Recently, the Sacramento Kings have been busy. Over a week ago, they signed point guard Matthew Dellavedova, and then they signed wing Kent Bazemore at the end of the weekend. Now, according to Marc Spears, they’ve just signed two-time champion Quinn Cook.
The addition sets up for what should be a nice competition for the third point guard role. Dellavedova and Cook have had their names thrown around as options for that role since early July when Spears reported that the team had invited them, as well as Shabazz Muhammad, to a workout in Las Vegas. And the impression that they could end up with the Kings never went away.
The idea that one or the other would join the team to fulfill the roster role is not any surprise. The fact that both of them were signed, however, may have been. And only because it seemed like the two were pretty comparable in terms of value and therefore either would be sufficient.
The more the merrier, though. With both of them competing for that spot in training camp, that’ll offer the best possible result. The best man will win.
Matthew Dellavedova’s one-year contract was originally reported as partially guaranteed, but per HoopsRumors, because the Kings only have to pay him the $250k if he is not waived prior to game one of the regular season, it’s actually non-guaranteed.
The details of the one-year deal Cook signed are not yet known so soon after the announcement, but Dellavedova’s known contract situation does not mean Cook has any better of a chance to make the team. Cook’s contract will likely end up having a very similar caveat in terms of guaranteed money.
Things will just have to sort themselves out in training camp.
If anything, due to Dellavedova’s extensive experience and better—albeit not impressive—size, the Australian may have an edge over the 6’1″ Cook. The latter, though, will be 29 this season while the other turns 32 in December, so the argument could be made the other way, too.
But the point remains that in regards to a third point guard—a roster spot that does not command nightly minutes in the rotation—the Kings have two very capable and trustworthy players battling it out. Both are relentless and tenacious defenders who offer some three-point shooting, experience, and locker room presence. And that last part about the effect a veteran can have is vital for a young team as they try to grow together and make things work for the season ahead.
With these recent signings, it equals a total of 19 players who will be on the training camp roster. This includes the guys who should make the team as well as KZ Okpala and Chima Moneke. It also includes Neemias Queta and Keon Ellis, the guys under two-way contracts who will play most of their minutes in Stockton.
There’s now just one spot left for training camp.
If the history of past workouts and the specific roster needs suggest anything, perhaps that final guy could be Shabazz Muhammad. He’d been gaining interest from other teams, but has yet to sign anywhere.
The former lottery pick may not be an exceptionally appealing name, but because the wing depth is so lacking, it might not be a bad thing to consider.
Adding Kent Bazemore improves the depth, but after the year he had with the Lakers, it’s hard to say if he’s is anywhere close to the Bazemore of the Hawks, Kings (in his 2020 stint), and Warriors. He may be a great reserve on the wing, but he could just as well lose out on a rotational spot like he did last year.
Bringing in Muhammad to compete for a spot could potentially end up as an example of catching lightning in a bottle—though that, as connoted in the expression, is unlikely—but at the very least, it would add to the competition.
Either way, Bazemore will remain a surefire NBA player still—to what level at age 33 remains unknown. On the other end are the two question marks in KZ Okpala and Chima Moneke. Okpala has little NBA experience, and Moneke has none. They can’t be written off, and there’s a chance they could make the roster and fight for minutes, but that’d likely come as a surprise. In the middle of it all could be Muhammad, who may not have ever showed he was a lock for an NBA roster, but who’s nevertheless been around the block and can add to that level of competition in camp.
It’s important to remain realistic, but it could make things interesting at minimum.
Whoever that twentieth guy ends up being, it may not matter because there are already so many guys who look like they should make the cut. But that’s what training camp is for: feeling things out. So everyone will have to wait and see.
But in that regard, the Kings seem to have a solid competition brewing for the third point guard spot between Dellavedova and Cook. Same is true of how guys can compete for playing time, including Terence Davis, Richaun Holmes, and Chimezie Metu. And having what looks to be hearty camp competition is good news for a franchise that’s lacked depth for a long time.
Things aren’t quite done yet. It’s probably near doubtful that Harrison Barnes gets moved at this point, but that twentieth training camp spot is still worth keeping an eye on.