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Petrie: We Have a Plan

Ailene Voisin has a fairly comprehensive Q&A with Geoff Petrie in this morning's Bee. The summer of rebuilding, it's either 2009 or 2010. Here are the relevant passages.

Q: Your team payroll can be reduced by nearly $20 million at the end of next season. Are you positioning yourself for another offseason similar to that of 1998, when you wooed Vlade Divac, traded for Chris Webber, signed Peja Stojakovic, drafted Jason Williams - in essence, obtained the nucleus for the Kings' most successful teams?

A: Yes, that's been by design to a large extent. Now, that's always subject to change, too. If something came along that made sense, talent-wise, and compromised that somewhat, we would pursue that. Otherwise, you're going to have to restrain your spending between now and then to preserve that salary cap flexibility. The overall plan is to get to the year after next and have some real cap room of significance.

Voisin is asking about the summer of 2009, when Mike Bibby's contract expires and most of Mikki Moore's deal is likely gone. Petrie seems to indicate the summer of 2010, after Bibby and Moore, Kenny Thomas and Shareef Abdur-Rahim are done, is the target summer. That is a long flipping time from now.

... and that's fine with me. Kevin Martin will be 27, entering his prime. Spencer will be 22, Quincy Douby 26. The important current assets will still be viable. You'll hopefully have another few key youngsters from the coming drafts (superstars welcome). And with the sort of cap space you should have, an impact player or two can be brought in by trade or free agency without needing complete fiscal sanity. (Neither the Mitch Richmond-Chris Webber trade, nor the Vlade Divac signing, would be considered perfect financial moves today.) Potentially, you'd be in the same position Joe Dumars was near the beginning of this decade. That's not a bad place to be.

I'm willing to wait it out. Is the casual Kings fan? God no. The city has more or less revolted on just nine games. It would behoove Petrie to attempt to step up the rebuild at least a year. The problem? You've got to tear it down completely to get there, like 60 losses and untold millions in nonperforming salary. He's not shown the incentive to tear it down yet without receiving assets; in other words, speeding up the process is not incentive enough for Petrie in dealing his players. He's much more patient than I would be.

Voisin has a part two coming Tuesday, talking about Petrie's relationship with the Maloofs. If there's a shred of candor, it will be interesting. Because like the casual fan, I doubt Gavin and Joe are ready for three years of waiting for Petrie's plan to hatch.