Right now I think the 4 best words out there are "Kenny Thomas' Expiring Contract". Congrats Kenny! You've moved into the lexicon with legends such as P.J. Brown, Penny Hardaway and Raef LaFrentz!
Kenny Thomas is slated to make a little over $8.7 million this season. A staggering number considering his production. But he might be the best asset on the team this season. He either provides us cap relief towards next summer's storied free agent class of 2010, or he could be traded to a team looking for cap relief. Either way, we'll be in a better situation.
I've always wondered what it would feel like to be known only for the fact that I represented upcoming cap space. The idea that you are so worthless and overpaid that someone would trade for you simply because they wouldn't have you around the following season. It astounds me. As a professional athlete, one would think that you'd have a certain level of pride. Players are derailed for a variety of reasons, obviously. Hardaway and LaFrentz were betrayed by their bodies, P.J. was just getting old. Hell, Brown was still a valuable asset beyond just his expiring contract.
That brings me back to the case of Kenny Thomas. His downfall in Sacramento has been due to not meshing with the coaching staff(s), not trying, or both. Since he's been in Sacramento through several coaches, it probably is not a reach to assume that his downfall is due more to a lack of effort than a coaching style clash.
But imagine if he cared again. There was a time when Thomas was a serviceable player, and a pretty good rebounder. How tempting might he be to a team seeking cap relief next summer, and also seeing Thomas as a guy who needs a change of scenery? I don't know that anyone is out there who might think that. There's little evidence to support such an idea. But how about this, what if someone wants to capitalize on a player who once showed some ability, represents cap space in the summer of 2010, and is in a contract year and has shown motivation only when working towards a new contract? Suddenly, Kenny Thomas could be very appealing.
And even if the Kings don't get any quality players in a trade, they can hold Thomas for another season and have cap space next summer. After all we've been through, what's one more season with Kenny Thomas on the bench?
For once, having Thomas on the roster is a win-win situation.