The Kings signing of Darren Collison came without warning. Perhaps that's why it created such a powerful reaction. We knew there was a possibility that the Kings might not retain Isaiah Thomas this offseason, but Collison suddenly became the physical embodiment of that harsh reality. Isaiah may still remain with the Kings, but it feels like a foregone conclusion that he is gone. Collison was given the impression he would be a starter. The Kings leaked comments that they like Isaiah as a sixth man, a role Isaiah is obviously unsatisfied with. The writing is on the wall, all that remains is for Isaiah to reach an agreement elsewhere.
I still disagree with the idea that Collison is a suitable replacement for Isaiah Thomas. But if you're losing Isaiah, and aren't relying on getting a point guard back in a sign-and-trade, Collison is, sadly, one of the best options available in free agency.
A debate around here has been whether it's fair to compare Isaiah and Collison. I think it's fair to, but I certainly understand those who argue otherwise. I think it's fair because the Kings have chosen to sign Collison, to essentially move on from Isaiah, without even seeing what the market is willing to pay Isaiah. The Kings made the decision that they wouldn't wait, they wouldn't consider matching Isaiah, they would instead move on with the next phase of their plan. Sure, the Kings could still match, but it seems it would have to be an awfully low offer.
But now it's time to move past what might have been, and begin looking at what will happen next. We expect, we hope, that this isn't the team's final play. If it is, this offseason is a disaster. But assuming the Kings have additional moves in store, a fair expectation, it's only fair that we wait and see the rest of the plan unfold.
An Isaiah Thomas sign-and-trade could fetch potentially valuable role players. A trade involving some combination of Quincy Acy, Jason Thompson, Derrick Williams, Jason Terry, or Carl Landry could dramatically change the dynamics of this team.
Right now we're confused. The team says they want to improve immediately, but seems to have downgraded their point guard. But the rest of the team is still in flux. Even if this was the end of the Kings' offseason moves, we would expect the team to remain active in trades.
On Thursday, I posed the question on Twitter if this signing marked the end of the honeymoon period with Vivek, Pete and company. Personally, I don't think it should. The ownership and management of the team want to win, they want to improve. They obviously have a different view of how to improve than what a majority of fans wanted to see. But they've at least earned a little goodwill at this point. I don't like the move, and I will be watching with a skeptical eye, but I'm willing to wait and see what comes next.