Who is the core. And what are they capable of. In my head, that’s ultimately what this season is about. Is Martin a piece you can build around? Can Spence continue to improve each and every off-season? Can JT make the leap into the upper-echelon of power forwards? If the Kings have answers to those questions (and I would have to imagine Petrie might have spent a minute or two thinking about it) then I think the goal at the trade deadline becomes pretty clear. Trade everyone not named Kevin, Spencer, Jason, or Buckets.
In the past, I’ve gone back and forth in terms of what I hope the Kings get in return for various trades: cap space or young talent. But Ziller’s post on David Lee, pokey’s repeated stance on the importance of getting under the cap, and the cold reality that the Kings’ talent level is not exactly all that appealing to the rest of the league have made the decision for me. Cap space, cap space, cap space.
It’s not that I don’t want young talent because I do. But the thing about getting young talent is that you usually have to give up older talent in return. And I don’t see anyone on the King’s roster that fits that bill. Miller, Salmons, Cisco, Beno, Mikki? Yuck. And that’s the best of what the Kings have to offer. So how can we reasonably hope to get young talent in return for any of those players?
If you don’t agree, just look at the Artest and Bibby trades. Sure both players have a few pock-marks but I’d argue that they also have more value (to a contender looking to upgrade for the playoffs) than anyone on the Kings roster other than Martin. And what did they net in return? A late first round pick, a borderline prospect in DG, and Candace Parker’s husband. To expect a similar return for Miller, Salmons, or Beno just isn’t realistic.
So what am I proposing?
Miller, Cisco, and Bobby to Cleveland for Szcvcrewedvagbeeaak, Snow, and Hickson. I know Cisco has his fans here but I’m not one of them. I love his attitude, love his leadership, don’t love his game. His contract will become an albatross in the near future.
K9, Mikki, Salmons, Quincy for Starbury. Admittedly, the only reason the Knicks do this is if they see Salmons as a fit in their offense. And who knows, maybe they do.
Leaves you with Beno, Martin, JT, JJ, DG, and Spence under contract next year. You’d have to pick up a few players to fill out the roster for the rest of this year. So do that and lose lots of games. Get the number one pick. Sign Boozer or Lee in the off-season. Draft Rubio. Save the left-over cap space for an in-season trade or sign Odom to play the three. Or do something else if you like. But make sure to get cap space…and get it soon please Mr. Petrie. Your core is Martin, JT, Spence, and maybe DG. Everyone else should go.