De'Aaron Fox on Malik Monk's Free Agency: 'Money Talks'

After a season-ending loss on Friday, Fox and the Kings are preparing for Monk's inevitable departure.
Dec 29, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox (5) reacts with guard Malik Monk (0).
Dec 29, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox (5) reacts with guard Malik Monk (0). / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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The Sacramento Kings suffered a premature end to their 2023-24 season, taking a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night, failing to make it out of their first Play-In Tournament appearance. Many fans will trace Sacramento's downfall to March 29, when leading Sixth Man of the Year candidate Malik Monk suffered a sprained MCL, ultimately ending his season.

Monk's absence was greatly felt by the Kings, as missing his spark off the bench and closing ability certainly did not go unnoticed. While the Kings did not go out the way they expected, there is always next season. Right?

As Kings fans have been preparing for all season, Monk is a pending free agent and has likely played his last game in a Sacramento uniform. Monk, 26, averaged career-highs in points (15.4) and assists (5.1) per game, and is on the verge of securing his first Sixth Man of the Year award. Monk has proven his value and will likely enter a bidding war once he hits the market. Unfortunately for the Kings, due to restrictions, they will be unable to offer him what he deserves.

Sacramento's star point guard and Monk's college teammate, De'Aaron Fox, was asked about Monk's pending free agency (via @MattGeorgeSAC | X):

"Obviously I think [Monk] was extremely big for us. People who watched us play know he should be Sixth Man of the Year." Fox continued, "At the end of the day, this is a business. I feel like what he gave to us in the two years that he has been here, I feel like he showed his value and what he can do for a team. I'm happy for him regardless of if he's with us or he isn't, and he knows that. At the end of the day, this is a business, and you can only play basketball for so long... Money talks."

The Kings acquired Monk in 2022 free agency, and the star sixth man has been one of Sacramento's most productive players through two seasons. While the Kings would certainly dream of keeping Monk long-term, it is unrealistic for the talented guard to take a significant pay cut to stay with a franchise that just missed the playoffs.

While Fox did not tell the media whether Monk is leaning toward leaving or staying, he certainly gives the impression that he expects Monk to find a new home this summer. The Kings will have an off-season full of questions that need answers, and filling Monk's role will be an immediate concern.


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Logan Struck

LOGAN STRUCK

Logan Struck is the Deputy Editor for Inside the Kings - SI.com's team website following the Sacramento Kings.