Question: Are you perhaps alluding to a Shareef Abdur-Rahim deal in the works (with this post), with his on-again/off-again activity with the Kings in your latest blog post? Is there some interest around the league for a guy like him. I'd imagine so since post offense is a much needed skill set for so many clubs. I see Philly, Charlotte, Chicago, and even Orlando still in need and looking for help at the 5 there. – Jerrel Mills, Louisville, Kentucky
Answer: You’re right that post players are a hot commodity, though Shareef’s first priority is to get healthy enough to earn some playing time from his current team. Beyond that, he could absolutely be dealt this week or sometime between then and the February trade deadline. His health continues to be an issue of debate in the Kings’ camp and beyond, with his recent trip to Los Angeles for another opinion dubbed “another” because it was not a second opinion. After recovering so slowly from the arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in June, he’s had the knee looked at more than twice in assessing whether to continue the rehab to full recovery or perhaps another “clean-up” medical procedure.
Question: In his first "significant" minutes this season (15 minutes against Phoenix on Nov. 21), Justin William did a fine job rebounding (10 boards and 6 points). The next game he didn’t play. Is he hurt? Is there something Coach Theus does not like about those numbers? – Chris Campbell, Salzburg, Austria
Answer: The situation is about as transparent as it seems. Theus just isn’t looking for Williams to be in the rotation right now, especially since the rebounding has improved recently even without him playing. On the flip side, rookie center Spencer Hawes has been told he won’t play much unless he’s helping defensively and…rebounding! He did plenty of that on Saturday against Houston, grabbing 10 rebounds in 14 minutes.
Question: Probably the same as many others want to know. K-Mart (Kevin Martin) has regressed steadily lately to last night when he was benched in the late 4th quarter (on Nov. 26 against San Antonio). What is the real problem here? Did Theus make an egregious mistake in not hiring Coachie (former Kings assistant and Princeton coaching legend Pete Carril? – Richard Colby, Yuba City, CA
Answer: Well, I wondered during the offseason if Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie might recommend Coachie for an assistant job. While it only could’ve helped Martin – who he mentored so wonderfully during his first two seasons – Martin has shown the hoops IQ and work etchic on his own to eventually learn from mistakes that are holding him back and become better from it. Exhibit A was on Saturday night, when Martin – who broke out of the slump against Golden State on Wednesday – fixed one of his recent problems by showing the sort of offensive aggression he often lacks. He didn’t float on the perimeter, didn’t wait for the action to come to him. He took his points from the defense, all while playing with a bit more edge than usual.
Question: Hi Sam, I just have a comment. Ron-Ron (Artest) will not be at the lashing of the Kings on Saturday night (against Houston and former Kings coach) Rick Adelman and the Rockets. That (stinks). I know his kid is sick, but we need him! I see a pattern here, where Ron-Ron shows up when he wants to and that’s not cool! So come Feb. trade deadline or before, trade him, Mike Bibby, Kenny Thomas, and Shareef Abdur-Rahim. Thanks. - Ron, Woodbridge, CA
Answer: I’m glad you chimed in Ron, because there are surely plenty of people who feel this way. But while Ron will forever battle this kind of skepticism because of his past, the situation with his daughter is very serious. And while he showed all sorts of loyalty by actually returning to help the Kings beat the Rockets, coach Reggie Theus was right when he said before the game that the nature of the situation with his daughter is such that he Artest could disappear for the next four or five games – if not longer – and be justified. By the way, I have to admit that your line of “I know his kid is sick, but we need him” turned my stomach a bit. Have a little perspective man.
Question: Congrats on Bee article on Nov. 30. Every Kings fan knows the problem that Artest is not a team player. When he is on the floor, the production of Martin, John Salmons or Mike Bibby goes down. He is a super star in his own mind. Reggie (Theus) must convince him to change or demand that he be traded. No other team wants him. Thank you for your objective writing. – Bill Newell, Rancho Murietta, CA
Answer: Thanks Bill. Theus is in the process of learning this aspect of Artest, who can score at will so often but who can often fall in love with his own offense to the detriment of the team. Specifically, it’s those games when Artest ignores the fact that he just isn’t hitting shots and keeps jacking them up. From a basketball fanatics standpoint, it’ll be an interesting subplot to watch develop.
Question: How about it Sam? After the injury, trade Mike Bibby for Memphis forward Pau Gasol straight up. The salaries match. The Kings need a low post presence and Gasol has been a 20/10 guy (points and rebounds) in the past. Bibby would be a huge improvement over Damon Stoudamire. Both teams are bad. Gasol is unhappy and wants out. Beno Udrih is the the real deal. Bibby and Gasol are at the same point in their careers. Moving Gasol would make room for rising stud Hakim Warrick and give Stromile Swift more playing time, and it gives the Kings three potential All-Stars (Martin/Artest/Gasol) and Memphis a star to run the offense. – Chris Apsley, Lincoln, CA
Answer: I like it Chris. While Gasol’s numbers are down this season, he just seems like one of those guys who needs new scenery and he’d be fine. I can’t see Memphis doing that deal, though, because Mike Conley is the future at point guard. They’re clearly in rebuilding mode, and Bibby is more of a commodity for teams that need another piece to win now.