University of Kansas

Former KU guard Ben McLemore shipped by Memphis back to Sacramento Kings

Ben McLemore played at KU for the 2012-13 season.
Ben McLemore played at KU for the 2012-13 season. File photo

The Sacramento Kings on Tuesday re-acquired former Kansas guard Ben McLemore, and also picked up center Deyonta Davis, a 2021 second-round draft selection and cash considerations from the Memphis Grizzlies for guard Garrett Temple, the Kings announced on the team’s website.

McLemore, a 6-foot-5, 25-year-old shooting guard from St. Louis who was selected No. 7 overall by the Kings in the 2013 NBA Draft, signed a two-year free-agent contract with Memphis last offseason after spending four seasons with the Kings.

He averaged 7.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in 56 games with the Grizzlies after putting up four-year averages of 9.4 points and 2.6 rebounds a game in Sacramento. He is due to be paid $5,460,000 this season in the final year of his contract.

There already has been speculation that the Kings, who have another former KU player on the roster in second-year point guard Frank Mason, might yet trade McLemore to another team.

“McLemore returns for a second tour of duty with the franchise that drafted him with the seventh overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, but after a one-year sojourn in Memphis, he doesn’t appear much closer to having clearly established himself as an NBA player,” writes Dan Devine of Yahoo Sports.

“The athleticism that made him such a tantalizing prospect at Kansas hasn’t translated at the next level. He’s never developed into an explosive driver or slasher, a consistent high-quality defender, or enough of a shooter to merit major minutes, even on teams of relative inconsequence.”

Devine earlier had written on Twitter: “Feels like this only makes sense for Sacramento if they’re getting ready to throw a big-money offer sheet at a restricted free agent. Top names left on that particular board: Clint Capela (so many centers!), Marcus Smart, Rodney Hood (which, yipes), Montrezl Harrell.”

The Kings, according to ESPN analyst Bobby Marks, have a “league high $20.5M in (cap) room after acquiring Ben McLemore and Deyonta Davis. McLemore is in the last year of his contract with a $5.4M cap hit. Davis has a $1.5M cap hit and is also in the last year of his contract.”

Reporter Michael Wallace of Grind City Media commented on the trade of McLemore in an article on the Grizzlies’ website.

“McLemore broke his foot in an offseason workout in Los Angeles last summer, just days after he signed a two-year, $11 million contract in free agency with Memphis. He never settled into the rotation after rehab and by November, McLemore’s biggest proponent in David Fizdale was dismissed as coach. The Grizzlies have been trying to move McLemore since then, and found a taker in the same organization that drafted the athletic shooting guard and spent four years waiting on him to develop,” Wallace wrote Tuesday.