The ball dropped, and a dubious year for the Sacramento Kings was behind us. Following a surprising blowout against Boston, the Kings were sitting at 11-19, a mere four wins behind the Los Angeles Lakers for third place in the Pacific Division.
But of course, with the new year comes new possibilities, and boy are the possibilities plenty. Trade season is officially upon the NBA, where GMs and fans alike sit at their desks, rosterbating furiously. Unfortunately, the latter group does not have the privy access of the former, and we are left to extrapolate on a microscopic viewpoint that we as fans are being given by the league.
Now, I love rosterbating. I do it four or five times a week, to be precise (mostly at work). Sometimes I even think about other teams than the one I am with. Scandalous, I know. For the next six weeks, Sactown Royalty will be flooded with trade proposals in the form of fanposts, USA Today articles, and venturing comments from Silver Screen & Roll users, begging us to take on Pau Gasol's mammoth contract, pitching him as a "skilled big man who can help the team compete, and mentor Cousins" (but in the mean-time they'll be saying Cousins is the only piece they'd want for Gasol.)
Geoff Petrie and I could never be friends for one reason, he seems to think rosterbating is inappropriate, and keeps his habits under tight wraps within his office. The last eternity or so, the Kings have made minuscule moves to tinker with the team's
talent pool salary cap. Does anybody else remember the facial hair of Brian Skinner? I do. But even Petrie has to be wondering, on the eve of his retirement; how will he be remembered in his last year? Men do love their legacies, and Petrie's has looked better. If I am Petrie, I am looking at my options, every last one of them. I understand he works with a handicap, but that can't stop him from wondering. Unfortunately, I am not Geoff Petrie (maybe that isn't such a bad thing?), and I cannot use his wide breadth of tools at his disposal. So, from a fan-perspective I will comprise a list of some prospective new Kings. For organization's sake, let's go by team.
This team has a few pieces that I am centering in on, and they're pretty obvious. However, this team has to make its own decision going into the off-season. Do they want in on the Dwight Howard sweepstakes?
Set Phasers to: Josh Smith F
Josh Smith is an All-NBA defender who is a bit of a knucklehead on the court. Currently sporting 3 turnovers a game in about thirty-five minutes per outing, he needs to improve his decision-making on the court. He shouldn't even be a primary ball-handler, if I can be entirely honest. With an atrocious 53.7% FT shooting through the year, paired with 43.9% FG effectiveness is not his strong suit. My main worry adding him to this team is that he seems to think he warrants high-usage, despite his lackluster results. But going back to his defense, my god who wouldn't want him? Gathering up 1.5 steals a game, alongside 2.3 blocks while only racking up a hair above two fouls a game, Smith is exactly what I want from a forward on this team on the defensive end. Coming to a losing team like Sacramento, I could see Josh Smith imploding on us and declaring himself a first option, which is terrifying to think about.; which brings us to door number two.
Also Look At: Al Horford PF/C
Now, Horford's availability weighs largely on the question above: Do the Hawks want in on Dwight Howard? They'll have the cap space to do it, but suddenly there is a log-jam at center on this team. It has been no secret that the Hawks have wanted Tyreke Evans for some time, and if I have to deal Evans to get ahold of Horford, I do it with one question asked, "Does he come with Korver?" With Horford, this team could move Cousins to his seemingly more natural fit at forward, and field an imposing post tandem for years to come. Why get Horford? Well, he is an extremely underrated player in this league who is sitting just below a double double (16ppg/9.5rpg), but get this: he dishes out 3.3 assists per game. Horford has been tantalizing to me for years, but I never knew he could pass like that at an NBA level. Cousins, who some have agreed is a prodigious passer at the NBA level, only puts out 2.6.
What Will it Take?
I think that Atlanta has to be eyeing Evans in any trade scenario with the Kings. He would of course be the center piece to acquire either Smith or Horford, and the first piece to place next to him is obvious: our most attractive contract, Francisco Garcia's expiring $6.1 million. The Hawks will basically be paying Tyreke's next contract with the space created by Garcia's departure, not even tapping into their soon-to-be vast quantity of cap space. Other pieces can be placed pretty much interchangeably, but if Atlanta wants to stay in on the Dwight sweep-stakes, it may need to move Horford before the deadline, and rely on Josh Smith's connection with DH12 to coax him eastbound. If Atlanta decides that Howard is not worth the risk, moving Smith's expiring deal to get a young, talented guard could be a shrewd decision before he bolts for nothing.
The Celtics are in the middle of a season that has shown they need to rebuild, quickly. Rondo has been acting out, and their aging veterans are having issues staving off age, lately. The question here is, do they want to begin the rebuild, and if so, who do they keep around?
Set Phasers to: Rajon Rondo PG
So what if he's been acting up? He's an All NBA point guard who is the best at distributing outside of the Clippers' roster. The two reasons you want him are for his passing and his defense. While I've seen Boston fans target his usefulness on defense, I have to respectfully disagree with their opinions. No team puts a suspect defender (well maybe we might) on LeBron James in the playoffs. That doesn't happen, and especially if they guy is almost a foot shorter than James. Another plus to Rondo is that he doesn't need to take up a lot of shots in order to be effective. Taking him in will not take away from too many players, and with any luck their looks will improve with a true distributor at the point.
What Will it Take?
Once again, I am willing to offer up Tyreke Evans as the center-piece to a trade for Rondo. I don't think the Celtics would do Evans for Rondo straight-up, but I also don't want to throw in too much for just Rondo. I think that Evans and Francisco would definitely be the starter-point to a deal, and if the Celtics were willing to throw in Courtney Lee or Avery Bradley, I could see myself parting with Isaiah Thomas to help the Celtics shore up their now shallow point guard position. Overall, I see the Celtics as a decently likely trade partner with the Kings, and depending on their record from now til February, I could see them getting a little bit more inclined to make a deal.
If Michael Jordan is tired of losing, he definitely wants to add some Sacramento Kings to his team. Wink. This team's only question is how they value their young players, and their priorities concerning recent draft picks.
Set Phasers to: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist SF
I wanted him this last draft, badly. He is low-usage, and effective. Gilchrist may not become a star, but he looks like he'd be a high-character, valued piece to a contending team. No GM in the league refuses a Kidd Gilchrist-type player. He surprises with 1.3 blocks per game in less than thirty minutes a contest, as a small forward, and sits at just a hair below a steal per game. He knows he isn't the best shooter yet, so he doesn't shoot too many threes, showing that self-restraint is a freaking good idea.
What Will it Take?
Too much. I don't see them parting with Gilchrist for anything outside DeMarcus Cousins, and I just can't see myself parting with Cousins for any player who hasn't been on an all-star team. Let him age a bit, see what kind of player he turns out to be and then let Burkle sign him to a max-offer when his contract expires in Charlotte.
These guys are in an interesting dilemma. They signed Hibbert to a massive contract that he isn't living up to, David West's contract expires this year, and Danny Granger hasn't touched the court yet. Last year, this was my trendy dark horse candidate to go far into the playoffs, and continue to succeed the following year. So far, they're second in the division, despite their second-highest paid player not even playing. So, their thoughts have to be, "What can we get for Granger to push us to the next level?"
Take a look at: Danny Granger SF
But Schneezel! He hasn't played all season. I am aware of this, and have taken it into account. I still want him, but I know I can get him for cheaper. I want him because he is absolutely solid as a starting forward. I don't think he's a star, but I do think he would be valuable to us as a scoring threat and defender. He brings decent efficiency to the table with a 19 PER score and is 29 years old, just within my personal comfort zone as far as age is concerned.
What Will it Take?
Well, right now the Pacers are a pretty solid ball club, but their shooting guard slot is just no good right now. Lance Stephenson is starting for them, and his PER is worse than John Salmons'. I don't think we need to give up Tyreke Evans for a discounted player like Granger, so how about Marcus Thornton? Thornton immediately upgrades their shooting guard position, and provides a guy who can bring a serious scoring punch in any given game. To make salaries work, I also insert Garcia's expiring contract to sweeten the pot for Indiana, who could also use Garcia to shore up their weakened small forward position. This trade isn't very likely, and its possibility is gauged on Granger's condition.
Here is a team that wants to contend, but wants to save money. The obvious suspect is Rudy Gay, so..
Well duh of course its: Rudy Gay SF
The Kings have already been mentioned in trade rumors concerning Rudy Gay, and let's face it he'd be a pretty damn good fit to our needs. He would be, that is if his season wasn't suddenly looking absolutely atrocious. In a blowout against (who would have guessed it) us, he put up 2/10 shooting in 33 minutes. His PER is below average, and the guy is being paid almost seventeen million dollars this year. I see Rudy Gay as the small forward version of Pau Gasol, which is pretty damn sad considering how much I wanted him last year.
What Will it Take?
Well if this one happens, it better not be much. Evans and Cousins are absolutely off the table in my mind. However, I could still see a deal with Memphis centering around Marcus Thornton and Garcia (with the possibility of Salmons). Memphis wants to contend, but they also want to save money. By dealing Gay, they are cutting off $5 million right there, and then Garcia's contract is off the books, shedding another six million. While the financial needs are met, the on the court production could also work out. A shooting guard tandem of Tony Allen and Marcus Thornton could be a potent mix, providing choking defense with one, and a boomstick scorer with the other. With Salmons involved, they gain a small forward to shore up the departure of Gay for the time being. Of course, the Kings get an immediate upgrade at small forward, and the 26 year old Rudy Gay along with Evans and Cousins forms a pretty decent starting lineup. If Gay picks up his production, then we gave up few assets for a near-all star talent. Oddly enough, Thornton and Gay have identical PERs at the moment, and both are struggling through the 2012/2013 campaign. Perhaps a change of scenery could help them both out? All in all, I will not do a deal for Rudy Gay that involves either Evans or Cousins, or even Jimmer at this point. He is not worth the time and money if we are giving up too many assets.
This franchise is weird. They're doing everything they can to alienate an all-NBA forward in Kevin Love who seems to be just fine in Minnesota as long as he is winning. But, still the team is better put together than our squad, so I give them that. If Kahn wants to preserve his job, he needs to manufacture a winner around Love, or the team will be set back five years or so once his contract expires.
Take a Glance at: Derrick Williams F
They other power forward in Minnesota is my main target. We need another big, and the 2nd pick of the 2011 draft could be a decent, cheap fit. If you want an idea of his value right now, look no further than the Wolves' depth chart for tonight's game. Dante Cunningham is starting ahead of Williams, and for the season has been getting quite a bit more minutes than him. The Arizona product has been only getting about seventeen minutes a game, and lets face it, he could definitely have a place on this team as a stretch four who plays spot minutes at the three. Shooting a surprising 38% from the three, Williams could be quite a nice acquisition for us. It seems like Minnesota has been trying to trade him even since before they picked him, and Williams could find a home in Sacramento this year.
What Will it Take?
This seems tricky. Minnesota seems to be overvaluing him, but also seems to be killing his value as they do it. Realistically speaking, the team could use an upgrade for Alex Shved and Marcus Thornton could be a good fit. With Brandon Roy contemplating retirement again, the Timberwolves need to shore up their depth at the guard position, and Thornton provides a scoring punch that could propel this Wolves team into the playoffs barring extensive injuries. In order to make salaries work, I think that we would need to swap Aaron Brooks for Luke Ridnour, which could help both teams in the long run. Ridnour is a nice back-up point guard who plays as a distributor, and Brooks can bolster their shooters with a mark currently at 40% from the three. Here, we would probably need to throw in another piece to compensate for Williams' "potential" sell, but I think both teams gain by dealing a position of strength to gain a piece that could help both teams out in the long run.
In all honesty, I think that these deals are unlikely, and even more-so with the Maloofs' budget, but I think that if I am Petrie I am looking all over the league for better options. I think all of these players could help us, and if gotten for the right price could be a great last move during Petrie's tenure as GM. In addition to this, I could see the Kings being a facilitator in a three team deal like a Gay to Phoenix swap. In this scenario, we could pick up a nice piece or two, but trying to hypothesize those possibilities could give me a headache. I suffer from a fan bias, so I over-value my pieces, but I try not to.
Now I ask you the users, who are you thinking about when you rosterbate?