Geoff Petrie has noted that 2010 could be the "second coming" for the Kings, the closest thing that we'll see to the '98-'99 period that was wrapped around the lockout. Vlade, C-Webb, Peja, J-Will, JB, Mad Max...ahhh!!!
Patience is not exactly one of my virtues, so the idea of slowly rebuilding for the next two years does not exactly set well with me. But a quick look at the potential free agents in 2010 does show that when we finally do have big time cap room, a lot of big time players could be available.
For this exercise, I stayed away from players that would be over 30 in 2010. Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce, Richard Hamilton, Dirk Nowitzki and Manu Ginobili, for example, will all be 32. That's not where you want to spend long term money. Also, young studs like CP3 and Deron Williams won't show up as their present teams will still be able to extend them beyond 2010. But get a load of the following list. Oh, and I understand that some of these guys don't fill our present needs, but (a) you never know what two years from now will bring, and (b), if other teams are spending money on those guys then the other guys may be available for us.
- Chris Bosh He has an early termination option (ETO) that he can exercise in 2010. 22 ppg and 9 rpg last year. He'll be 26 in 2010.
- Tyson Chandler He also has an ETO. He may be the lowest ranked player on this list right now, and he does benefit from playing with CP3. But Paul does not rebound or block shots for Chandler, who is becoming a beast under the basket. He'll turn 28 just before the beginning of the season.
- LeBron James I just wet my pants. A long shot, but if the Kings build a good nucleus in the next couple of years and if Sacramento is the best combination of big money and championship possibilities, who knows? He also has an ETO.
- Joe Johnson He'll be 29 by the time the season begins, but he is really growing into a superstar. Again, he does not fit the Kings most pressing current needs, but if someone else spends money on him they won't have money to spend on the other guys.
- Yao Ming Yao will be 29. If he returns to full health he might be the top center in the NBA. Has an ETO.
- Amare Stoudemire He'll only be 27 at the start of the season. He averaged 25 pts. on 15 shots (even better than Kevin Martin's 24 pts. on 15 shots). He gets to the line almost nine times a game and shoots 80% from there. Throw in 9 boards and a couple of blocks per game. He also has an ETO.
- Dwayne Wade He'll be 28, and if he is healthy, he will be one of the top ten (maybe top five) players in the league. Also has an ETO.
- Carlos Boozer He actually has an ETO in 2009, but if he does not exercise it he will be 28 and a free agent in 2010.
There will be the usual run of 2nd tier players available as well. I should also note that I did not have a chance to "pookey check" my facts as it pertains to the player contracts, but I think I got 'em right.
July 1, 2010 - it's only 771 days away.