Who said Blink 182 had poor songwriting? "Work sucks, I know" is possibly the truest lyric ever.
- This is all you need to know about the 2005-2006 NBA Pacific Division as of December 27: The Clippers are 8.5-point favorites against the Kings. And honestly, that's probably not enough.
- A little more on the Peja conspiracy: Isn't it a smart move for Stojakovic AND the Kings to fake a back injury? Look at it this way: Everyone in the league was questioning The Assasin's toughness when he went down with the mildly sprained pinky - Bonzi Wells questioned it, every Kings fan I know questioned it, Mark Kreidler questioned it. And rightly so - the guy was already considered soft. Sitting for eight days (three games) because of a mildly sprained pinky finger is doing zero to help that reputation. So how do you fix it? Claim you have a protuding disk in the back (it's still no torn groin, but a much more manly injury than a bum pinky), get the trainer to shelve for a week, surprise everyone by instead missing only one game, shoot the lights out early against a quite poor defensive team, fake an aggravation of said injury during the game, get some treatment in the locker room, come back and get right into the game, get heralded as a guy who toughed it out, squelch concerns about your durability, increase your value a tick and your reputation a smidge! Peja's a genius! And the Kings could very well fit the mold of co-conspirator in this - what did they lose? One game with Peja? That was a game they were likely going to lose anyways, right? In return, they get a Peja with a tick more value, as well as some confidence for their sharpshooter from his inflated ego due to his new tough guy image. That confidence could get his shooting back on track, further increasing value, which further increases his confidence, which further increases his value, which makes a Peja-for-Chris Bosh deal all the more likely. It's simple, really.
- Call me fickle, but I'm moving on the my fourth Patron Saint of Sactown Royalty: Ronnie Price. I'm now accepting nicknames for #7. Ronnie "The Threat" Price is my current leading candidate. The guy is an absolute game-changer - and that's in about 30 meaningful minutes over the last two games. Want proof? Two Kings players had a positive plus-minus in Monday night's game against Portland. One was Shareef. Guess who the other was? Ronnie Price. Yeah, sucka.
- Is Elston Turner being prepped by the Maloofs for the head coaching spot? This guy thinks so. I'm not convinced - yeah, ET will be the interim head coach if Adelman gets fired, but the Maloofs are too proud to pull a Bob Weiss with the head coaching spot. I think ET does the halftime chats more because he's the top assistant. That, and Coachie probably can't stay on his feet for that long.
- No, I don't honestly believe the Peja conspiracy. But if it were true, I'd respect The Assasin a lot more.
- This might be the worst back-to-back I've ever seen: Atlanta hosts Charlotte tonight and visits Toronto tomorrow. Zaza Pachulia! Keith Bogans! Rafael Araujo! It's the NBA! Love it live!
- Speaking of loving it live, I know the recorded attendance for all the Kings home games has been 17,317. And 17,317 was probably the paid attendance - season ticket holders have no choice once the season starts, really. But you cannot convince me there were more than 16,000 in attendance last night. I mean, we're not just talking about Section 219 being thin. I saw plenty of empty seats in the lower rows. Plenty. Anyone that went got some further insight?
- To clairfy about the whole Patron Saint of Sactown Royalty thing: B-52 was first, for his vast underratedness; Bonzi was second, because of numerous contributions to the welfare of Sacramento (including allegedly calling out Peja, the King with the longest tenue); Kevin "Speedracer" Martin, for his explosive youthfulness and resemblance to an early 1990s Will Smith sans mustache; and now Ronnie Price, for being the New Bobby Jackson (only young and not frail). And yes, the whole roster might get to be this site's patron saint at some point this season. Except Peja.
- I don't really like to get caught in the minutia of trade speculation, especially when there's not even rumor behind it. But I worked one out; the salaries work. See how you feel about it: Sacramento gets Austin Croshere ($8.9M, expires after next season), Nene ($3M, apple of Geoff Petrie's eyes), Earl Watson ($5M, signed to a 5-year midlevel deal) and Voshon Lenard ($3.5M, expiring contract) and Josh Childress ($2.6M, a year into his rookie contract), while giving up Mike Bibby ($11.5M, signed for all eternity), Peja ($7.6M, expiring contract, conspirator and softie) and Brian Skinner ($5M, expires after next season though there's a $5.8M team option for 2007-08). Denver gets Ron Artest ($6.5M, signed cheaply through 2007-08, apple of Kiki Vandeweghe's eyes) and Skinner (to beef up the frail front line), while giving the Kings Watson (expensive for a third point guard), Lenard (useless but expiring) and Nene (the cost of Artest). Indiana gets Peja (the sharpshooter they need) and Al Harrington ($6.9M, expiring contract, noted good friend of Jermaine O'Neal who scores at will) and gets rid of Croshere (mostly because he would get no more playing time and for salary reasons) and Artest (the betrayer). Atlanta takes on Bibby (an All-Star caliber player and a real point guard, kind of) and loses Harrington (who they'd be losing anyway) and Childress (who is really really redundant on that team).
Why do these teams do this trade? First, Sacramento - they want to cut costs. Bibby is expensive but tradeable, Croshere is useful and will be very tradeable next season, Lenard is tradeable this season and free come June. The team also wants to get younger - enter Nene and Childress (who could be thrown into another trade should Petrie favor Garcia/Martin). Watson is the new starting point guard, Nene becomes your sixth man next season, cap space is imminent.
Denver? They get Artest, and they know they have to lose Nene to do it. Watson is really buried behind Andre Miller and Earl Boykins (when Munchkin is healthy). Lenard is a salary throw-in.
Why does Indiana do it? Are you kidding? A malcontent who won't play another game in your uniform and a solid but expensive bench forward for 3/4 of a season from the best shooter of the decade and the Bird Rights of one of the best young scorers in the game. Sounds good.
Atlanta is the trickiest to justify, but I have two attempts: 1) When's the last time the Hawks made a move that made sense?, and 2) They need a point guard badly, and they aren't going to get one in free agency thanks to Joe Johnson (who is as two-guard as two-guard gets - Bibby looks like Mark Jackson compared to Joe Johnson). Childress, as I said, is redundant with Josh Smith and Joe Johnson there. Harrington is gone in a few months anyways. Bibby is a potential All-Star. Atlanta could use a potential All-Star.
All of the players except Bibby have been rumored in various trades. Indiana and Denver are apparently working on something rather big; otherwise, it wouldn't have taken this long. Remember where you read this first (unless it doesn't happen, which it probably won't). Actually, just move along.