New Kings general manager Monte McNair checked off a few boxes in his introductory press conference Wednesday morning.
Yes, Luke Walton will remain the head coach of the team for next season.
No, he’s not going to lay out his strategy for the offseason.
And yes, De’Aaron Fox is the focal point of the team moving forward.
“De’Aaron is an incredible young talent,” McNair said. “I’ve loved to see what he’s done and what he’s improved on over the years and he’s got a very bright future ahead of him.”
Fox, 22, finished the season averaging 21.1 points and 6.8 assists per game for Sacramento, but it was his six-game stretch in the bubble that may have completely solidified his status as a max money player for this summer.
The speedy point guard dominated the action in Orlando, posting 26.2 points and 7.3 assists in 34.7 minutes of action before sitting out the final two games.
“This team showed some flashes last year,” McNair said. “I think De’Aaron is certainly a great young talent and I think his speed ability offensively to create really is going to be a huge catalyst for how coach Walton and I envision this team being up-tempo, creating the space to shoot threes and attack the rim.”
McNair comes from a Rockets team that finished last season third in the NBA in pace and first in 3-point attempts at more than 45 per game. He wants his club in Sacramento to play with the same speed and energy.
Fox is the team’s best chance to accomplish that goal, although McNair has to make a major commitment to the former Kentucky Wildcat this season.
League sources have confirmed to NBC Sports California that the Kings, under previous management, already had a discussion with Fox’s representation on an extension.
Depending on where the NBA’s final salary cap numbers come in, Fox is eligible for a five-year max money contract worth between $150-180 million. Don’t expect a discounted rate. He will ask for and likely get whatever the maximum is allowed under the collective bargaining agreement.