Kings vs. Suns gameday live: Fox’s max contract offer; Murray, Durant, Beal injury updates

Some key players will be sidelined due to injuries when the Kings play the Phoenix Suns for the first time this season, but Keegan Murray won’t be one of them.

The Kings (11-8) said Murray will be available for Friday’s game at Footprint Center in Phoenix. Murray was a full participant in Thursday’s practice after being held out Wednesday, less than 48 hours after aggravating the lower back injury that recently caused him to miss four games.

The Suns (12-9) have ruled out two of their biggest stars in Kevin Durant (ankle) and Bradley Beal (back). Grayson Allen (groin) is also out. Beal was a full participant in practice Thursday as he nears a return after missing a month due to his injury, but he won’t play against Sacramento.

The Kings and Suns were already scheduled to play four times this season when the NBA released the bulk of its regular-season schedule in August. They picked up an additional game against each other after losing in the quarterfinals of the NBA’s in-season tournament, falling just short of the Final Four in Las Vegas.

The Kings will play the Suns and New Orleans Pelicans five times this season as a result of tournament-related pairings.

Max offer for De’Aaron Fox

De’Aaron Fox reportedly turned down a max contract extension from the Kings prior to the season, but those talks were considered a formality for the 25-year-old All-NBA point guard.

According to Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report, the Kings offered Fox an additional two years and $105 million on his current contract, the maximum offer they can make at this time. However, Fox could command close to $245 million over four years if he becomes eligible for the super max this summer with a second All-NBA selection.

Fox still has two years remaining on the five-year, $163 million contract he signed with the Kings in November 2020. Haynes said on the “#thisleague UNCUT” podcast Fox’s decision does not reflect a desire to pursue opportunities outside of Sacramento. In his seventh season out of Kentucky, Fox has emerged as one of the most dynamic young players in the game, and both sides reportedly want to work out another long-term extension.

Scouting Sacramento

The Kings are sixth in the Western Conference, 4 ½ games behind the conference-leading Minnesota Timberwolves and percentage points ahead of the Suns for the final automatic playoff berth in the West. The Kings won six of nine before suffering a 127-117 loss to the Pelicans on Monday in the quarterfinals of the in-season tournament.

Fox is averaging 30.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.6 steals for the Kings. All-NBA center Domantas Sabonis is averaging 19.0 points, 11.9 rebounds and 7.1 assists. Malik Monk (14.8 ppg), Kevin Huerter (12.9 ppg), Murray (12.9 ppg) and Harrison Barnes (11.8 ppg) are also scoring in double figures.

Barnes has been under scrutiny with his production dipping to 11.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists, but he is at or above his career averages in field-goal percentage (.478), 3-point shooting (.378), free-throw shooting (.830) and steals (0.8). Kings coach Mike Brown has said Barnes is doing what is asked of him as a player who guards the NBA’s best wings without having plays called for him on offense.

Scouting Phoenix

The Suns are seventh in the West, trailing the Kings by the narrowest of margins. They are coming off a tough loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday in the tournament quarterfinals after winning seven of their previous nine games.

Durant leads the Suns in scoring, averaging 31.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.7 assists, but he won’t be available Friday, which is a break for Sacramento. The Kings will still have to contend with Devin Booker, who has appeared in 12 games, averaging 27.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 8.2 assists. Sacramento will also have to contend with Eric Gordon (14.3 ppg) and big man Jusuf Nurkic, who averages 11.7 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.3 blocks.

With Durant out, former Kings forward Chimezie Metu could see more significant minutes. Metu has appeared in 11 games, averaging 2.5 points and 1.4 rebounds in 7.1 minutes per game.

Kings at Suns

When: 6 p.m.

Where: Footprint Center

TV: NBC Sports California

Radio: Sactown Sports 1140

Odds: Kings -1.5

Over/under: 234.5

Injury report

Kings: QUESTIONABLE — Chris Duarte (knee). OUT — Colby Jones (back); Alex Len (ankle).

Suns: OUT — Grayson Allen (groin); Bradley Beal (back); Kevin Durant (ankle); Damion Lee (meniscus).

Upcoming schedule

Dec. 8 vs. Phoenix Suns

Dec. 11 vs. Brooklyn Nets

Dec. 12 at Los Angeles Clippers

Dec. 14 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Dec. 16 vs. Utah Jazz