The Kings have surprisingly signed former Knick Maurice Taylor to a cheap one-year deal, according to Sam Amick in the Sacramento Bee.
This is way out of left field. Taylor had his contract bought out by the Knicks over the weekend, looked at some offers from around the league, and picked the Kings in between the team's Tuesday practices.
I won't lie: It's a quizzical addition. Moneywise, it's smart in that he's practically free and he won't be a contractual burden in future years. And power forward is not a particularly deep position for the Kings, though the slot may boast the team's most potent 1-2 punch.
But: Maurice Taylor? He doesn't do anything particularly well. His rebounding is comparable to Shareef Abdur-Rahim's, and a big drop-off from Kenny Thomas. His scoring is comparable with Kenny Thomas, and a big drop-off from Shareef. He turns 30 at the end of the month. He doesn't seem to be a particularly adept defensive player at this stage. He can't block shots. He immediately becomes the worst ball-handler on the team. He's never played more than 75 games in a season, and has went over 70 games only twice.
I have to assume he's a placeholder. With only Shareef/Kenny/Louis Amundson at power forward to start the season, it was going to be difficult - not impossible, but difficult - to trade away Thomas midseason. Amundson was a rookie free agent, and while he brings the hustle, he's probably far from ready to be a rotation player on a playoff team. Thomas is a guy Geoff Petrie obviously would like to trade, so having Taylor there to pick up 20 minutes a game makes some sense.
The fact that he's gone after one year helps a bit, too. If Amundson shows he can be a serious contributor, then you might have your 2007-08 back-up power forward right there. If not, there's a very deep draft and an interesting free agent class to look to.
So what's the big deal, then? Well, the Kings have 18 players they'd like to have on roster. You're only allowed 15.
Pooh Jeter - a redundant young point guard - and Justin Williams - a too-raw center prospect - have been the obvious odd men out thus far. With an addition of Taylor, who will most certainly make the roster, you have to find another cut. And Amundson would appear to be the victim of choice.
Unless the Kings can pull a KT trade off before the end of the month, they face either having to eat the contract of Jason Hart, Corliss Williamson, or Ronnie Price and send them packing, or giving up Amundson. If they can lose Hart easily, then fine. Williamson makes a little too much to just cut him outright. And Price is one of the more exciting youngsters the Kings have brought in, and I get the sense Petrie really likes him.
I'm pretty sure KT is gone by March. Hopefully, it can happen very soon so Amundson sticks.