UPDATE: Forgot to mention that Mike Bibby said Jan. 16 remains the return date, despite Kings coach Reggie Theus wondering if his point guard could return earlier.
Tidbits from practice today...
* John Salmons will be a gametime decision against Orlando on Tuesday, as he turned his left ankle and didn't practice on Monday. It's injuries like these (and the countless others) that explain why Kings assistant Randy Brown was needed in the scrimmage. Kenny Natt, Chuck Person, Jason Hamm etc. be on alert.
Kings center Brad Miller also didn't practice because of a flu bug, but he should be ready to play tomorrow.
* Mike Bibby is one of the "top five" most laid-back individuals "in the world" and didn't appreciate an Akron Beacon-Journal story that insinuated otherwise.
As part of the latest analysis of the Bibby-to-Cleveland storyline that still remains, Cavaliers beat writer Brian Windhorst had a throwaway line about Bibby being a problem in the locker room.
Truth be told, I've never heard that from his teammates. Even the drawn out Mike Bibby vs. Ron Artest buzz of last season was - in my estimation - always about basketball and style of play more than it was anything of a personal nature. He is most definitely an instigator, but only in a class clown sort of way. And as Bibby noted, he simply stays away from those teammates who are too sensitive to take it. Besides, the peaceful one - that being John Salmons - is always talking about Bibby's positive presence. And coming from a guy who is all about the spiritual side of life, that's saying something.
As for Bibby trade talk, I can absolutely see him still winding up in Cleveland.
The need remains for the Cavs and the decision-maker (Cleveland GM Danny Ferry) clearly wants Bibby badly. What's more, Drew Gooden makes sense again as a piece back after that notion seemed unlikely with the Kings' offseason signing of Mikki Moore.
Back then, the Kings had too many bigs who took up too much playing time in Moore, Kenny Thomas and Shareef Abdur-Rahim (not to mention Justin Williams and Spencer Hawes) to even think about Gooden. Now, obviously, only one of the bunch is playing a substantial role and the other two could very likely wind up leaving town in a deal of their own (if not as part of a Bibby deal).
Other than Gooden, the Cavs could give the Kings cap space sooner with Ira Newble's deal ($3.4 million, expiring this summer) and have other contracts (Eric Snow, Donyell Marshall) whose deals expire next summer and would be even more attractive if the Cavs took one of the Kings' undesirable deals in return. And in a perfect Geoff Petrie world, he holds out until the Feb. 21 trade deadline while watching the Cavs continue to lose games without Bibby, thereby limiting Bibby's ability to turn the team around and getting a first round draft pick in the deal that's all that much higher because of it. Evil, I know.
* As we speak, err, blog, your almost-Kings-coach - none other than Stan Van Gundy - is inside Arco Arena practicing just like so many thought he'd do this season with the Kings. Of course, he's here with his Magic team after opting for sunny Florida and a roster with more bright spots over the summer. More on that reunion in tomorrow's paper. - Sam Amick