I get it. The excitement. The rush. The...high.
I understand where you're coming from. Much like Ailene Voisin, you yearn -- nay, ACHE -- for a sexier version of the Kings.
You look up and down the roster, trying fill out the positions. Everything looks alright, or at least appears to have the potential to be alright, except for one spot. The same spot that we're supposedly over-stacked with players at -- small forward.
In a panicked attempt to plug this roster spot with something more, um, well, sexy -- you race to ESPN's trade machine and immediately engage in trades that give Nocioni away for something, ANYTHING, resembling a roster upgrade. Whether it's at PF, C, SG, SF, who cares!?! Upon distraction, you begin to entertain the idea of pawning Beno off on the last GM in the NBA who, for whatever reason, has no idea that Beno is not a starting-quality PG in this league. Ha-ha! Take that sucker!
Next, K9 (Woof!) is thrown in the mix, and before you know it, we're unloading KTEC to CHI for Noah and Hinrich (a minor coup no doubt), Noc is going to wherever, with Beno tagging along, and we're in cap space heaven.
The Kings are sexy, baby, yeah!But it's only a quick fix. Soon, you'll be chasing the dragon again, my friend.
Time for an intervention. As a trade machine addict, I know about that which I am speaking about (purposely redundantly written sentence).
Look, I want to get rid of Beno as bad as the next guy or girl (or Jamie Lee Curtis). And I want to parlay KTEC into Bosh or D-Wade (or Jamie Lee Curtis), too. But, before we start log-jamming the trade machine website and bemoaning the contract of Nocioni, while declaring Casspi or Greene the starter at SF, we need to examine what we're really looking at; a young Kings roster with some potential, but also in need of a lot of leadership and veteran presence. Thus, if you're going to party all night with the Trade Machine and wake up with a "GM hat" hangover, please consider the following when adding Noc's name into the equation.
I've seen much made of Noc's "bad" contract as of late and a strong push to, well, push the guy out of town. However, very few of those trades bring back anything resembling an upgrade at SF, with the assumption being that we can just roll Greene, Casspi or even Garcia out at the 3 spot.
Well, first of all, none of those guys would be better at the SF than Noc right now. Noc is a 5-year vet w/ a career average of 12 points and 5 boards. His best year resulted in a PER of over 16. Last year was substantially worse than that, at just over 12. Still, I don't see (especially after summer league) Greene doing particularly better, and Casspi is unproven as of yet.
Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see one of those guys earn the starting job by being better than Noc and becoming a more complete player. I'm just not convinced it's remotely close to being ready to happen yet. And I'm not advocating that we keep Noc no matter what. If the right trade comes up, pull the trigger. It could be the best thing for all parties involved (especially if rumblings about Noc not wanting to be around for a rebuild are true). But, we need a player to take his place. One who will (hopefully) be better, and also one who can provide some experience.
Which leads me to my second point. Noc better addresses the needs surrounding leadership and veteran presence than the other guys currently on our roster at SF. Not that Noc is notorious for commanding his teammates, but the guy displays hustle. He's been in the league five years and is still diving on the court for loose balls. He's still a physical player. It seems Casspi might follow in that mold, but we simply don' know yet. Regardless, neither Greene nor Casspi can bring that veteran presence or the "been-there-done-that" calming influence that is sometimes needed throughout the season. Especially on a young squad that is bound to run into growing pains. One need only look at Portland's desperate attempt to bring in anything resembling a veteran presence to confirm my point. POR is very talented, but they also recognize that to get over the hump, a veteran's presence is necessary.
Lastly, while Noc's contract is bigger than most of our other guys, it's still not that bad. I don't understand the rationale that his contract is grossly out of proportion to what he brings to the floor. Maybe he's a little overpaid, but compared to the rest of the league's bad contracts, it's not too difficult to stomach. Besides, while he'll make about $7.5M this season, his contract declines each remaining season, and the last year is a team option. It's not bad at all, really.
Would I love to get a stud SF on the roster? Duh. But, my point is reading some of these trade suggestions (in which Dalembert is curiously the flavor of the month -- at $25M over 2 years -- um, no thanks), it seems a lot of fans are disgruntled with the notion of Noc and his contract.
Until we can work a sensible trade for a better SF or Greene/Casspi demonstrate that they're ready to explode into a legit, consistent player, Noc represents our best option to serve as the anchor at a "stacked" small forward position, and to be a guy that can talk from an experienced viewpoint when needed.
Like it or not, for now we're married to the situation.
Maybe it's not the sexiest option, but that's marriage sometimes...or so I've heard. I've also heard, "if you can't be with the one you love, then love the one you're with." Either way, (and this is stating the obvious, but I feel it's worth stating given what I've seen lately) a trade involving Noc has to bring back something that does more than increase the amount of sex appeal the Kings have.
This is a basketball team. Not a late night movie on Cinemax.