Question: I attended the open practice on Jan. 13. At one point (Kings coach) Reggie Theus quipped that he is paged whenever you are in the building. Do you take that as a compliment, a cause for concern, or none of the above? - Rob, Roseville, Calif.
Answer: Well considering he doesn't control my playing time, there's nothing to be concerned about. That was Reggie being Reggie, the showman who never met a microphone he didn't like. I had to correct his pronunciation later, telling him that it's a long A in A-mick, not Am-ick, like he said. And as for his beat writer GPS system, there's a can't-miss method in place already: look for the car that's grossly out of place in the player's parking lot and that means I'm there.
All in all, I thought he did a heck of a job with what was a tricky setup. While so many NBA coaches have been griping about being miked during games and in the locker rooms as is the new trend for TV, here's Theus willing to do this. He was able to entertain the 9,062 on hand and not go too far at the same time to call out certain players or get too personal with his comments.
Considering they were coming off a bad loss, though, you knew there would have to be some reference to bad play. And there was. When the Kings were running through one half-speed type drill, Theus - whose team gave up 23 turnovers in the Saturday loss to the Pacers - said, "This is about the only time they won't turn it over."
During a defensive drill, he discussed how the coaching staff breaks down the way in which they were beaten defensively after every game, and Theus shared the gory details.
"We got beat to the middle (down the lane on drives) 20 times," he said.
You couldn't beat this event, though. It was very cool to see folks enjoy the heck out of something for free.
Question: Which game will Kevin Martin be starting? And do you think once Mike Bibby comes back (on Wednesday) that he will be traded? What are the likely destinations? - Ronald G, Santo Domingo
Answer: Kevin's starting status is day by day, and Theus said on Sunday that he didn't have any plans to change the lineup for Monday's game against Dallas. And, yes, Mike could certainly be moved not long after he comes back. I could still see it happening quickly if Mike comes back and plays like his old self. As for suitors, Cleveland and Miami remain the most likely. And as for the recent buzz that if the Kings demand the Cavs take Kenny Thomas in a Bibby deal, then it wouldn't go down, that would shock no one. It all comes down to how badly Cavs GM Danny Ferry wants Mike, although he could certainly be putting his franchise in even worse salary cap hell by taking on too much just to get a hired gun like Bibby.
Question: What do you see the Kings doing this offseason in free agency and the draft? It looks like they are in dying need of a good power forward. - Glenn, Sacramento
Answer: I can't even get close to answering that one Glenn. You're a few chess moves ahead of yourself. You're spot on, though, in the sense that they want to upgrade the power forward spot. That's a major priority for the near future.
Question: There has been much talk about Bibby and Martin having to earn their spots back in the lineup. My observation is that their replacements haven't exactly earned their way into the lineup, other than being healthy when the others got hurt. Okay, John Salmons and Beno Udrih have played well, but not necessarily better than Bibby or Martin -- I think that Bibby was playing great in the preseason before he got hurt, and Martin was a top five scorer before he got hurt. What's your take on this issue? - Spencer Wong, Sacramento
Answer: It's not all that rare for even big name guys to make their returns as reserves before re-entering the starting lineup soon thereafter. And to me, the players themselves shouldn't even worry about Theus' musings on how he'll handle the situation until the situation itself unfolds. The nature of the injuries, as Theus has noted, definitely plays a factor. In Martin's case, the groin injury meant he fell a bit ouf of game shape and was pretty winded after logging 28 minutes in his first game back.
LeBron James came in off the bench on Dec. 11 after missing five games with a finger injury and played 23 minutes. And ironically, that was his first career non-start just like Bibby is expected to have his first one on Wednesday. Entering the season, James and Bibby were among three active players to have played at least 300 games and started them all (James' streak was 332, Bibby's is 675). In a few days, Carmelo Anthony (337) will be all alone in that category, although Tim Duncan is close (776 starts in 777 games).
Question: Could you give a summary of the trading rules. I understand that the trading deadline coming up is February 21. After that when can trades be made? And then do all trades have to be completed before the start of the next regular season games? - Joel, Uher, Calif.
Answer: The only restricted period becomes from the Feb. 21 deadline to the end of the regular season. At that point, teams that are out of the playoffs can trade amongst each other. Obviously, once the postseason ends then it's all fair game again until the next deadline.
Question: Has there been conjecture about an Artest/Shareef (Abdur-Rahim)/(Kenny) Thomas trade to New York for Stephon Marbury with David Lee and/or a first round pick? This would free-up $21 million after next season. It would also allow the Kings to trade Bibby to Miami for Udonis Haslem, Jason Williams and a draft pick reducing salaries by $9 million after this season. When Kevin Martin's new contract kicks-in next year, the Kings will have to pay a luxury tax. Marbury, Martin, Salmons, Haslem, Miller starting with Beno, Francisco Garcia and Mikki Moore/Lee off the bench is solid and the picks and cap room after 2008-09 facilitate a major improvement in the roster. - H Cardinal, Carmichael, Calif.
Answer: Truthfully, I don't have the time to check all your work but I like where you're going for the most part. First off, I'm wondering if everything regarding New York is on hold again. Numerous league sources have informed me that embattled Knicks coach Isiah Thomas has been turning down decent deals left and right, meanwhile driving those around him in Knicks Land batty and, according to the New York Daily News, possibly pushing owner Joe Dolan to fire him. They have been dangling Jamal Crawford in discussions, but I'm told they still won't give up David Lee. That much is bad news for the Kings, who have shown an interest in Lee in the past and would certainly want him in any Artest deal.
Question: Do you think the Kings need to trade Bibby for a role player like (Cleveland's) Drew Gooden, and bits and pieces, just to get under the cap or should the Kings trade with a team that has an up and coming player to match with Kevin, Udrih and (Brad) Miller? I'm thinking David Lee, (Knicks) for Artest, or maybe (Phoenix's) Shawn Marion, for a combination of players? Do you think a three way deal might get done as well? - Ricardo Sierra, Cherry Valley, New York
Answer: Clearing cap space in the right way is far from nothing. And if done well, then any teams with money to spend in the 2009 offseason could be sitting pretty as the dollars are expected to be minimal on the free agent market and big-time talent could come cheaper than in recent years. Ideally, though, you're right about the type of player they'd love to get right now. One who comes cheaper and with upside galore like Lee is preferable, but just might not be possible. And, yes, a three-way deal may be the only way to go since so much of this two-team talk has obviously gone nowhere. - Sam Amick