season begins.

The Kings had high hopes for Queta when they selected him out of Utah State with the 39th overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft. Queta was a force for the G League Stockton Kings, finishing second in MVP voting last season, but he never established himself at the NBA level.

Queta, 24, became the first player from Portugal to play in the NBA, but he appeared in only 20 games over two seasons with Sacramento, averaging 2.9 points and 2.1 rebounds. The Kings re-signed Queta on a two-year, $4.2 million contract over the summer, but the deal included only $250,000 in guaranteed money in the first year with no guarantee in the second year.

Noel, 29, is a nine-year NBA veteran who has appeared in 17 career playoff games. He averaged career highs of 11.1 points and 8.1 rebounds for the Philadelphia 76ers in 2015-16 and recorded a career-high 2.2 blocks per game for the New York Knicks in 2020-21, but he has appeared in only 42 games over the past two seasons.

The Kings signed Noel to a free-agent contract for the veteran minimum of $3.2 million. The deal included $300,000 in guaranteed money.