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West Sacramento News-Ledger

Kings find needed sharpshooters in Huerter and Monk

Jul 08, 2022 12:00AM ● By By Shaun Holkko, sports editor

Sacramento Kings guard Kevin Huerter, general manager Monte McNair and guard Malik Monk pose for a photo at the players' introductory press conference on Friday, July 8 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Kings

Kings find needed sharpshooters in Huerter and Monk [3 Images] Click Any Image To Expand

LAS VEGAS, NV (MPG) - Live from the strip in Las Vegas, Sacramento Kings general manager Monte McNair formally introduced two of the team’s newest sharpshooters to the media on July 8.

The Kings welcomed Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk to the team Friday afternoon at a press conference held at the Thomas and Mack Center. Both players bring much-needed shooting depth and floor-spacing to Sacramento.

“We had goals going in [to the offseason] about what we wanted to accomplish,” McNair said. “Certainly, adding shooting, size, versatility, defense, depth, as well as a coach. We don’t think we’re done, but we never feel we’re done. With these two guys, [they are] two pieces that are going to fit great with the rest of our guys and give us a lot of those things that we were looking for.”

Huerter is a 6-foot-7 shooting guard going into his fifth season in the NBA. He was acquired July 1 by the Kings in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Maurice Harkless, Justin Holiday and a future first round pick, according to ESPN. In 74 games with 60 as a starter, Huerter averaged 12.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists in just under 30 minutes per game for the Hawks last season.

Monk is a 6-foot-3 shooting guard entering his sixth year in the league. He signed with Sacramento as a free agent June 30 for 2-years and $19 million, according to ESPN 1320 Sacramento. In 76 games with 37 as a starter for the Los Angeles Lakers last season, Monk averaged 13.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists in just over 28 minutes per game.

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Huerter, 23, had spent his entire career with Atlanta until being dealt to the Kings.

“I had a vet tell me in my first two years, ‘you never experience the true NBA until you get traded,’” Huerter said. “That for me was like my first true NBA-moment feeling. It’s the first time you change teams and meet a whole new group of guys, new organization, so I’m really excited to be here. I feel wanted.”

Monk, 24, played one season at the University of Kentucky and played alongside Sacramento’s speedy sensation, De’Aaron Fox. The duo led the Wildcats to a 2017 Sweet 16 appearance and became very close.

“I talk to Fox everyday man, so it really wasn’t a conversation right before I signed,” Monk said. “Got a call from Sac, said they wanted to offer me, so I called Fox to see what he thought about it and made the decision after that. I’m ready to play with my teammate, my brother.”

Huerter comes to Sacramento with many nicknames in tow, including K-Von, Red Velvet and Red Mamba. The 23-year-old said Kings fans can refer to him by any nickname except for K-Von, as that one was exclusive to the ATL.

“I guess that means not one has fully stuck, yet I guess if I got three or four of them,” Huerter said. “I think my favorite one when I was in Atlanta was the K-Von. I think that was just something that, you know Atlanta, you know the people there, that was something that was kind of funny. They took Kevin and made me Atlanta’s version of Kevin which was K-Von. So, I think that one can stay there.

“But past that, it’s really whatever you guys like or feel comfortable with.”

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Monk played the first four years of his career with the Charlotte Hornets under the guidance of team owner, Michael Jordan, arguably one of the greatest basketball players of all-time. Last season, he played for the Lakers and alongside LeBron James, another one of the all-time greats.

“Life changing experiences from both aspects,” Monk said. “With Jordan being the owner, I seen things from that side. With LeBron being a player, I seen things from his side. So, I got a lot of life changing experiences with those guys.”

Huerter, Monk and the rest of the Kings will now attempt to halt the longest playoff drought in NBA history at 16 seasons beginning in October.

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