New Kings general manager Monte McNair has plenty of tough decisions to make when it comes to the future of the franchise. One has to be when to get De’Aaron Fox’s contract extension done. The expectation has been Fox will be offered an extension worth the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement, making him the first Kings draft pick since DeMarcus Cousins to even be considered for a max extension.
But that doesn’t mean Fox doesn’t have a measure of leverage on the franchise. When it comes to his salary, there is no way Fox would settle for less than what Buddy Hield (four years, maximum value of $106 million) or Harrison Barnes (four years, $85 million) agreed to last year. That puts Fox closer to a deal in the max range. He might not have reached the level of being a franchise player in the mold of the NBA’s elite, but he is the best player the Kings have, so keeping him has to be a priority.
Throw all that away, though. This offseason, the Kings probably will make Fox the highest paid player in franchise history. “No doubt you are going to pay Fox,” one general manager told me. “Who else are you going to get to come to Sacramento? You have to pay him, overpay him, because it’ll be tough to bring in free agents. If you can sign him, not matter the cost, if you’re the Kings, you do it. I think he gets a max offer from them and he takes it. Simple.”
Fox, a 22-year-old point guard who will soon be eligible for a massive contract extension, intends to lead the Kings for years to come. Fox made that clear in a series of previously unpublished interviews with The Sacramento Bee before the NBA suspended its season due to the coronavirus pandemic. He reaffirmed those feelings Wednesday in a Zoom call with reporters from Golden 1 Center, where the Kings are preparing to resume their season at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. “It’s all the same,” Fox said. “… I see myself being here. I want to be here.”
“I want to be here,” Fox said. “Obviously, I want to win, but I want to do it here. It’s been, what — 13, 14 years since the last time the Kings made the playoffs? I want to be a part of the first one. “Obviously, we all want to win. There are some things we know we need to work on as a team, and I’m here for that. Every team has gone through it, probably not as long as the Kings have, but I want to be a part of that. I want to be able to get to the playoffs with this team, and, hopefully, when I’m a veteran in this league, be able to be a (championship) contender.”
Revenue losses stemming from the COVID-19 crisis and the NBA’s frayed relationship with China could result in a significant reduction in the salary cap. Max contracts are calculated based on the salary cap, so any reduction in the cap would cause a corresponding decline in max contract figures. As a result, the Kings might end up saving money on Fox’s new deal, but league executives and agents say there is too much uncertainty to project how much a cap hit might impact the team’s books or Fox’s future earnings. “It’s just way too premature to predict what’s going to happen,” Priority Sports and Entertainment CEO Mark Bartelstein said. “There’s just so much to play out in the next few months.”
The Kings and Fox already have had conversations regarding an extension, according to a league source. There is no word on the specifics, but salary-cap uncertainty due to the pandemic could make things a little crazy.
October 26, 2020 | 7:49 pm EDT Update
Tyronn Lue’s first coaching staff with the Clippers is taking shape, with the team nearing agreements with several key assistants. Miami assistant Dan Craig, former Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson and Larry Drew, a former head coach who most recently served on Lue’s Cleveland staff, have committed to join the Clippers as assistants, though their hiring is not yet official because deals have not been finalized, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.
The Toronto Raptors have another city lining up to host them next season. Super Bowl LIV MVP Patrick Mahomes has thrown Kansas City’s hat in the ring in the event Toronto is unable to play the 2020-21 NBA campaign north of the border. “Bring them to KC!” the superstar quarterback wrote on social media Monday.