Marty Mac's column this morning http://www.sacbee.com/100/story/1128995.html is a perfect example of the crap I have been reading from the "experts" all week long about the trade. The gist of these columns is the following: the Kings got fleeced; Petrie panicked; Houston got over; I can't believe the Kings couldn't get at least a quality starter back?
I just want to say, I am estatic over the trade. Ever since watching the summer league games, I have been thinking about how we could trade Artest for one of two players: Anthony Randolph or Donte Greene. Then it happened. We got Donte Greene, plus a 2009 1st round pick and an expiring contract (Bobby Jackson). This is exactly what we have been asking Petrie to do: embrace rebuilding.
And yet, the pissing and moaning from the fanbase has been long and loud, and the prevailing view from the sportswriters' both near and far has been that Sacramento made a bad, lopsided trade, citing that we didn't get a quality starter back (Odom or Marion) or manage to dump K9's salary. Some, completely missing the point of the trade (i.e., we're rebuilding), even go on to compare Bobby Jackson's play with Ron-Ron's, not realizing that Bobby is an expiring contract, not the primary component of the trade. His veteran presence is nice, but his importance, in this case, is that his contract preserves cap flexability.
So let's look at some of these assumptions. 1) Would we be better off if we had traded for Lamar Odom or Shawn Marion? No. Why trade for a good but not great player that has an expiring contract. They may decide not to stay, and you will be left with nothing. Worse, you may need to pay millions to keep a player that will be on the downside of his career before your squad becomes a playoff contender. 2) Would we be better off if we just packaged Artest with K9 for expiring contracts? No. What's the point. As Pookey has covered, even if we get rid of K9, we won't have enough significant cap space to do anything until 2010. Does this really help us get better? Why not take a top prospect and a 1st round pick to build for the future instead.
Lastly, don't sleep on Donte Greene. I realize that the summer leagues are not the same as the NBA, but players that do well in the summer league often go on to have success in the NBA, especially if they have success as a rookie (rather than someone who is in their second or third year playing rookies). Donte was the second leading scorer in Vegas this year at 22.6 points per game. For comparison sake, let's look at Kevin Martin. In 2005, he was the third leading scorer at 19.4 points per game. However, Kevin also had the benefit of a full college career whereas Donte had one year at Syracuse, which makes his accomplishment even more impressive. Now, I am not saying Donte's better than Kevin or that his career is certain to mirror Kmart's, but he's off to a good start, and I think he's worth the risk.