From Sacramento and Miami and every surreal place in between comes the reality that the Kings and representatives of Jason Williams, if not Williams himself, will probably be talking within a few days to explore the possibility of his return to the Kings as a free agent.
The Kings are prohibited from contact with free agents and any public comments until the market opens tonight at 9 Pacific time. Aware that Williams is an exposed nerve of a topic around Sacramento, and that it could send the wrong message to Beno Udrih, the Kings are hesitant to discuss the scenario even off-the-record.
But it has a chance of happening. Not a great chance, for a few reasons that have nothing to do with the past, but an actual chance. It's real.
As always with J-Will and his first NBA home, there will be strong reaction from outside the organization on why it would be an exciting reunion and why it would be the worst of all possible moves for a team that just doesn't need the hassles. Take the emotion out of it and this is what you've got.
- The Kings still like the idea of having Udrih back. They thought, with good reason, that he worked very well and, without as much good reason, that he can repeat that showing for the next several years. But they also understand that getting into a bidding war for a career backup before 2007-08 is an invitation for trouble. Seriously, an average of nearly $7 million a season for Beno Udrih?
- J-Will probably isn't at the top of the non-Udrih list. More likely, based on the usual basketball factors plus the real-world factors of money and minutes, Chris Duhon, done in Chicago, is. Maybe the Kings make a longshot stab at Ben Gordon, who wouldn't seem a realistic target for the mid-level exception of about $6 million per season after reportedly turning down five years and $50 million from the Bulls last summer, except that he won't get that offer now, he won't have nearly the same opportunity in a backcourt crowded by the arrival of No. 1 pick Derrick Rose, and no team may offer more than the mid-level.
- Williams is probably in some mix of Keyon Dooling, Carlos Arroyo, Juan Dixon and Anthony Carter. We're into temporary solutions here, someone to get the Kings through a season or two, until the actual solution in the next draft, the next trade, the next free-agent period.
- No bridges have been burned based on past behavior and the lack of commitment that frustrated the many teammates that liked him personally. The Kings feel like Williams would be a different person this time, at age 32 and one Heat championship and seven seasons in Miami and Memphis later. History will not be a hindrance
Whether he has the same warm fuzzies for the team and the town is not known. He will have other offers, maybe even some decent ones, so the Kings may need the personal connection to matter if that's the direction they turn. If Udrih is going to have a realistic chance of getting the full mid-level from someone, and he will, J-Thrill won't be going the pauper route two calendar years after starting for a title winner.
His 2007-08 was 8.8 points, 4.6 assists against 1.4 turnovers and 38.4 percent from the field in 28.1 minutes, but also while playing 67 games for the Heat in a season in which all the important pieces around him broke down. Now, Miami wants a fresh start at the point. Williams will probably get his as well, or an familiar old look.