Been a fan of this board for a long time. Seen a lot of trade proposals recently...most of them centering around expiring contracts with the hope of acquiring a top-level free agent. One problem with that. Will a top-level free agent really want to sign with the Kings?
Unfortunately, these aren't the Kings of old and the league knows it. Players used to be willing to overlook the franchise's flaws. They wanted to play for the Maloofs...to play for a winner...to play in Adelman's offense with pass-friendly bigs. Now? The Kings have a coach who has been praised around the league but not so much in his own locer room, an aging arena with horrendous player facilities, and a team that's stuck in the quandry of "we're not good enough for the playoffs but not bad enough for a high lottery pick". Throw in the fact that Sac isn't exactly the most appealing destination to young NBA millionaires and you've got a bit of a problem.
So what does Petrie do? In my opinion, he has to look at trades in one of the following ways: target a young-ish fading star who has the chance to rebound in a new environment (ie. Webber) or find raw talent with unlimited YET unreached potential (ie. Gerald Wallace). My suggestion:
This accomplishes both goals in a single trade. Gets the Kings a freakish big and a young pass-first point guard. Lineup next year would be:
Livingston/Beno (resigned at MLE)
Hiccups to the deal? The Jazz have been hot since acquiring Korver. Would they want to make a deal? It's not a secret Kirilenko is playing out of position and that they have long coveted Maggette (Clippers matched Jazz offer sheet). Plus Cassell gives them the Derek Fisher backup they've been missing since last year. Maybe a stretch but not impossible.
For the Clippers, are they willing to throw in the towel on Livingston? The trade actually gives them a formidable lineup when healthy: Bibby, Mobley, Artest, Brand, Kaman. But they'd have to resign Bibby, Artest, and Brand in the next two years. As someone who lives in SoCal and witnesses the genius of Donald Stirling on a daily basis though...I wouldn't put it past him.
Hoping to sign a free agent at the end of the year or trading for someone like Gooden, Varajeo, or Haslem isn't going to turn the Kings into a legit playoff team. Petrie has to get talent in return and the only way to do that is by taking a risk. He's not getting equal value on paper for Artest and Bibby...just not going to happen.