The loudest free agency drum in terms of the Sacramento Kings seems to revolve around the small forward position. Some of us are more focused on the point guard spot; others find themselves concerned with the second big man spot next to DeMarcus Cousins, assuming the incumbent free agents up front flee.
But small forward is a definite need if the Kings hope to improve substantially next season. Omri Casspi and Donte Greene are promising, but young and incredible inconsistent. (Consistently inconsistent.) Grant Napear spent at least an hour of Friday's show (thanks, rain-related traffic!) throwing around small forward names. (Note: he loves Shane Battier but thinks Tayshaun Prince is too old.)
A name that has popped up in general NBA trade rumors this weekend is Marvin Williams of the Atlanta Hawks. Yahoo! Sports reports that Williams, 24, is available; he's owed $16.8 million over the next two seasons. Atlanta likely needs to trim salary at some point, thanks to hefty extensions for Joe Johnson and Al Horford. Williams is the least vital big-salary player on the team; neither J.J. or Horford are going anywhere, and Josh Smith isn't a midseason salary dump player. So it's Williams, a young but experience small forward.
Sadly, his qualities are the opposite of those the Kings ought to be looking for.
The Kings need defensive and three-point shooting out of the small forward position. Williams might be a good defender, but he's not an All Defense guy. He's a rather strong mid-range shooter -- 48 percent on 16-23 foot shots, one of the best in the league -- but doesn't have consistent three-point range, at 30 percent on low attempts for his career.
For $8 million a season, the Kings need more than "solid defense and mid-range shooting." Williams would definitely improve the team's talent base -- he'd be a legit No. 3 scorer, and he'd balance the roster a bit. (Right now, most of the Kings' scoring comes from a driving guard and post big men.) I think with Samuel Dalembert and Carl Landry, he's definitely "gettable." But the Kings don't want to blow any of 2011's cap space without getting a really, really good player. I'm not sure Williams is a great enough fit to make it happen.
If you're going to go with defense-plus-midrange-scoring, Luol Deng is the standard. Williams is no Deng. But the Prince of 2006 or so would be the second level of that. Is Williams a potential Prince? Will a larger offensive role -- his usage in Atlanta is impossibly low -- open up his game and make him worth his salary? It's too big a question for the Kings to blow their load right now.
That the Kings have no particularly onerous contracts to shed actually makes action less likely. The Kings would have trouble justifying a Beno Udrih trade given Tyreke Evans' injuries and the already-thin depth at point guard. Francisco Garcia is impossible to trade for myriad reasons, one of which is the fact that the locker room might turn into Madison's Capitol building if he were traded.
In short: keep on looking. (Now, if a trade involving Jeff Teague and Udrih, with some combo of Landry, Dalembert, Jason Thompson or Greene can work? Now we're talking. Udrih is due about $2.5 million less than Williams over the next couple seasons, which means there's no way Atlanta does this.)