Question: Sam, we're missing 35 points per game (with Mike Bibby and Ron Artest out). The Kings played hard, but did you think they were going to win the game? You can't make chicken soup out of chicken feathers. Would the loss be any better if the score was 99 to 100?? Are the Kings the only 0-2 team out there?? There are going to be many games that they are not in because of the injury to Mike. I know you have to have some big dramatic story but get a grip. It's not the end of the world. Grab your shoes and go help them. - Bob Snyder, Rancho Cordova
Answer: I like that idea Bob! Beat writer/baller. And I even have a new pair of T-Mac (Tracy McGrady) hi-tops so I would fit right in - until the ball was actually bounced, of course.
But seriously, here's the thing. It's not that they're 0-2, it's that they have been competitive when it actually mattered for a quarter and a half in a possible eight quarters. They have the worst point differential in the league (negative-15). They played so poorly that folks who were around during the dreary Kings days of old said yesterday that this qualified as worse than even the worst of those times. And while the injuries are certainly the biggest reason, the Kings of last season won or competed in plenty of games when they were undermanned. But this situation is two-fold: the timing of Bibby going down and Ron's suspension was catastrophic in every way as it relates to the coaching staff, and a philosophy of inside-out offense is going nowhere fast in the absence of strong post play.
With Bibby and Artest on board, the roles were being defined and the veteran presence was helping Reggie Theus and his staff with their own learning curve. Now everyone is seemingly reeling to figure out how to survive this stretch without being embarrassed every time out.
It's not rocket science what's going on here. The frontcourt isn't rebounding or finishing in the post, and it seems there may be unrealistic expectations about how much any of those guys can help offensively. Up top, Orien Greene is having a tough time with Theus' rotation and can't find his rhythm, as he's played the first six minutes in both games and then only spot minutes thereafter. And for all the talk about Quincy Douby and whether he is a point guard (he's not, by the way), there may be some doubt above Theus' ranks as to whether Orien is one either.
Douby has continued to show he can score, but he repeatedly misses teammates with open looks. And while the signing of Beno Udrih is a good one and could help this disaster, it's only more bum luck for the Kings (and Udrih's bum finger) that he isn't healthy enough to help just yet. If nothing else, Bibby can take solace in the fact that it's pretty clear how valuable and underestimated his skills may be.
The tortoruous juxtaposition to all of this is that this road trip is absolutely brutal. I thought there was no better finish on this trip than 1-2 (with New Orleans the best opportunity for a win, and a small chance at that). Now they get the Mavs in their home opener with the return of Josh Howard to boot. In other words, don't expect chicken soup tonight either, Bob.
Question: I would like to say thank you to Geoff Petrie for doing an awful
job. We should protest at home games (in which not many will sell-out) to have him removed from the Kings. In closing, Dallas will beat us silly tonight. - Ron, Woodbridge
Answer: You have a point about the home games and attendance. As of a few weeks ago, the feeling seemed to be that a strong start would lead to the sellout streak staying intact, but it's clearly in trouble now.
Question: Being a Miami Heat fan, many of us often discuss the possibility of Ron Artest being traded here.
What is the skinny regarding Artest and the Kings' position of his tradeability? What would they be looking for from Miami? Would they want point guard Jason Williams, plus a draft pick or would they expect more than that? (i.e. Udonis Haslem and a few young players...) - Marty Bogrow, Weston, Fla.
Answer: Artest is tradeable, especially since he can opt out of his contract after this season and the Kings would lose him for nothing. A sign-and-trade is possible at that point, but there's no guarantee one could come together.
As far as Miami, bringing on Williams would only be to get his expiring contract ($8.9 million) and guarantee that money comes off the cap. If Artest didn't opt out, he would make $7.4 million next season (FYI, I made a mistake in today's Kings notes regarding his salary next season).
The Kings would be after draft picks, too, but I do think they'd be hoping for more than that at this point. For example, I now believe the Kings were after Ben Gordon in those three-team talks that came up recently. Even though they have a shooting guard in Kevin Martin and a player like Gordon doesn't seem to fit, he's a valuable commodity who you could move again for an even better fit or try to win with an unorthodox lineup.
Question: Why don't the Kings take a page from the Warriors book and buy out the contracts of the dead weight on the team? Yeah, I know its alot of money, but one of the players I'm talking about is an undersized cancer, the other in my opinion is done physically. (Mikki) Moore and (Justin) Williams can fill the power forward position nicely, and these two players probably won't be to happy about a lack of playing time and might cause problems. - Jim, Carmichael
Answer: There may be enough reason to do it, but here are the factors to consider...
1) Both sides have to agree, meaning Kenny Thomas (this season and two more, approximately $24 million overall) and Shareef Abdur-Rahim (this season and two more, nearly $18 million) and their agents must be given enough of their money to agree to exit. If one or both of these guys were in the final year of their deals, I think they would do it.
2) The money doesn't come completely off the cap, which must be weighed by the Kings in this decision. Whatever amount they pay the player is basically divvied up over their remaining contract years.
3) You obviously lose possible trade pieces, even if both guys seem difficult to move.