Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times, a suburban Philly paper, talked to Jason Thompson this week about the power forward's history and current status in Sacramento. And once again, it's pretty apparent that Thompson is not terribly enthused with remaining with the Kings.
"Man, it's been tough," said Thompson in a telephone conversation from Houston on Tuesday, where Sacramento was preparing to play that evening. "For me, it's kind of the same stuff that happens every year - new coach, new system, new players."
"It's kind of tough because usually the most consistent players and teams have guys that have been together for a long period of time and around the same system," Thompson said. "Every year, I'm used differently."
Thompson also rattles off statistics about how many different teammates he's had (63) and notes that not a single person from the Kings' front office that drafted him remains. He's basically built a case in his mind as to why he should be disappointed with how his first team treated him.
And he's totally right.
Why should he think he'll benefit from the rebirth of the franchise? Pete D'Alessandro went out and signed Carl Landry, a guy Thompson had already survived in the rotation! Thompson's name has been laced all over trade rumors from the start, and the team invested heavily in DeMarcus Cousins immediately. Cousins openly longed for old batterymate Samuel Dalembert over the summer, and Cousins and Thompson seem relatively incompatible as a good frontcourt.
Thompson is right if he thinks he's not long for the Kings, and nothing he's saying or implying is inaccurate. The franchise was horribly mismanaged for the majority of his career. I'd be upset and ready for a fresh start, too, especially if the ballyhooed new bosses cut my minutes and touches.
That said, I really wish there were a way Thompson could compartmentalize his disappointment with the team and his situation and not let it carry over onto the court. I've been a Thompson fan all along, and he's been dreadful at times this season, especially when it comes to rotating on defense. He just does not seem focused at all. I don't really blame him for it; I just wish it were different and that he was the type of player who could push his emotions aside and focus in on excelling on the court. I fear I'd be in the same boat as him in a similar situation: once you get frustrated enough, it's just whatever. You just go through the motions.
And yes, I know he's getting paid a lot of money to play a game. That doesn't somehow make it less of a job. That doesn't somehow dull the sting of frustration, disappointment and longing for another chance. Really, the best thing for Thompson would have been the Kings declining to keep him in 2012; he could have gotten a fresh start and a neat little chip on his shoulder. But there was no better business decision than to take the Maloofs' money and hope for the best under Keith Smart. Oh well.
Thompson really needs a trade before Landry returns from injury and J.T.'s minutes sink even lower. Can you imagine J.T.'s dejection if the trade deadline passes and he's still a King (assuming the Kings remain a lower-echelon team)?