Bidding war breaks out for Kings’ No. 4 pick in NBA draft

Purdue's Jaden Ivey, center, goes for the shot while Saint Peter's Isiah Dasher, left, looks on during the first half of a college basketball game in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament Friday, March 25, 2022 in Philadelphia.  (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Purdue’s Jaden Ivey, center, goes for the shot while Saint Peter’s Isiah Dasher, left, looks on during the first half of a college basketball game in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament Friday, March 25, 2022 in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

AP

The Kings knew they had a hot commodity when they jumped three spots in the lottery to secure the No. 4 pick in the NBA draft. Little did they know the value of the pick would generate enough commercial buzz to spark a live segment with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski from Game 6 of the NBA Finals Thursday night at TD Garden.

Wojnarowski reported on “NBA Countdown” that numerous teams are looking to move up to 4th place to keep Ivey strong, citing teams like the Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks and Washington Wizards. Earlier in the day, a report from Substacks Quinton Mayo indicated that the Wizards “spent a great deal of time discussing potential trade packages to earn No. 4 overall from Sacramento, Ivey’s assumed draft position.”

There was immediate speculation that such a deal would bring the Kings a package that would include the No. 10 draft plus Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma, a young player like Deni Avdija or Rui Hachimura, and an additional draft indemnity. Such an offer is worthy of discussion at Kings headquarters, but better deals could emerge.

It’s widely predicted that Ivey will go to the Kings as the No. 4 draft pick. Assuming he doesn’t jump into the top 3 ahead of Auburn power forward Jabari Smith Jr., Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren or Duke power forward Paolo Banchero.

Ivey, 20, is one of the most electrifying players in this year’s draft. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound guard averaged 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists as a sophomore at Purdue. He shot 46% from the field and 35.8% from 3-point range.

A report surfaced earlier this week that suggested Sacramento isn’t Ivey’s “preferred destination,” but that wouldn’t stop the Kings from drafting him. There are legitimate questions about Ivey’s fit with De’Aaron Fox given their similar strengths and weaknesses, but there’s also plenty of intrigue over the possibility of Fox and Ivey leading the floor in the transition and making cuts around a big man like Domantas Sabonis.

If Kings general manager Monte McNair retains the No. 4, he will likely have a choice of Ivey, Iowa forward Keegan Murray, Kentucky shooting guard Shaedon Sharpe and G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels. If McNair decides to trade the pick, he could potentially move back a position or more to acquire another player or additional assets.

Jason Anderson is an award-winning sportswriter for The Sacramento Bee. He began his journalism career at The Bee more than 20 years ago and returned in September 2018 to cover the Sacramento Kings.

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