Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox and former Kentucky teammate Malik Monk have remained close since their days together with the Wildcats. Now, they will grow even closer.
League sources told The Sacramento Bee the Kings have reached an agreement with Monk, a 24-year-old free-agent shooting guard who spent last season with the Los Angeles Lakers. Monk is reportedly expected to sign a two-year, $19 million contract with the Kings when the moratorium ends July 6.
A source with knowledge of the situation told The Bee that Monk’s relationship with Fox was a big factor in his decision to sign with Sacramento.
“Him and De’Aaron are extremely close and they’ve been close since high school, so I would say the overall factor with Fox, their relationship and the friendship they’ve always had, definitely played a big role,” the source said.
Monk and the Kings haven’t discussed whether he will start, but that opportunity was part of the appeal in Sacramento, sources said. Monk is said to be eager to demonstrate his utility, versatility and growing commitment to defense.
Monk and Fox starred together at Kentucky in 2016-17, leading the Wildcats to a 32-5 record and an appearance in the Elite Eight. The Charlotte Hornets selected Monk with the No. 11 pick in the 2017 NBA draft, just moments after the Kings took Fox with the No. 5 pick.
Monk is a bit undersized for his position at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds. He won’t help the Kings address their need for size, length and defense, but he will certainly add shooting, which is also considered an area of need in Sacramento.
Monk averaged career highs of 13.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.4 blocks in 76 games for the Lakers last season, including 37 starts. He shot a career-best 47.3% from the field, 39.1% from 3-point range and 79.5% at the free-throw line. He shot 40.1% from beyond the arc with the Hornets in 2020-21.
The Kings were in the market for a starting-caliber shooting guard after declining to tender a $6.6 million qualifying offer to Donte DiVincenzo, who is now an unrestricted free agent.