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Bibby to Lakers Vetoed By Maloofs; Mike James to Sacramento?

dun has a diary outlining Marc Stein's feeling on whether Mike Bibby to Cleveland will happen. Mike James is involved.

That same Stein column has this interesting passage, as well:

One of the more interesting scenarios I heard Tuesday came from my ESPN colleague Ric Bucher, who reported on NBA Coast to Coast and SportsCenter that the Lakers recently had a deal in place to acquire Mike Bibby from Sacramento before Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof vetoed it, unable to stomach the thought of helping their playoff rivals of yesteryear.

I'm guessing the deal would have been Bibby for Kwame Brown, Jordan Farmar, Chris Mihm's expiring contract, and a first-round pick. I wouldn't have been mad at that. Well, not until Bibby started shooting 50% and scoring 25 ppg.

Back to Mike James. A quick comparison, using career numbers through last season:

Name   Pt40   FGA40   FG%   3P%   AstR   ToR   Usg
Bibby  18.2    15.2  .446  .373   26.1  10.2  21.6
James  17.6    14.8  .433  .384   24.2  10.2  20.9

In order: points per 40 minutes, field goal attempts per 40 minutes, field goal percentage, three-point percentage, assist rate (percentage of offensive possessions which player ends with an assist), turnover rate (percentage of offensive possessions which player ends with a turnover), and usage rate (percentage of team offensive possessions player ends while on the court, with 20 meaning the player uses exactly 20% of his team's possessions).

Mike Bibby is better, and he's almost three years younger.

But Mike James is almost Bibby-lite, or even Jason Terry lite. The thing you worry about: James thinks he's an incredible player. He's a good player, an aging player. He's not incredible.

His shooting numbers have slipped this season, not precipitously but enough to worry about with a 31-year-old. He's signed another three years after this season - $5.4 million next year, $6 million in 2009, and $6.5 million in 2010. For a starting point guard, that's affordable. The question is: will Mike James be a starting point guard for the next three years?

He can shoot, and point guards who can shoot age better than those who cannot. That's obviously no guarantee, but it's a bit of cold water on the pessimists.

The biggest problem I have with the trade is that Mike James is not a distributing point guard, which is what our teams could really use. James is a creator for himself first and his pick-and-roll partner second - as I said, he's Bibby-lite. He's the polar opposite of an Andre Miller, a point guard who revels in seeing his teammates throw down dunks and get transition layups.

But I doubt you'll get a better starting point guard cheaper, unless you draft a D.J. Augustin and he turns out to be the next Jason Kidd. Maurice Williams will be on the market this summer - and he'll get a contract similar to or greater than James'. Of course, Williams is years younger than James. But if you wait, you take a huge chance.

The other elephant: the Kings would certainly have to get Drew Gooden in the illustrated deal. Bibby for James and Gooden? That's a deal I like, especially if the Kings keep their first-rounder.

(For those that missed dun's suggestion, here it is. Cleveland gets their point guard, Minnesota gets cap relief, Sacramento gets James and Gooden.)