Report: Kings ‘nearing trade’ to acquire Duarte from Pacers

The Kings put some of their cap space to use Friday morning.

Sacramento is “nearing a trade” to acquire Indiana Pacers guard Chris Duarte in exchange for draft compensation, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported, citing sources.

Duarte, 26, was drafted by the Pacers at No. 13 overall in 2021. The 6-foot-6 guard had a solid rookie season in Indiana, averaging 13.1 points on 43.2 percent shooting from the field and 36.9 percent from 3-point range, 4.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.0 steals in 28.0 minutes played.

In his sophomore season, though, his minutes decreased as rookie guard Bennedict Mathurin, the No. 6 overall pick in 2022, took over.

Duarte played just under 20 minutes per game, averaging 7.9 points on 36.9-percent shooting from the field and 31.6 percent from downtown.

The talent is undeniably there, but he needs the reps. Sacramento could serve as a fresh start for the third-year guard.

In the 2023 draft last Thursday, the Kings traded away their No. 24 pick and center Richuan Holmes to the Dallas Mavericks in a move that bumped their salary cap space to about $35 million. They reportedly agreed on a new three-year contract extension with veteran forward Harrison Barnes, slicing that number to roughly $18 million.

Adding Duarte to the mix would add depth to the roster while still giving Sacramento some wiggle room with what’s left in cap space. The Dominican guard is entering Year 3 of his four-year, $17.7 million rookie contract he signed with the Pacers. He’s owed just over $4 million in 2023-24 and has a team option at almost $6 million in 2024-25, per Spotrac.

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