It has been a quiet couple of days in Sacramento since the start of free agency began. To date, the Kings have lost Harry Giles, Kent Bazemore, Alex Len and Bogdan Bogdanovic, the last of whom the Kings refused to match an offer sheet for from the Atlanta Hawks.
New general manager Monte McNair signed De’Aaron Fox to an expected max-money extension and free-agent center Hassan Whiteside to a veteran minimum contract. Outside of those two items, the Kings have been tied to very few free agents.
The list grew by one on Wednesday when the New York Times' Jonathan Abrams reported that the Kings were the first team to meet with Derrick Jones Jr. and his agent Aaron Turner -- via Zoom -- on the opening night of free agency.
“If they’re going to let me play and let me be me, then I’m with it ... if the number’s right,” Jones said following the meeting with the Kings.
Following his sit down with the Kings’ brass, Jones met with both the Portland Trail Blazers and Minnesota Timberwolves. He eventually chose the Trail Blazers and signed a two-year, $19 million contract.
Jones Jr., 23, fits the player arc of De’Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley and Tyrese Haliburton. The 2020 NBA Slam Dunk contest champion has tremendous potential on the defensive end and he averaged 8.5 points and 3.9 rebounds in 23.3 minutes per game for the Miami Heat last season.
The Kings missed out on Jones Jr., but at least they were in the discussion. Six days into the free agency period, there aren’t a lot of players like him still available, but at least we know the type of player the team is looking for.