Today was supposed to be low key. File an expense report, throw a blog up and call it a day while Melody Gutierrez handled practice and Ailene Voisin weighed in on the critical comments Ron Artest had for Kings coach Reggie Theus after the Kings' win on Sunday. (Also read entry below - "Artest unplugged...again" - for full extent of his comments)
Then came the call: Ron Artest would be fined. Monumental? Hardly. Newsworthy? Certainly. Theus regained some measure of respect by fining Artest, if only because not fining him would have only become the latest fodder for some of his players to point to when claims of double standards arose. But in this one micro-category that could be deemed 'Public statement or conduct missteps,' Theus has been consistent. John Salmons bolted out of the locker room frustrated in Minnesota early this season, and was fined because he happened to run right into the media. Mikki Moore voiced his displeasure with the coaching staff for not being more involved at New Jersey about a month later, and he was fined. If Artest hadn't been fined, then Theus would lose even more credibility in that realm.
And make no mistake that this is all about the message sent and the principle. After all, $5,000 to a man who will make $7.4 million this year is approximately $34 to the guy who will make $50,000 this year. But given the alternative of turning a blind eye while one of your core players rips you for all the world to hear, there's most certainly a payoff for Theus.
ODDS AND ENDS
* So much for Tyronn Lue heading to Denver. According to Sekou Smith of the Atlanta Journal Consitution, the former Kings point guard who came to Sacramento briefly after he was traded from Atlanta in the Mike Bibby trade on Feb. 16 will sign with Dallas. Not a bad gig, being Jason Kidd's backup.
As for the calf injury that had kept Lue out of action with the Kings, former teammate Lorenzen Wright chuckled when he was asked about how close Lue was to being ready to play when the team was in Dallas.
"When he touches down in Denver, I think he'll be OK," Wright said.
It's looking more like Dallas, of course, but you get the point.
* Our Melody Gutierrez dug up quite the little nugget for Tuesday's Kings notes, where she points out that - according to the Elias Sports Bureau - Tuesday's Kings-Lakers game at Arco Arena marks the latest two teams in the same division have met for the first time in a season in NBA history.
That's great news for the Kings, of course, because surely they would rather play the Kobe Bryant-Pau Gasol version four times instead of facing the Kobe-Kobe edition or yesteryear.
And it's not like the Lakers have won 12 of 14 since playing with Gasol. What's that? They have? Oh boy...
Here's the latest marvelous outing. - Sam Amick