New faces and frontcourt depth
The previously mentioned Vezenkov is the latest EuroLeague MVP and a true sharpshooter at the forward position. As he has never played in the NBA before, he is kind of a wild card, but there is plenty of potential there, and at 28 he is not a regular rookie, meaning that he can hopefully contribute right away as a backup four.
Lacking frontcourt depth was one of the biggest challenges the Kings faced in the playoffs. All season long, coach Mike Brown experimented with backup bigs Alex Len, Neemias Queta, Richaun Holmes, and Chimezie Metu but nothing seemed to fit seamlessly, and Kevon Looney single-handedly took them apart on the boards during the playoffs.
So, getting some extra bigs had to be a priority this offseason, and the Kings made plenty of moves to address that. After trading Richaun Holmes and the 24th pick to the Dallas Mavericks on draft day to free up some much-needed cap space, the team re-signed Alex Len to the veteran minimum and signed Nerlens Noel and Neemias Queta to partially guaranteed one-year deals.
Later this summer, they also signed three-time champion JaVale McGee almost as soon as he became available and in turn waived both Noel and Queta. McGee is coming off a disappointing campaign with the Mavericks, which is why the team decided to waive him, but the Kings obviously have faith that he can still have an impact at age 35.
All this leaves the Kings with three real centers to start the season, and the backup spot is up for grabs. Len and McGee both have a fair chance to be the first big off the bench when Sabonis needs to take a breather or is in foul trouble, but if neither works out well, Lyles might also take up meaningful minutes as a small ball five. So, the beginning of the season will involve plenty of experimenting with lineups and competition for the role.
Besides that, in more underrated offseason moves, the Kings also picked up Kessler Edward’s $1.9 million team option, traded for Chris Duarte, and drafted Colby Jones. All three are low-risk moves for players that have quite the potential.
Kessler came to the Kings at the 2023 trade deadline and played some solid minutes. While he did not have a huge impact last season, he is only 23 years old and might still grow into a reliable wing option. Duarte, on the other hand, is already 26, but he showed nice potential during his All-Rookie Second Team campaign with the Indiana Pacers, and all the Kings had to give up was two future second-round picks. So far, he has never played over 55 games in a season due to injuries, but if he can stay healthy, he could offer the Kings depth on the wing and versatility.
Grade for new additions Vezenkov, McGee, Duarte, and Jones: B+
Grade for retaining Len and Kessler: C+