The Kings could lose Malik Monk to an Eastern Conference riser

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

To keep their playoff hopes alive, it goes without saying that keeping Malik Monk should be among their biggest priorities. Monk truly came into his own as a second-unit spark plug whose scoring skillset is unlike anything the Kings have seen since prime Bobby Jackson.

Not only that, but Monk's badly-timed late-season injury, along with Kevin Huerter's, may have very been the deciding factor in what kept the Kings from making the playoffs and avoiding the play-in altogether. So keeping him seems pretty straightforward for Sacramento, no?

Well, Monk has voiced his interest in staying with the Kings with HoopsHype's Michael Scotto in April, and there haven't been any reports suggesting the feeling isn't mutual on Sacramento's end. So who could potentially stand in their way? None other than the Orlando Magic.

The Magic have money to spend

The Magic are in that rare position of being a team very much on the rise with the cap flexibility to add to their current core. Sure, they were eliminated in the first round for the second consecutive year, but they still had a stellar season, all things considered.

Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner are only just starting to get their feet wet in the postseason. Due to their youth and inexperience, they'll, of course, have to pay some dues in the playoffs, but they've given every indication that this could be the beginning of something special. Adding to it seems like a certainty, as they can offer any quality free agent both money and the chance to play for a playoff team.

The Kings obviously would prefer to keep Monk than lose him for nothing, but the Magic can potentially top whatever the Kings are willing to offer Monk in a new deal. More importsntly, Monk could be handed a bigger role in Orlando than he would in Sacramento.

Why Malik Monk fits with what Orlando needs

Orlando's Game 7 loss against the Cavaliers came about because their biggest flaw stood out more obviously than ever: perimeter scoring. For as good as Banchero and Wagner already are—and they should only get better—the Magic lack consistent scoring from their guards. Hence, the Cavaliers more or less dared the Magic to beat them with anyone else but those two, and it worked. The box score numbers are ugly.

That's where someone like Monk could come in. Even if efficiency isn't his strong suit, as he's coming off a season with an effective field goal percentage of 52.6, Monk is a shot creator in the backcourt. He is someone who would make an opponent pay if they blanket Banchero and Wagner to leave him open.

It's likely that Monk would not be Orlando's first option. There are much more high-profile free agent options that the Magic will likely go after first before they consider Monk. NBA Insider Marc Stein reported their interest in Klay Thompson back in February. However, if they strike out on their primary targets, don't be shocked if Monk gets tied to them.

The last time the Magic added a high-profile NBA player was Rashard Lewis back in 2007. Keep in mind, however, that they added Lewis around the exact time Dwight Howard entered his prime. Monk isn't a potential max contract player, but he is someone who would fit the hole the Magic will likely try to fill this offseason.

The Sacramento Kings will have plenty of questions to answer this offseason. The odds of Monk leaving for the time being seem very low, but if the Magic are serious about moving on up by any means necessary, the Kings should tie up the loose end Monk as quickly as possible.