Sasha Vezenkov

Kings target Vezenkov has knee injury scare in Greek finals

Sasha Vezenkov, one of the Kings' top prospects, had a knee injury scare in the Greek League Finals.


Sasha Vezenkov, Olympiacos star and one of the Kings' top offseason targets, sustained a knee injury Thursday during Game 2 of the Greek League Finals.

But luckily for Sacramento, a postgame MRI showed Vezenkov avoided serious injury despite needing help off the court -- and he returned to play in Game 3 on Sunday.

Vezenkov was injured toward the end of the third quarter during Olympiacos' 67-65 loss to Panathinaikos in the best-of-seven series held in Athens, Greece. The star forward ended up on the floor beneath the basket after going up for an offensive rebound, and the team announced he sustained a swollen bone "on the posterior surface of the medial tibial condyle of his right knee."

Despite the injury, Vezenkov recovered enough to play 20 minutes in Olympiacos' Game 3 win, scoring seven points in the 75-52 victory.

This is big news for the Kings, of course, who have kept an eye on the reigning EuroLeague MVP after acquiring his NBA rights from the Cleveland Cavaliers last offseason in exchange for the No. 49 overall pick of the 2022 draft.

In recent months, Sacramento has invested more time in watching Vezenkov's play, with assistant coach Jay Triano traveling to Greece in February to watch the 27-year-old play. Coach Mike Brown also observed Vezenkov during the EuroLeague playoffs. 

"The way they mark him has made it difficult for him, but I like what I see," Brown told Greek media (h/t Basket News) of Vezenkov. "He leaves room for his teammates, he cuts well, he shoots well from three, he has toughness, he fights for rebounds.

"The way he shoots from the 3-point range is something we like. He handles the space very well, he's quick. He'll be an effective player in the NBA at a high level, especially with the toughness he shows. He's fearless and I love that."

Brown also said Vezenkov is a "priority" for the Kings, but the team would see where things stand after the season.

Under CBA rules, the Kings can't sign Vezenkov until after the 2023 NBA Draft in June. It's clear Brown and Co. like what they've seen from the 27-year-old, as NBA insider Marc Stein previously has reported Vezenkov-to-Sacramento is "trending toward inevitable."

RELATED: Kings Prospect Sasha Vezenkov Scores 29 Points in EuroLeague Final Loss

As the Kings look to follow up their successful 2022-23 NBA season with another winning campaign, they could use a forward like Vezenkov.

This season, the 6-foot-9 wing averaged 17.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 29 minutes per game for Olympiacos on 65.5-percent shooting on two-point attempts and 37.8 percent from beyond the 3-point line.

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