Cleaning out the Mail Sac, so portions of some of these questions might be slightly dated.
Leading off with Matt from East Sac: "Now that the Kings has owners that want to put a competitive team on the court. What are your thoughts about using the amnesty clause on John Salmons? Also, do you think the Kings are shopping Thornton? He is a streaky shooter but has difficulty creating his own shot. Not really a fan. If so, what options other than Monta Ellis do we have?"
The only reason to amnesty Salmons is to make salary and roster room for another player, which I don't think will occur. Salmons is still (amazingly!) the second best small forward on this team, behind only Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. And because he can play the two and even fill in at the point in small doses, he does give the Kings added trading flexibility throughout the season. If a team came in and offered something oversized for any of the current guard corps, Salmons could fill in as needed.
As far as Thornton is concerned, we have to separate the player from the contract. Because the issue with Thornton is really his contract and not Thornton himself. Yes, he has a pouty persona on the court, but he works his arse off when he's out there. He's a plus offensive rebounder for a two guard (perhaps because that usually means another shot for him). He is not a willing passer, but that has really never been his job. His defense lacks, right with the rest of the team. But he is a flat-out scorer, and there is really not a long list of proven flat-out scorers in the league right now.
I have mentioned that I would like to see Thornton's contract moved, with Jimmer Fredette being the beneficiary of most of those minutes. But make no mistake: Marcus Thornton is miles better than Jimmer Fredette right now. Miles. Fredette's biggest advantage over Thornton is that he will make $11m less than Thornton over the next two years. But when it comes to actual on-court performance, it's Thornton by margin. And before any Jimmer fans go bat-shirt crazy here, I'm not bashing on him. If I had my druthers, I'd rather watch Fredette and McLemore log most of the time at the two this year. But simply, if Thornton and Fredette were both free agents right now, Thornton would draw more interest and more money, at least by those teams that are more interested in on-court results than marketing.
Another aspect as it pertains to Thornton is how much he is needed for this year. Even if Ben McLemore wins the starting job, he's going to be going through an arduous rookie season, and he is going to find that rookie wall, probably sooner than later. My bet is that Thornton is going to have more of an opportunity to earn his salary this year than last year.
Next up, mjalmighty: "I am very curious about this. I am pretty sure that you are a long time follower of the Kings. I can see that from your dedication. And for sure, I can't imagine how crazily happy you are when the Kings became a perennial Playoff team (I am crazily happy during those times), especially when they peaked in 2002. So I would like to know your thoughts or feelings when the Kings missed the Playoffs for the first time in years back in 2006-07? Were you shocked or was that something that you expected? And have you ever been confident that the team will be back in contention in a few years' time? Or have you already envisioned that this team will miss the postseason for a prolonged amount of time?"
2006-07 was disappointing for me as a fan. Remember, the Kings were 18-26 the prior year before trading for Ron Artest. After the Artest trade, the closed out the season like a freight train and put a pretty good scare into San Antonio in the playoffs. The following season was marred from the get-go thanks to the Eric Musselman DUI. A year later, Reggie Theus came in and had the team playing hard and on the fringe of playoff hopes. But the next year his ego lost the team, and the fall into the deep abyss soon followed.
When the Kings finally decided to "blow it up," I figured that it could take four or five years for the team to return to respectability. This upcoming season promises to be the eighth straight lottery season, and we may not be at the end of that string of futility.
If there's a silver lining to all of this, it's that Kings fans that have come along in the past seven years are a lot like original Kings fans in that they are having to suffer the darkness before the dawn. And trust me when I say that this will make the good times all that much sweeter.
Frank has a question: O.K.... "We need a SF. Brandon RUSH was recently traded from GS to UT. 1) B.RUSH played for Malone at GS. Before missing the whole season this year and playing as a reserve, Rush was a 10 point per game scorer with good averages who could hit treys. I believe he's got one year left on his contract. Wouldn't he be a good add at SF? 2) UTAH needs help at PG. Trey Burke is a rookie who's not yet shown anything in the summer league....and is showing NO shooting skills. The Jazz are actually looking at John Lucas as a PG asset. The team is going to be unwatchable (imo) this season. They are obviously tanking in anticipation of the ‘14 draft. JIMMER seems like a perfect add for the Jazz. His BYU connection will make him an instant fav in Salt Lake City. He certainly can shoot...it's the "other stuff" that's the problem. The Jazz F.O. can distract the Jazz faithful for a season with "Jimmer doin's"....hoping his hooping will entertain while hopping for ping pong balls. SO....we offer JIMMER plus a second rounder for B.RUSH. What say you o' sage of Kings Hoopla?"
Since you sent this on the 12th and Mbah a Moute was obtained on the 9th, I'm assuming that you are not feeling the force of Luc?
Rush has always struck me as more of a shooting guard than a small forward. He's 6-6 and has a wingspan that is the equivalent of Tyreke Evans while being 10 pounds lighter than Tyreke, and I never really considered Evans to be a small forward. I think that he's a good bench wing, but not a guy that you can stick in the starting lineup at small forward.
One thing that always seems to be lost in all of this "Jimmer to Utah" conversation is the fact that for every BYU fan that loves him, there are at least as many Utah and Utah State fans that loathe him. There is also the not-so-small matter that Fredette has yet to prove himself as a point guard, so the Jazz bringing him in would not solve that issue. If the Jazz are looking for short-term help at point guard, they can opt for Mo Williams. I actually think that Beno Udrih would be perfect for them right now. I think that Aaron Brooks and D.J. Augustin are still out there, too.
And one from saslyg: "Hey I was wondering what would the chances of landing Danny Granger through some type of trade. Maybe Salmons and Hayes for Danny?"
I don't see the Pacers doing any deal where they take on contract for next year. Let's plug in your trade. The Pacers basically have eight players under contract next year at a total of $47m, plus they will need to extend Paul George, and you have to figure that they will max him at somewhere around a $15m starting tag. That puts them at $62m, or about $9m under the tax level with 3-5 open roster spots. They can pick up the options on Donald Sloan and Orlando Johnson at a little under $1m each, so that would be 1-3 open roster spots and roughly $7m under the tax. Hayes and the buyout to Salmons would completely eat that up. I think that the only scenario in which the Pacers deal Granger is one where they are taking back virtually no 2014 contract in return. And the Kings can't offer while making a deal that works under their own cap restrictions. The closest deal that I can come up that would work numerically is Patterson/Fredette/Salmons for Granger, as the Pacers could buy Salmons out and renounce Patterson (and perhaps even Fredette). But I'm not sure why either team makes that deal.
Pick & Droll: Last week we canvassed you for your deserted island discs. This week let's turn to deserted island flicks.
10: 12 Angry Men
9: The Usual Suspects
8: The Maltese Falcon
6: The Simpsons Movie
4: Monty Python & the Holy Grail
3: Shawshank Redemption
2: Blazing Saddles
1: The Godfather
Send your questions and topic ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.