NEW ORLEANS - The trade chatter surrounding Brad Miller continues, as well it should.
He's atop the list of most likely Kings next to go, and league sources continue to indicate that the Kings are officially engaged and somewhat motivated on the trade front.
The latest Miller report to pop up comes from ESPN's Marc Stein, who says Charlotte is offering former King Gerald Wallace in return for Miller. While Wallace is available for the right player in return, I'm told from a source close to the Bobcats that Miller does not fit that bill if it's up to Larry Brown.
The Bobcats' coach always has had major influence on personnel from his coaching seat, and he took that job in part because he knew he would have the ear of Charlotte exec Michael Jordan. But the question is whether Jordan's virtual status of "absentee GM," as he was referred to in this Chicago Sun-Times piece, means Brown's voice isn't being heard quite as much by the actual general manager, Rod Higgins. If it's up to Brown, though, he wants a more traditional big who can bang and do damage in the post. On the other side, the Kings aren't looking to take on the $38 million remaining over the next four seasons on Wallace's contract when wing players are far from a problem on their roster.
I'd be more inclined to keep an eye on the Chicago situation in which Miller could go there and the Kings likely would have their eyes on Drew Gooden, Joakim Noah, and perhaps Tyrus Thomas. The Bulls would have to send a few players the Kings' way, as Gooden's expiring deal is worth $7.1 million and Miller is making just shy of $11.4 million this season and $12.2 million in the final year of his deal next season.
A few tidbits to remember ...
* Gooden has been on the Kings' radar since he was hanging with the Maloofs two summers ago. He was the player offered in the Mike Bibby talks with Cleveland, a clear sign that Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie and vice president Wayne Cooper saw him as a decent fit in Sacramento. Gooden wasn't the hangup in those talks.
* Petrie badly wanted Joakim Noah in the 2007 draft, and the second-year player's struggles likely have done nothing to deter the exec who isn't quick to change his opinion of players just because things don't look so good from the outside looking in. Noah would give the Kings another young big to develop and hope he helps with their futile frontcourt.
* While Miller isn't as motivated this season as he was last, he still is a Petrie guy. And when you're a Petrie guy, that means he will try to make a move that is mutually beneficial for his team and the player. Chicago qualifies. While Miller has said he would prefer to retire in his home state of Indiana with the Pacers, he spent two seasons with the Bulls and Chi-town is only a three-hour drive from his home in Kendallville, Ind.
* Lest you forget, the Kings added a player to their front-office team last week, when former Kevin Martin agent and attorney Jason Levien officially began as assistant general manager/team counsel. As a quick side note, I'm told he was given the former office of fired coach Reggie Theus.
It would seem safe to say that the potential for communication between the two clubs has never been better, since just last summer Levien was successfully negotiating Luol Deng's six-year, $71 million deal with the Bulls in which he dealt directly with Chicago owner Jerry Reinsdorf. - Sam Amick