Philadelphia has been wrestled from the wretched hands of Billy King. There will be plenty of time for celebration for fans of the 76ers and fans of sanity in basketball. For now, we discuss Billy King's greatest achievement with regards to we Sacramento fans: He took Chris Webber off our hands.
The Webber trade was before most sportsblogs existed -- there were some (Blog-a-Bull's predecessor comes to mind), but it was land of the message boards. As such, few schools of thought erupted in any defined form online in the wake. Of course, fans all made up their own minds, and columnists became the flag bearers. Ailene Voisin wishes Webber were traded in 1999, I'm sure; Marty McNeal has hated this team since a) Brad Miller came to town, and b) Webber left. There are definitely folks on each side of the aisle here at Sactown Royalty; as such, I expect a thrilling thread though I request extra attention to respecting other opinions.
I've been on the fence about the deal since February 24, 2005. Immediately, I was shocked. "It's over! The run is over." Then relieved. "God, that contract was atrocious. We have flexibility now." Then worried. "Oh my god, Kenny Thomas? Brian Skinner? Corliss Williamson?" Then consoled. "Wow, K-9 can pass and rebound; Skinner can play defense!" Then frustrated. "First round? FIRST round?" Then excited "Sha-reef Abdur-Rahim!" Now? I've forgotten about it, for the most part.
It is impossible to measure what the Webber trade did to our psyche as Kings fans. Yes, the Doug Christie trade and the Vlade Divac abandonment marked a certain end of the era. But the team was still good... quite good. Since the trade, the team has only been 'quite good' during Ron Artest's magic carpet ride. That's a long time to wind down, when you think about it. As such, there should be plenty of data in order to measure the real basketball impact of the trade.
I'm going to assume that if Billy King didn't take Webber, no one would have. I'm also going to assume the signing of Shareef Abdur-Rahim would not have happened without the Webber trade. I think these are fair assumptions.
Let's compare the production:
Player G Min Pts Reb Ast FG% PER WS $$$
Webber 114 4138 2044 1055 383 .421 16.7 21 $62M
PER 48M -- 48.0 23.7 12.2 4.4 .421 16.7 .24 $.7M
Player G Min Pts Reb Ast FG% PER WS $$$
Thomas 170 4527 1457 1222 319 .496 13.8 27 $17M
Skinner 63 1124 272 319 37 .553 13.1 8 $10M
Corliss 129 1844 969 369 88 .489 11.9 9 $15M
Shareef 152 3975 1680 755 258 .499 15.0 25 $10M
TOTALS 514 11470 4378 2665 702 .500 13.5 69 $52M
PER 48M -- 48.0 18.3 11.2 2.9 .500 13.5 .29 $.2M
WS = Win Shares
Webber had better overall and per-minute production for the 76ers than any of the pieces did for the Kings. Taken in total, the Kings side of the Webber deal performed below average but decently considering the gross (double-meaning there) salary paid. The 76ers, obviously, paid a premium for the somewhat better production -- because Billy King chose to exile Webber two years into his stay, the cost ended up being about $3 million per Win Share, which is outrageous... especially when you consider the Kings -- with those four unattractive contracts of their own -- paid about $750,000 per Win Share. Also, include the fact the Kings got many more minutes for their money -- almost three times as many minutes played for 16% less overall salary. If you are of the opinion you can't find Shareef '06/Kenny '05 level players in the D-League (you can't), then this is an added bonus: The Kings got rougly three slightly below average but well-above replacement level players for less than the price of one above average player (Webber). These factors tell me this: Geoff Petrie won this deal outright.
But there's another factor at play: Webber's contract is finished -- that $62 million is all the 76ers lose in this deal. The Kings? They owe another $42 million to Thomas and Abdur-Rahim. Later today, we'll look at how well the pair would have to play over the life of their contracts to save this deal for Petrie's win column.