The first year of his NBA experience was an eye-opener for former EuroLeague MVP and current Sacramento Kings power forward Sasha Vezenkov. He immediately realized how different things go and work in the NBA both on and off the court.

“In the NBA with all the trips, my first season was crazy,” Vezenkov said during an appearance on the 2024 EuroLeague Head Coaches Board congress in Athens, Greece (h/t Eurohoops).

“You just go from one hotel to the other and from there to the arena and the facilities. Then you play with a different team and have to read the scouting report. Then you play and travel again. It’s very hard to remember everything.”

One of the most challenging parts perhaps for Vezenkov in his first season with the Kings was adjusting not just to the prevalent style of play in the NBA which mostly focuses on pace and space and, of course, the environment off the basketball court. There are 30 teams in the NBA and every club will have to play each on the field at least twice. That surely requires plenty of travel that can take a toll on a player, especially to someone who is not used to such a setup. In a way, the dominating philosophy of pace and space in the NBA also applies to how the league does its business even off of the court.

After playing for Olympiacos from 2018 to 2023 and winning the 2023 EuroLeague MVP award, Vezenkov took his talents to the NBA, signing a three-year deal worth $19.97 million contract. His role with the Kings was different. During the 2022–23 EuroLeague season with Olympiacos, Vezenkov averaged 28.7 minutes per game and attempted 12.1 shots from the field per contest.

In his rookie season in the NBA, Vezenkov appeared in only 42 games and never started in a single outing. He also saw just 12.2 minutes per game and shot just 4.5 field goal attempts per contest. Those numbers underscore how drastic of a change Vezenkov experienced with the Kings, as he also had to play behind the likes of Harrison Barnes, Keegan Murray, and even Trey Lyles.

Overall in his rookie season in the NBA, Vezenkov averaged just 5.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.5 steals, and 0.2 blocks per game while shooting 44.0 percent from the floor and 37.5 percent from behind the arc.

Will Sasha Vezenkov return to the Kings for the 2024-25 NBA season?

Sacramento Kings forward Sasha Vezenkov (7) drives to the basket against LA Clippers center Daniel Theis (10) during the second quarter at Golden 1 Center.
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Vezenkov has guaranteed money worth $6.658 million for the 2024-25 NBA season and the Kings have a team option on him for the 2025-26 NBA campaign worth $6.975 million. There doesn't seem to be any assurance, though, that Vezenkov, who will be turning 29 years old in August, is entirely sold on the idea of running it back with the Kings, per Fox 40’s Sean Cunningham (h/t Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee).

“Citing unnamed sources, Fox 40’s Sean Cunningham reported Vezenkov is indeed frustrated over his lack of playing time in his first season with the Kings, but he intends to honor his contract and has no desire to leave the NBA. Cunningham went on to say the Kings want to keep Vezenkov, but there is a market for his services should Sacramento choose to trade him. The new details surfaced days after conflicting reports raised questions about Vezenkov’s future in Sacramento.”

Last season, the Kings finished with a 46-36 record and failed to make it to the 2024 NBA Playoffs.