BLOG UPDATE: I added a segment at the bottom that related to a rumor that swirled on Saturday.
With Saturday's trade that sent Mike Bibby to Atlanta and brought four players the Kings' way, I chatted with Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie about the deal.
On the trade as a whole...
It's another step in a new direction. I think we got some different potential parts of things that help us. You have a chance to have another young big (in Shelden Williams) who was a fifth pick in the draft and hasn’t had a chance to have an opportunity yet. You get some veteran point guards there (in Anthony Johnson and Tyronn Lue), some experience, and we’ll see what happens down the road and how they integrate.
On Williams' potential...
He had a great, great, college career (at Duke). He was extremely well-coached. We’re hoping he becomes part of a younger frontcourt we can go forward with on some level, but he hasn’t played enough yet. He hasn’t had a great opportunity, and hopefully this will be his chance to move forward.
Whatever shows up on the court will show up on the court over some period of time. We haven’t had a fifth pick in the draft since I’ve been here (Williams was drafted fifth overall in 2006).
On how the three expiring contracts of Lue, Johnson and Lorenzen Wright could help clear salary cap space this summer...
There’s the potential for like $11 million in savings, but I don’t want to say that’s written in stone and that’s what we’re going to do. That’s throwing those guys under the bus right away. Lue and Anthony Johnson, in particular, have been proven backup point guards. Right now, other than Quincy (Douby), we don’t have a point guard under contract for next year.
We have the last 31 games here to see what something different looks like. It puts Beno (Udrih) back out there the way he was before Mike got hurt, and we’ll go from there.
On how long the deal with Atlanta had been in the works...
There was sort of a general conversation a few weeks ago that didn’t go anywhere. It started to get a little more momentum here the last couple days. Late last night, it came to a more solid understanding.
On his conversation with Bibby...
It was good. We’ve talked periodically along the way. There’s always a little bit of nostalgia when you trade somebody who’s been somewhere a long time, and who contributed to and participated in some exciting moments.
We’re appreciative of what he’s done, and I think he enjoyed everything we did for him here too. I hope it works for him and I hope it works for us.
Their team, the way it is, (the Hawks) have some younger active guys there. There's Joe Johnson, who can handle (the ball as a point guard) where Mike doesn’t always have to be the primary ballhandler and could play off him some. It could work.
David Aldridge reported on TNT during Saturday's All-Star game coverage that the Kings were involved in three-team talks that would have sent Ron Artest to Denver, Brad Miller to Indiana and brought Jermaine O'Neal to Sacramento. Another version of the rumor popped up soon thereafter that had Denver forward Nene headed to Indiana instead of Miller. Either way, Petrie shot it down.
I don’t know anything about that. I’ve talked to Denver periodically over the last month or so, but there’s nothing like that floating out there that I know of.
Are you pursuing O'Neal?
Not today. (Yesterday, he was asked kiddingly?) Not yesterday. I don’t know anything about that.
I'll have more in tomorrow's paper, including an update on the Ron Artest-to-Denver situation and a few comments from Udrih on how this affects his situation and possible future with the Kings. - Sam Amick