Remember back in the early 00's when Petrie was wheeling and dealing and almost all of his trades were really good for us: Williams for Bibby, Corliss for Doug, etc. Well why can't we do that now? There are a few teams right now that are focusing on money and not winning. So lets take advantage of this! And I know this is a subject that has been talked about a little bit recently, both here and on Cowbell Kingdom, but this is just my different take on it. I don't want to focus on teams that are over the cap, just the few that are doing everything they can to make a few bucks.
There are three teams that are trying to save money and little else (not including the Kings who you could make a serious argument as being one of those teams). Those teams are the Grizzlies, Bobcats and to a lesser extent, the Hornets. I'm going to go ahead an ignore the Hornets for now, because they seem content to just get under the luxury tax. Meanwhile the Grizzlies and Bobcats are shaving money off of their teams and not spending because they know that if they keep costs to a minimum they can make a profit. In the Bobcats case, the less money invested in the team allows for a bigger profit when Bob Johnson finally does sell the team, which he will do.
So who could we want from these teams? Ideally we would probably want someone young who shows promise and also fills a need.
The Bobcats have the less appealing options to choose from. They have an interesting mix of young players (DJ Augustin, Gerald Henderson, Derrick Brown, Alexis Ajinca) and aging vets (Tyson Chandler, Gerald Wallace, Raja Bell, Boris Diaw). Is there anyone from that mix that we'd want? DJ Augustin shows some promise, but he's probably one of the Bobcats few players that they wouldn't want to trade. Chandler would be a very expensive backup, and I have a feeling that without Chris Paul, his lack of any offensive repertoire will be very noticeable. Bell and Diaw are both overpaid for what they do, but at least Bell is an expiring contract. But Bell will probably not be traded for that very reason. So what could we do?
Well, Gerald Wallace could probably be acquired from Charlotte. His contract is locked up until 2012/13, a year where he has a player option. Wallace would definitely fit into the newfound Kings mindset of toughness. Wallace is almost regarded as too tough, injuring himself quite a bit with his physical play. But even with that stereotype, In 5 years in Charlotte, Wallace has played 70, 72, and 71 games. The other two seasons he played 55 and 62. Who would we trade for him? An Andres Nocioni for Gerald Wallace trade works. Both of their contracts are the same length, but Noc's last year is a team option, his contract is 2 million less the first year and steadily declines each year. And to me at least, I think Wallace is an upgrade over Noc in a lot of areas.
Another possible trade with Charlotte would involved trading Beno Udrih for Desagna Diop. They're contracts are exactly identical monetarily. And with Raymond Felton's questionable contract status, the Bobcats might be in the market for a point guard. We'd be turning Beno's bad contract into a need at least. Diop could provide some decent minutes backing up Spencer and he plays solid defense. But I don't like this trade because I don't see Diop being in the long term picture for Sacramento. Its merely a question of would you rather have Diop or Udrih.
Memphis is much different from Charlotte. They're loaded with young talent. But their front office is one of the worst in the league. Still, they manage to turn a profit every year by keeping costs low. They're running their team not to win, but to make money. Which suits our purposes just fine.
There's plenty of people on Memphis I would love to have, but a few are probably untouchable (Rudy Gay, OJ Mayo and Hasheem Thabeet are probably the three Memphis won't trade for monetary purposes). Last year Conley had a semi-breakout year near the end of the season, coming on very strong. But the Grizzlies made some moves this offseason severley detrimental to the development of their youth in the acquisitions of Zach Randolph (Big ballhog with an attitude) and yesterday, Allen Iverson (bigger ballhog with a bigger attitude). Between Gay, Mayo, Randolph, and Iverson, the ball will be moved infrequently. All those players command the ball and like to play isolation. I have a feeling that Memphis is dead last in assists next year. Iverson will eat into Conley's minutes. Of course Iverson only has a one year contract, but he'll be playing to try to resurrect his career, and depending on how many more butts Iverson ends up putting into the seats, the Grizzlies might think of keeping him around for a little longer.
The Kings recently drafted their point guard of the future in Evans didn't they? Why would we want Conley? Because he and Evans could form up to be a deadly backcourt in their own right. Its also another asset. We need assets. We could trade Sergio Rodriguez and some money to Memphis for Mike Conley. Memphis saves money this year and for the next 3 years and gets a player who is all to willing to pass the ball and not shoot, which is something they might need this year.
But you know who I really want out of Memphis? Marc Gasol. He probably won't be as good as his brother, but he's still damn good and on the Kings he would be the Yin to Spencer's Yang. He's a back to the basket interior guy, averaging a 53% field goal percentage in his rookie year. His defense and rebounding aren't bad either. But he's Memphis's starting Center. That could be a problem. They might not be so willing to part with him. But didn't they just use the 2nd pick in the draft to take Thabeet? And a good thing about Thabeet is that he fits in very well with the current make up of the team because of the fact that he DOESN'T need the ball. Instead he will be focused on defense and getting rebounds. And more minutes early might help his development process along.
And what if they were able to get rid of their worst contract in the exchange with Marko Jaric? Would it be worth it? Would we be able to endure one more year of a horrible contract in order to get someone like Marc Gasol or Mike Conley? It'd be a tough decision, but one I think I would ultimately go for if I were the Kings front office. I don't think its wise to bank on the 2010 free agent market, as I've written before. Plus, I don't know if I trust GP's free agent signing skills right at the moment.
So there you have it. We need to take advantage of somebody. We could really improve our team, probably not drastically, but it would probably be a significant improvement nonetheless.