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Kings Sign John Salmons, Boot Bonzi and His Agent in the Ass

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First off, let me just say that I love having no power. Rolling blackouts, or exploding transformers - whatever - all that stuff rules.

Everyone has heard by now, but John Salmons is a King. He got a deal worth $25.5 million over five years, which is $10.5 million cheaper than the Bonzi deal overall and about $3 million cheaper per year.

Geoff Petrie confirmed what everyone in the free world assumed about the signing: Bonzi Wells is not a King.

"It seemed clear that we just weren't going to get to that (financial) territory that (Wells and his agent, William Phillips) thought was necessary, and I told them that," Petrie said. "I said, 'It's just not going to happen, and we're going to have to go out and start being more aggressive, trying to find out what else we might be able to do.'"

Wells and Phillips wanted the Kings to bid against themselves, and that's not something Geoff Petrie is going to do. If no one with cap space is begging for your services, you're just not going to get more than the bare minimum from the home team. And it's not like Sactown owed him something for years of underpayment - the guy played 40 games and made $8 million.

As for Salmons - let's hope Petrie is right that The Philly Fish is something special. He's four years in, and he spent a full four years in college. He turns 27 in December. Right now, he's not a whole lot more than a Francisco Garcia with a little more experience, is he? Hell, even his sophomore season - 2004 - is the most similar season statswise in the NBA since 1978 to Francisco's 2006. The best attribute he's shown so far is his ability to pass the ball: He earned 4.3 assists for every bad pass last season, which is good. He's also shown he can get to the line pretty regularly.

He doesn't seem to be that good a shooter, though. In fact, the stats say he's not a good shooter. If this team needs something on the wings, it's shooting. That's why Bonzi Wells didn't make a whole lot of sense - we have strong post players, we need shooting and perimeter speed. Salmons does have speed - that's why both Colangelos wanted desparately to sign him last week. He's got the skills and the innate abilities to make it happen - he just has to put it together.

So what about the elephant in the room - that he just screwed two teams to sign a slightly higher deal with the Kings? I say, it shows he's intelligent and tenacious. Of course, plenty of people are tenacious about money. But I digress. It's becoming clear to me that the "basketball situation" that scared Salmons away from Toronto had nothing to do with the Raptors - it had to do with Geoff Petrie offering an extra $2.5 million. There's no way otherwise that Salmons could have left Toronto at the punch bowl and found other dance partner willing to pay a bigger dowry so quickly. Bryan Colangelo got played.

There's one more elephant, I'm afraid: who starts at shooting guard? If Bonzi was back, it was clear that Kevin Martin is your new sixth man. With Salmons, it's a bit less clear.

I think Martin is the starter. Salmons, being the Garcia clone he is, can play three positions well - point guard, off-guard, and small forward, in order of ability. Is that kind of versatility more valuable in the starting lineup, or off the bench? In the starting lineup, Bibby, Miller, and Artest can handle the ball and initiate the offense, and Bibby and Artest can actually bring the ball up. Off the bench - unless Quincy Douby decides to progress really fast or Jason Hart decides not to suck - Francisco is mainly the ball-handling replacement. Does it benefit the Kings' second squad to have two tall ball-handlers coming off the bench as one or two ball-handlers leaves the floor? Or would the team be better off having a fourth ball-handler (who might be the best passer on the time) in the starting lineup and relying on Garcia and leftover starters to take the load when Bibby or Artest sits?

In this sense, it makes sense to start Martin and have Salmons and Garcia as your super-subs. Assuming Bibby/Artest/Shareef/Miller is your other four, Salmons and Garica could theoretically sub in for any two of the starters. If Miller goes out, Shareef shifts to center, Artest to PF, and the sub plays SF. If Bibby goes out, the sub (Salmons or Garcia) plays PG. That's some terrific versatility, and it could help ensure the offense doesn't stagnate when key starters (especially Miller and Bibby) sit.

I could also see Salmons starting, though, and Martin being the Bobby Jackson type sub - the guy who comes in and starts throwing the ball at the rim from every spot on the floor. Quincy Douby should hopefully eventually fill that role in the offense; he's custom-built for it. But he probably won't be ready for 10-15 minutes a game this season (though I'd love to be surprised), so it'd be good to have a proven scorer to come in.

The Kings also signed Wyoming center Justin Williams and U of Portland point guard Pooh Jeter to contracts. This means they'll be in training camp, but the terms haven't been released (Pooh Jeter is not a priority for the Marc Steins of the hoops media?!) so we don't know if either is on a Louis Amundson-like partially guaranteed contract, which would mean roster spots are ensured.

At this point, I'd say Williams is a lock for the roster and Jeter is likely only if Hart is moved. Thus, my July 25 depth chart looks like...


PG: Bibby/Hart/Price
SG: Martin/Salmons/Douby
SF: Artest/Garcia/Amundson
PF: Abdur-Rahim/Thomas/Williamson
C:  Miller/Potapenko/Williams

Jeter definitely needs to see someone leave to get on the roster. Williams would certainly like to see someone disappear, as well. If Douby wants any playing time, Hart has to be gone, because Martin and Salmons should be getting the lion's share of the off-guard minutes and some point-guard minutes (for Salmons). Amundson, likewise, is getting pushed to near-Monia status.

And I'm now exhausted at 6:30 a.m. Awesome. Your depth charts in the comments; your votes in the new poll on the right.