Pacific Notes: Murray, Suns, Christie, Bazemore

Keegan Murray is bringing hope to Kings fans after an MVP performance in the Las Vegas Summer League, writes Steve Bulpett of Heavy. The No. 4 overall pick displayed an advanced offensive array while averaging 23.3 points per game and shooting 50% from the field and 40% from three-point range.

Many draft observers criticized the Kings for passing on Jaden Ivey to select Murray, but he’s a better fit with the current roster and is showing signs that he’ll be able to contribute right away. An unidentified personnel executive told Bulpett that Murray was the second most impressive player in Summer League behind Paolo Banchero.

“I don’t think people knew how well he could shoot the ball,” the executive said of Murray. “He’s a tremendous shooter. That still has to translate to the real games, but I think he opened some people’s eyes. The Kings could be really interesting if (new head coach) Mike (Brown) can get those guys to realize what they can do. It’s been a long time since Sacramento was any good, and these guys obviously weren’t there for all of it, but sometimes it can be hard for a team to take that first big step.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Suns seem committed to being a taxpaying team after matching the Pacers’ offer sheet for Deandre Ayton, and Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic examines whether the roster is good enough to justify that investment. Phoenix currently has $167.1MM in guaranteed salary, well above the projected $150.267MM tax threshold, and is facing a $34.8MM tax bill.
  • The Lakers have been watching Max Christie since 2019 and he was the top prospect on their draft board by far when it was time for their pick at No. 35, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. “Just him showing flashes of being a good perimeter shooter with his shooting mechanics and being able to create his own shot off the dribble,” said assistant general manager and co-owner Jesse Buss. “A high-IQ player, obviously, with his size and his length, at the two guard position.”
  • Free agent Kent Bazemore posted an online photo of his workouts with former Warriors teammate Stephen Curry (hat tip to Joey Linn of Sports Illustrated’s Fan Nation). Bazemore, who left Golden State to sign with the Lakers last summer, is waiting for an offer for next season.

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