After entering the NBA from Alabama as an undrafted rookie in 2022, guard Keon Ellis has a new contract and a spot on the 15-player roster of the Sacramento Kings, the team announced on Friday.
Ellis had been playing on a two-way contract with the team, but ESPN reported Ellis had signed a three-year contract with Sacramento. Ellis took the roster spot left open when the Kings waived Robin Lopez.
Ellis spent most of his first pro season playing with the Stockton Kings, Sacramento’s NBA G League affiliate. But he hadn’t made any trips down this season despite his two-way contract.
A player on a two-way contract is eligible to play for the NBA team and its NBA G League affiliate and move between assignments without passing through waivers. A player on a two-way contract can appear in a maximum of 50 games with the NBA team and earns a salary of $559,782 (half the rookie minimum) for the 2023-24 season.
“First and foremost, a testament to Keon and the work he’s put in as an undrafted player, but really our entire pipeline,” Kings general manager Monte McNair said on Friday. “It started in the draft process when we identified him as a key target who went undrafted. … Then he goes to the G League. Has a great year on his two-way contract last year — our whole development team from Stockton to Sacramento. Then gets an opportunity at times this year and shows that he can hang in the NBA, so we’re excited for Keon and what he’s done and what he will continue to do for us.”
In 29 games, with three starts, this season, Ellis has averaged 3.8 points, 1.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists. He has set career single-game highs of 17 points, six rebounds, seven assists, three steals and three blocked shots during the 2023-24 season.
As a rookie, Ellis had 24 points, eight rebounds, six assists, five steals and one blocked shot while playing 71 minutes in 16 games for Sacramento.
With Stockton in the 2022-23 campaign, Ellis averaged 16.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.5 steals in 36 games
The Kings have a 29-21 record this season and are in seventh place in the Western Conference playoff standings. Sacramento hosts the Denver Nuggets at 9 p.m. CST Friday.
Ellis played two seasons at Alabama. In his second campaign, he averaged 12.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.9 steals in 33 games in 2021-22.