A) A back up 5 to add a defensive, low post presence on a trial basis so that the Kings can see what this type of player can add to the mix in regards to future acquisitions?
B) Is he a 30 day chip so that the Kings can ante up for a trade deadline deal?
Let’s take a look at both of these most likely directions:
A) The Kings are low post defensive presence deficient
Enter UConn product Hilton Armstrong, former Big East Defensive PotY. Let’s drop the illusion – Armstrong is in his 4th season with career production of 3.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg. Diamond in the rough? Not even cubic zirconium. But if inserted into the line up the Kings now sport a new facet to their game. The strength of this team is scrappy play, energy and a lean toward defense.
We here on StR have bemoaned the lack of shot blocking and strength down low. Now, for “free” a lesser gear is thrown into the machine to see how it clicks. Maybe he shows that a Sam Dalembert is just what they need. Maybe he makes evident that a low touch presence on D is not enough.
B) Hi! My name is Hilton, where is a good place to set up a temporary residence in SacTown?
Like the 7 dwarves (think pituitary giant dwarves) that were part of last season’s scary tale, Hilt the wilt, is just passing through. There are expiring contracts (K9, Sergio, and now Armstrong) of >$12M making the +/- 125% imprecisely as low as $9M and as high as $15M+. This is not a money saving move – no reason to use up extra cap space except for the fact that it has increased the tradable cap space by $2.8M.
The trade deadline is Feb 19th, and the Kings made this deal 38 days before that date. My understanding is that this trade piece becomes available for movement by February 11th. If I am wrong than maybe Armstrong is backup length for a planned frontcourt absence for the season’s remainder. No deal is done until the League signs off, but GP &Co are chess players not craps shooters - they think 3 plays ahead, not off the cuff.
Where do you envision the direction of this team? Are they going to be a group of talented multi-skill players, a group of offensive stars or a tough defensive team? $15M brings a lot of talent – do you want defenders who can score a bit, scorers who can defend a bit, rebounders, shot blockers, or good ol’ fashioned high end talent? Do you want to see this team patiently build through the draft and stay below the cap so you can answer the call when opportunity knocks (see: OKC, Maynor)? And when it comes to Maloof money, remember there is still no new Arena blueprint, maybe you just limit your spending.