The Kings seem to be wasting no time in officially pursuing reigning EuroLeague MVP and Olympiacos star Sasha Vezenkov.
In the wake of the 2023 NBA Draft, Sacramento became free to negotiate with the 6-foot-9 wing under CBA rules after acquiring his rights from the Cleveland Cavaliers last offseason in exchange for the No. 49 overall pick in the 2022 draft.
The Kings offered Vezenkov an NBA contract worth part of their $12.4 million mid-level exception, or “slightly less” than the $8.4 million Keegan Murray will make next season in the second year of his rookie deal, Harry Stavrou of the Greek outlet Sport24. gr reported on Friday.
In recent months, Sacramento has taken the time to watch Vezenkov in person, with assistant coach Jay Triano traveling to Greece in February to watch the 27-year-old play. Coach Mike Brown also watched Vezenkov during the EuroLeague playoffs.
During the NBA Draft on Thursday, the Kings took the big cap space of trading center Richaun Holmes and the No. 24 pick to the Dallas Mavericks. They certainly have room for a player like Vezenkov — the two-time Greek League MVP who averaged 17.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists for Olympiacos this past season.
Vezenkov will reportedly earn $1.62 million next season with Olympiacos and $2.2 million the following year, if he stays in the EuroLeague. But if he were to join the NBA’s Kings, his contract with Olympiacos would have a buyout clause between $1 million and $1.5 million, according to BasketNews.com (h/t The Sacramento Bee’s Jason Anderson), and he would have to pay the about that. himself.
“The way they marked him made it difficult for him, but I liked what I saw,” Brown told Greek media (h/t BasketNews) of Vezenkov. “He leaves room for his teammates, he cuts well, he shoots well from three, he has tenacity, he fights for rebounds.
“The way he shoots from 3-point range is something we like. He manages the space very well, he’s quick. He can be an effective player in the NBA at a high level, especially with toughness that he shows. He’s fearless and I like that.”
Brown also said Vezenkov is a “priority” for the Kings, but the team will see where things go after the season. Now, we may just know.