First, thanks for the four years, Tyreke. You were a value to contract each of your four years, especially in years one and four. You single-handedly carried the fan base in your rookie season. This team was horrible during your tenure here in spite of you, and not because of you. You were pretty much a class act throughout, toiling for worst ownership in the NBA and never complaining about how you were being utilized, despite myriad position and role changes. Part of your new contract should dedicated to your time served in a Kings uniform. I wish you nothing but the best of luck and health in the future, and I look forward to the Kings defeating the Pelicans in future Western Conference Finals.
Welcome Robin Lopez! I really think that Lopez might possess the better skill set to start next to DeMarcus Cousins (compared to Jason Thompson), as he is a better defensive interior presence than JT. And his contract is a great value. Lopez is a guy that won't demand a lot of touches on the offensive end (that's OK, as Cousins will take his touches for him), but he will provide consistent effort on the defensive end. His rebounding rate was .688 less than Thompson last year on a per 30 minute basis, the difference being on the defensive boards.
Greivis Vasquez, welcome on behalf of the "pass-first" fan brigade (I'm not really one of those guys, but I understand their thirst for a point guard that likes to facilitate for others before looking for his own shot). At $2.2m, he is a good value to contract, but his qualifying offer is next year, so that will be short-lived. I've read about his turnovers, but he had a 2.9/1 assist/turnover ratio last year, which is a much more telling stat. That placed him between Tony Parker and Rajon Rondo in that category, 9th overall. He was also 3rd in assists per minute, so he should be comfortable in the up tempo style that Michael Malone has mentioned. However, a bit of caution as it pertains to expectations. Overall, when you factor in shooting and steals and rebounding, Vasquez and Isaiah Thomas both currently rate out as point guards that would not crack the top 15 at their position. Now, both of these guys are really entering their 3rd year as rotation guys (Vasquez is 26 but has only been in the league 3 years, and the first year he was largely bench fodder), so there is certainly room for improvement (from both of them). My hope for Vasquez is that fans here are not disappointed when they come to the realization that he is not Rondo.
Overall, I'm not a fan of this trade if nothing else transpires. I would have preferred Evans at 4/$44m over Lopez and Vasquez. However, if the Kings add another piece (still holding out for Iguodala), this becomes a pretty sweet off season. If all we wind up gaining is cap space and flexibility, while that too would be a good thing, it would be a tough pill for this long-suffering fan base to swallow at this point in time (though swallow it we will).
And 1 - If this deal goes through, I'm prepared to call Ben McLemore a viable ROY candidate. Not an ROY winner, as I don't think that he will get the touches of (say) Victor Oladipo or Trey Burke. But McLemore will be given every opportunity to come in and win the starting SG job. Arguably the two easiest positions for a rookie to assimilate to are shooting guard and small forward, and McLemore could slide right in as a floor-stretching spot shooter, pick and pop guy and occasional cutter to the basket while learning the nuances of the NBA game. His defense would probably be a very weak spot early on, but when you consider Marcus Thornton's defense as an alternative (and when you look at the dearth of opposing offensive shooting guards), that weakness would probably be at least a little minimized on a night-in, night-out basis. So in that regard, the Evans/Lopez-Vasquez trade could help the Kings get a better return on their first round pick, and might help the franchise actually develop their young player.
Thanks again, ‘Reke. That picture of us in my office is staying right where it's at. Hmmm, come to think of it, "right where it's at" is next to a picture of Omri Casspi. Note to self - no pictures of McLemore are to be put up in the office.
(When this trade rumor is refuted later today, please disregard this post.)