In all the Amare Stoudemire discussions (or even the Tyson Chandler speculation), a crucial element seems to be missing: the analysis of how a big time acquisition at this juncture in the season impacts the Kings rebuilding the next few seasons.
Right off the top of my head, I would say our record would improve with Stoudemire (or even Chandler) to the point where we might be at the edge of the lottery by season's end. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but if we were to play .500 ball for a decent stretch, we would quickly move into that no man's land where we don't have a chance for a top pick or the last spot in the playoffs (and for the last two season's we've been there and done that).
Bottom line: we would win enough to seriously hinder our ping pong ball chances. And, before everyone starts, I will be the first to say the ping pong balls are such a crap shoot (even with the worst record) that we probably shouldn't even consider letting them dictate our next chess move, but right now if we continue to suck in such a spectacular fashion, we do have a very good chance of landing at least one of the top two prospects (i.e., Griffin or Rubio), and that would be absolutely huge in getting us where we need to go because A) we would add a quality starter without giving up any of our young talent in a trade, and B) because that player would be signed for 4 years at a below market rookie salary that would be hugely attractive to other teams in a difficult economic market, and lastly, C) because we would improve our sqaud and still preserve our cap flexability for future trades or free agent acquisitions.
If we (and by "we" I mean Petrie) can execute all of the moves in one blitzkrieg offseason (see: 1998) rather than in piece meal fashion over the course of several seasons, I think it really helps our cause. It may not be possible (and Amare certainly seems to be worth taking a big risk), but waiting until the end of the season, capitalizing on a poor showing in 2009 with a top lottery pick, and using our giant 2009-10 expiring contracts (Miller and Thomas) to trade for top flight talent next year might be the best course of action.