Jaden Ivey Doesn’t View Sacramento As A ‘Preferred Destination’

As we move to within eight days of next Thursday’s NBA draft, the rumor mill is beginning to heat up.

According to ESPN’s Draft Analyst Jonathan Givony, Purdue star and consensus top-four talent Jaden Ivey doesn’t see the Sacramento Kings as a ‘preferred destination’.

Although Ivey reportedly would prefer a different team draft to him, Kings general manager Monte McNair and owner Vivek Ranadive were both in attendance during Ivey’s pro-day workout back on May 28th.

Sacramento currently holds the fourth-overall pick in the draft after jumping up from the seventh slot during May 17th’s NBA Draft Lottery.

The Kings aren’t Ivey’s preferred destination but have proved willing to take players without the benefit of workouts and medical information in the past, doing so as recently as a year ago when selecting Davion Mitchell. Many around the NBA feel that this pick is available for a team looking to swap picks and move up the draft for Ivey. Detroit, Indiana and Oklahoma City are among those that could potentially exchange an asset to help the Kings’ chances of contending for a playoff spot, with the likes of Jerami Grant, Myles Turner and Lu Dort a few potential options that rival teams point to.

ESPN’s Draft Analyst Jonathan Givony – June 15, 2022

The Kings certainly aren’t strangers to selecting players that have not worked out for them during the pre-draft process.

In 2012, Sacramento drafted Kansas forward Thomas Robinson after the college standout fell to fifth. The player that they did bring in for a workout, guard Damian Lillard, went sixth to Portland. In 2013, the Kings drafted Kansas’ Ben McLemore without bringing the guard in for a workout. As Givony mentioned, McNair selected Davion Mitchell without much medical information or a pre-draft workout.

Ivey is seen as a player that could go anywhere from second to fourth in this draft, but it’s becoming clear that a potential fit with Sacramento is in doubt.

Sources close to the Kings told KHTK that Ivey has not traveled to Golden 1 Center for a pre-draft workout.

One player that has reportedly met with the Kings during the pre-draft process is Iowa’s Keegan Murray, an athletic stretch-four that is looking more like Sacramento’s pick in this draft with each passing day.

Not only do several NBA draft analysts currently project Sacramento to select Murray, but some notable members of the team’s front office are reportedly interested in bringing the All-American into a frontcourt with All-Star center Domantas Sabonis.

Per Givony, new Kings head coach Mike Brown and owner Vivek Ranadive are both interested in selecting the 6’9 forward with the fourth pick next Thursday:

In the event that the Kings elect to hold on to this pick and prefer to avoid the drama associated with picking a player against his camp’s will, the candidacy of Keegan Murray might be gaining steam with head coach-to-be Mike Brown. Owner Vivek Ranadive is also said to be a proponent of selecting him.

ESPN’s Draft Analyst Jonathan Givony – June 15, 2022

The NBA Draft is about a week away, and this is the time that agents attempt to work their magic for their clients.

Just because Sacramento isn’t Ivey’s ‘preferred destination’, that doesn’t necessarily mean that McNair won’t pick him when the Kings are on the clock. McNair has long said that he will always pick ‘the best player available’ when selecting in an NBA Draft, regardless of position.

Ivey’s rumored reluctance to join the Kings is likely based on the fact that most prospects want to go to situations where they will get a bulk of the minutes in their preferred position.

Sacramento has De’Aaron Fox and Davion Mitchell in their current backcourt. Offseason negotiations with restricted free agent guard Donte DiVincenzo loom as July’s free agency period approaches.

Several teams beneath the Kings in the draft are interested in trading up for Ivey, something that McNair can use to his advantage if his goal is to surround Fox, Sabonis, and Mitchell with veteran talent and depth for a roster that is in desperate need of a facelift.

For now, the rumor mill will continue to turn as we all set our sights on next Thursday’s conclusion to this pre-draft madness.

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