It might be time for Kings fans to freak out about Malik Monk’s free agency

Sacramento Kings v Washington Wizards
Sacramento Kings v Washington Wizards / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

After reviving his career for the past two seasons in Sacramento, Malik Monk has a huge decision coming up. Entering free agency, he can either stay in Sacramento or sign with another team. 

Monk has been one of the best bench players in the league this season, might still win the Sixth Man of the Year award, and will be one of the most sought-after names on the market. Many teams could use a young guard with elite shotmaking and playmaking skills who is never afraid of the moment. 

One of those teams is Sacramento. Monk is pretty much irreplaceable at this point. He and De’Aaron Fox are the only players on the team who can reliably go and get a bucket at will and change the flow of a game. No one else is nearly as dynamic as those two are on the perimeter, and without Monk, Fox will be incredibly lonely in clutch situations. 

The problem is that the Kings can only offer Monk around $78 million over four years, and the rest of the league knows that. If any front office out there really wants Monk on its team, they can offer him more. Orlando, for example, is one team that could use Monk’s skill set and has money available. 

De’Aaron Fox voices off on Monk’s free agency

De’Aaron Fox’s comments on his teammates' free agency were not very encouraging. The Kings sorely missed Monk last night in New Orleans, and reporters were naturally curious to know if there were any tidings on his next move. 

“This is a business. You can only play basketball for so long,” Fox said on that topic, explaining that he would love to have Monk around, but also wouldn’t blame him if he were to follow the money. Obviously, we have no idea what is really going on but it sounds like Fox thinks that Monk will sign the best available contract. 

Considering the money potentially on the table, no one could blame Monk for doing that, but basketball in Sacramento will be tough without Monk. Unless Keon Ellis or Davion Mitchell takes a huge step forward over the summer, the Kings have no one to replace him, few trade assets, and little cap space. 

The Kings have a huge summer coming up

As mentioned before, losing Monk over the summer would be a huge blow to the Kings. They have to build a contender now or risk falling so far behind that they won’t be able to catch up with some of the other young teams that are fighting for the top spots in the West already. 

That entails a lot of upgrades that might be difficult to come by. The Kings need more size and more defense and, if Monk leaves, a lot more firepower off the bench. Those kinds of upgrades don’t come cheap, and the Kings will be very limited in the number of draft picks they can trade over the summer. 

Since the top-14 protected first-round pick they still owe the Hawks won’t convey now that the Kings aren’t making the playoffs, they won’t be able to move any of their 2025-2027 first-round picks. That leaves Kevin Huerter, Harrison Barnes, and Davion Mitchell as the team’s primary trade assets, and that trio already didn’t garner much interest at the trade deadline. 

The front office has to figure this out, however, or we might watch the Kings miss the playoffs again next season. The West is already tough enough now and will only get stronger. Oklahoma, Denver, and Dallas are true powerhouses, the Grizzlies, Pelicans, and Timberwolves will be eying top seeds next season, and the Spurs and Rockets are young and hungry. Running it back again won’t be enough for the Kings.