Sam Amick points out on Twitter that today was the day in which unguaranteed contracts become guaranteed, and Ime Udoka survived, therefore guaranteeing Udoka's minimum salary contract for the entire season. It offers a nice opportunity to say nice things about Udoka, who has fit into the Kings scheme quite well, despite that some schmuck argued he was the wrong option for the team.
If anything, among the role players Udoka has benefitted most from the team's overachievement. On a 20-win team, veterans -- no matter how upstanding, how professional, how mentor-y -- are overrated. Lessons ain't learned after loss No. 50, you know? At some point, the cost of playing time for young players outweighs the benefit of teaching the lesson of "waiting your turn, son." I don't know if I'm making sense, but it makes sense to me, and I guess to Jason Thompson vis a vis Mikki Moore.
On a 30-35 win team, which this Kings team would appear to be, veteran presence actually helps. There is something tangible to the idea age improves defense, and this team certainly needed defensive help when Udoka joined. (It needs more today.) Udoka isn't just a Big Brother, as Desmond Mason was posited to be, as Moore was after roughly December 1 last season. Udoka is a valuable member of the surprising Kings, and I'm glad the front office brought him aboard.
(One note on Sean May: his contract became guaranteed when he hit his target weight of 265 during preseason. It's believed other teams offered May unguaranteed contracts -- a la Udoka -- but the guaranteed cash and perceived opportunity in Sacramento was the best bet for Big May. Needless to say, if May had signed an unguaranteed contract with Sacramento, he'd be gone today. May hasn't played since December 12.)