So much for an All-Star "break."
A week that began with the increasingly annoying dancer story ended with the sort of trade that certainly required a full working day.
Now from the comfort of a recliner on a lazy Sunday, I'll try to answer a few of the most popular questions coming my way after Mike Bibby was sent to Atlanta for four players...
Question: Does Bibby being traded have any effect on the Kings' thinking in regards to possibly moving Ron Artest?
Answer: I don't think so, other than the fact that they now have different pieces they could move (after they pass physicals). This wasn't about getting Bibby and Artest away from each other, as that storyline was always overblown. They'd still be reluctant to take on big contracts that go beyond next year unless it's a player of enough significance that he who would fit into the long-term. Cheap young talent with huge upside and draft picks remain attractive.
Question: Why did the Kings cut Justin Williams and Dahntay Jones?
Answer: With the league's roster limit of 15 players and the pre-trade roster at 14 players, they had to cut two guys to get from 17 to 15.
It's as simple as that, and the fact that they were the cheapest options to pay off ($1,489,279 combined) who simply didn't play that often after the roster returned to near-health.
Question: Why would they let a young talent like Justin Williams go?
Answer: First of all, he wasn't a draft pick and just never seemed to earn the confidence of the coaching staff or the organization at large. As he showed in the Wednesday loss at Houston, he could always hit the boards (he had 12 in 23 minutes). Last season, Williams' rebound-per-48-minute mark was an impressive 16.5. This year, it was 19.5.
The other note of interest here is that I was told Williams was originally part of the Atlanta deal. The Kings would have received Salim Stoudamire (expiring contract for $783,000) in return and Williams would've been in a better setting, except for one hitch. Because he had signed a one-year deal for the minimum, he had the same right to block a trade that Devean George has. And because of the way that stipulation blocked the Dallas-New Jersey deal for Jason Kidd, there was fear of a repeat occurence in this trade. Eventually, Williams and Stoudamire were removed from the table because of it.
Question: Is there any chance Williams or Jones are re-signed this season?
Answer: It's not likely. It would be unwise to cut the new Kings just to make room for Williams and Jones to come back because of their contracts. The expiring deals of new Kings Tyronn Lue, Anthony Johnson and Lorenzen Wright are worth a combined $9.6 million, and those pieces could certainly be used in a deal before the Feb. 21 trade deadline once they pass their physicals (expected by Tuesday). On credentials alone, the veterans have it all over Williams and Jones as well.
And none of them, most certainly, can play the game like Bibby...
KINGS FANS, WELCOME SHELDEN WILLIAMS...
Just last week, Steve Hummer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had a nice piece on new Kings forward Shelden Williams, from his inability to fulfill expectations so far to his love-life with Tennessee hoops star Candace Parker.
* Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer shoots down buzz that Ron Artest could be headed to Philadelphia.
* Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post cites a source close to Artest who believes Ron will be with the Kings after the trade deadline.
* Chris Tomasson of the Rocky Mountain News discusses the sort of postseason-less finish the Nuggets want to avoid. They have one game left before the trade deadline (vs. Boston at home on Tuesday) and continue to ponder their plight and the potential pieces that could improve it. - Sam Amick