I've never thought so. But the newest rash of buyouts, culminating in the Adonal Foyle deal first reported yesterday, changes my mind.
Foyle agreed to take $13 million from his guaranteed $20 million to walk away. He's 32, which means he'll be taking the veteran minimum for a few years and retiring back to the Caribbean.
Kenny Thomas, on the other hand, has $23.8 million left over three years. He just turned 30. He could, conceivably, get a multiyear -- three years, probably -- if he were cut free today. I think part of the midlevel could be possible -- maybe $3 million a year from some team. We laugh about Kenny, of course, but he's been an effective rebounder and defender in the past. He's not that old. Some team could justify bringing him aboard for the right price. (His current $7 million + will never be the right price, unfortunately.)
Of course, if KT were on the market today, he'd be taking a steep paycut. What's this mean? He's not going to give the Kings a big discount on his buyout. While I think KT is a very very proud man, I don't think he's proud enough to leave $7-10 million on the table. He wants to get into a situation where he can get minutes, but I doubt he's willing to burn his pocketbook to do so.
How much are the Maloofs willing to pay to get rid of KT (who shouldn't have a role on this team or the new edition of the Kings)? I doubt we'll ever see, because one (previously lauded) detail stands in the way of a Kenny Thomas buyout: His opt-out clause next summer.
It'd be irresponsible to pay Kenny to go away if you think there's a remote chance he'll go away for free on his own next summer. Of course, Kenny's camp won't announce now he's leaving later -- that'd be absurd. You won't know until next June whether Kenny can consider leaving the last two years of his contract on the table. (The only circumstance I can see leading to that: he gets next-to-no minutes and something poisons the well between Reggie Theus and Kenny, something bad enough to assure Kenny won't get any minutes going forward.)
As that key decision will remain... undecided for another year, the Kings can't buy out Kenny. So long as there's a chance (and there is) Kenny will opt out, it'd be fiscally irresponsible to placate the fan base by getting rid of The Poodle. So we need to push our outlook further -- to next summer. If Kenny doesn't opt out? Then please buy his ass out (if you can't find a trade first). The mere presence of KT reminds us how far we've fallen, and that's just damn depressing.