The Sacramento Kings may have to up their contract offer to EuroLeague Most Valuable Player Sasha Vezenkov if the team hopes to sign the international star.
Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee cited a report which stated that the Kings plan to use a portion of the team’s $12.4 million mid-level exception to try to sign Vezenkov.
“Sport24 reported ‘the amount offered to Sasha’ is ‘slightly lower’ than the $8.4 million Keegan Murray is owed next season in the second year of his rookie contract,” wrote Anderson.
Vezenkov, who turns 28 in August, is considering a move to the NBA and looking to build off his second MVP season in the Greek Basket League. This past season’s performance played a key role in helping his team, Olympiacos, capture the league championship.
He also helped the team make a deep run in the 2022-23 EuroLeague by averaging 17.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game while making 54.6 percent of his shots and 39.8 percent of his 3-point attempts.
The rights to Vezenkov were acquired by the Kings from the Cleveland Cavaliers after the Cavs had obtained them from the Brooklyn Nets. That move was part of a multi-team deal involving James Harden in January 2021.
While Vezenkov is technically still under contract with Olympiacos, the Kings can buy out such a deal. One report indicates that Vezenkov’s buyout clause is between $1 million and $1.5 million.
Exactly how much it would take to sign Vezenkov is unknown, though Anderson noted that his current contract is much lower than what he’d make in the NBA.
“Vezenkov is reportedly set to earn $1.62 million next season with Olympiacos and $2.2 million in 2024-25,” wrote Anderson.
The Kings scouted him this past season and feel that Vezenkov would blend in well with the team’s explosive offense. His ability to connect from beyond the arc is one reason for that enthusiasm, as well as his aggressive approach to the game.
Over the course of his international career, Vezenkov has connected on 39.5 percent of his 3-pointers and 81.4 percent of his free throws.
The Kings were one of the surprises of the 2022-23 regular season, finishing with a record of 48-34 and competing in the postseason for the first time since 2006. Unfortunately, that playoff run was abruptly stopped in the first round, when the Kings lost in seven games to the Golden State Warriors.