Selfishness is a pivotal part of the Kings’ storyline this season, and it's with that theme that I hope they don’t make any major trades until the month ends.
That’s because I won’t be on the upcoming road trip, as my more-than-capable colleague Scott Howard-Cooper will be covering the four-game set in what will serve as my own early All-Star break (Vegas will be anything but). As for the Kings and whether there are even moves out there with the sort of impact of last season’s Ron Artest deal, it doesn’t appear so at the moment.
They would - like so many other teams - embrace the sight of Pau Gasol in a Kings uniform, but Memphis is looking to get younger and would want more than a nearly-30-year-old Mike Bibby (whose $12.5 million salary this season is close to Gasol’s $12.3 million). A deal involving Ron Artest ($7.1 million) would need additional pieces to make it work and may have to include Kevin Martin, forcing the Kings to give up more of their future than they’d likely be willing to.
You can bet New Jersey’s Jason Kidd would be welcomed into Arco Arena, but the Nets may be holding off on moving Kidd or Vince Carter because of the recent injury to Richard Jefferson. It makes sense on many levels, though, none moreso than the benefits that would come with a pass-first point guard on a team full of young shooters. Yet Kidd's contract is not only pricey ($18 million this season), but it doesn't end until after the 2008-09 season. Just a guess here, but the odds of a New Jersey-Kings deal would go up if Kidd's contract expired after next season like Artest's does. Artest has a player option for the 2008-09 season, but - assuming his level of play maintains - will surely opt out.
The Kings aren't looking to get tied up in high-dollar deals for any longer than they already are (see Kenny Thomas and Brad Miller), and the only hope for a trade of any significance might be one of the three-plus team variety. As Gavin Maloof told me last week, the ownership and Kings exec Geoff Petrie will be exercising patience and a vision for the long term despite the dire straits. Kings fans may want to do the same.
-- Sam Amick