The 2020 NBA offseason is a big one for the Sacramento Kings. The franchise is trying to end its 14-year playoff drought, the longest of any current NBA team and one year shy of the longest streak in NBA history. New general manager Monte McNair has some big decisions to make as he begins implementing his vision for the roster.
Sacramento holds the 12th pick of the 2020 NBA Draft and should add a nice piece to its rotation. That is when McNair will have to decide if he wants to try and re-sign restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic.
Another order of business for McNair is figuring out the Buddy Hield situation. The sharpshooting Hield isn’t happy with his role with the Kings after head coach Luke Walton yanked him from the starting lineup.
I caught up with ESPN Senior Writer Brian Windhorst to discuss Bogi, Hield and more. The interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
SB Nation: McNair is a Daryl Morey product. What do people around the league think of Sacramento’s new general manager?
Brian Windhorst: When I asked around about him, not that many people in the league know him very well. He would probably say we need to talk to more people. I watched his introductory press conference and he did a very good job of not saying much, other than Luke Walton will be our head coach. He said that definitively.
SBN: What is McNair’s biggest challenge in trying to get the Kings back to the playoffs?
BW: To me, that roster is a little misshapen. Definitely, Buddy Hield is disgruntled, which is unfortunate because he’s got a big contract starting right now, and then they’ve got a pretty important free agent in Bogdan Bogdanovic, and they have to sign De’Aaron Fox to a contract extension and I’m not sure that he’s a guaranteed full max player. I think he will probably get the max but there could be some negotiation on it. I mean, I like him a lot, don’t get me wrong, but there are some pretty big decisions right out of the gate, about the future of your roster and locking that down. I would not be surprised if we see the Kings make a significant move, whether it involves Buddy Hield or not. It depends on you know how much they’re willing to spend. The Kings are not an organization that has deep pockets. And they’re facing a season with heavy losses and does that affect what they do with Bogdan?. They’ve been unpredictable in the past. I have a feeling that the Kings that show up on Christmas or whenever they start will look different they do today, but boy, I do not know what that’s gonna be.
SBN: The previous regime seemed to be locked in on bringing back Bogdanovic. Has that changed with McNair running the show now?
BW: As you know, Bogdanovic is Serbian; there’s a huge connection to Vlade [Divac] there. So, the feel in the league was that there was no way they were letting Bogdan go. When they got to the trade deadline last year and they didn’t move him, there was a strong feeling within the organization that they had decided he was going to stay.
They had a contract offer on the table for him, which was the four-year $52 million offer, which you can give to second-round picks. And he turned that down. And so my guess is, you know, I think Bobby Marks from ESPN, he does a really good job with this. He pegged him at like 14 to $16 million a year. So you know, you’re looking at a contract that’s $60 to 70 million over four years. I mean, that is a big bite to give a guy who is basically a sub-All-Star for a team that has already got some big spending there and coming in the future with the De’Aaron Fox, for a roster that is not a playoff team. There are teams out there that are intending to make runs at Bogdan because they think there’s a chance that they could get him. We’ll see how it plays out.
SBN: Fans are frustrated with how the Marvin Bagley experiment has gone so far, especially considering Divac passed on Luka Doncic. What are your thoughts on his first two years in the NBA?
BW: The problem is you can’t have a Marvin Bagley conversation without having a Luka Doncic conversation. And it’s unfortunate, and that’s unfair, but that’s just reality, right? I know Marvin; I spent a little bit of time with him. I happen to really like him. I did a piece last year on Sierra Canyon, where Bronny James is playing, and a bunch of other stars are playing. The people there talk about Marvin around there like he set the tone for these guys to follow. Marvin’s character, his skill set, is very high. He’s sort of the perfect big man for the modern NBA.
I mean, you look at it on a piece of paper, and you’d say taking him second wasn’t insane. There’s a lot to like about him. He has just not been healthy, and when he has been healthy, he has not performed. So look, I’m not jumping off of the Marvin Bagley train I’m sticking and believing in Marvin. But, obviously, I can understand why the Kings and their fans and their team are frustrated about it; there’s no other way to say it.
Do you think McNair will re-sign Bogi? Or let him walk to another team?