Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

February 6, 2009
Opening tip: The Chris Webber trade four years later

Jazz (28-22) at Kings (11-39)

Scoring: Kings 13th (99.0), Jazz eighth (102.3).
Shooting: Kings tied for 25th (44.3 percent), Jazz fourth (47.6).
Scoring defense: Kings 29th (108.8), Jazz 14th (99.3).
Shooting defense: Kings 30th (48.1 percent), Jazz tied for 17th (45.8).
Rebound differential: Kings 29th (minus-4.8), Jazz eighth (plus-1.5).

The links: Jazz coverage in the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News.
The almanac: On this date in 1970, Cleveland, Portland and Buffalo were granted franchises. The Buffalo Braves later became the San Diego, then the Los Angeles Clippers.

__________

All hail Chris Webber. It's his night, and deservedly so. At some point, the Kings business side will stop using 2002 as the primary marketing tool (second place: the dance team), but this isn't that point and anything that distracts from the moment works for the people with little about 2009 to promote.


OK, then. Backwards.

Webber, Matt Barnes and Michael Bradley were traded to the 76ers on Feb. 23, 2005, for Kenny Thomas, Corliss Williamson and Brian Skinner. Talk about a blockbuster that wasn't.

Thomas is the only who remains in place nearly four years later, and you'd have a hard time proving he actually is still on the Kings. Thomas, Barnes and Skinner are the only ones still in the league, Barnes with the Suns as his third stop since Sacramento and Skinner with the Clippers as his fourth team since the trade.

The trade won't be officially off the books until Thomas' regrettable-for-all time here is done, maybe as soon as before the Feb. 19 trade deadline in the preferred Kings outcome, maybe in the summer when he becomes an expiring contract, maybe next season, maybe July 1, 2010, as he departs as a free agent. But it won't take a final transaction to rate the impact of the departure of the greatest player of the Sacramento era.

It's a zero. Basically no on-court impact.

Impossible to have imagined at the time, but true.

There was an obvious financial benefit for the Kings -- for all the teeth gnashing among fans regarding Thomas' spot on the payroll, his salary for five full seasons in Sacramento, if he completes the deal here, is $38.5 million, compared to the three seasons and $62 million Webber had coming. The 76ers ended up giving him a reported $36 million-$38 million in January 2007 just for the buyout that ended the contract and made him a free agent.

The others were mostly salary-cap ballast. In actual games played with their new team:

*Webber: 114 games, one full season and parts of two others in Philadelphia. (The one full season, 2005-06, was worth 20.2 points and 9.9 rebounds). That's some measurable impact, but nothing compared to what the Sixers wanted.

*Barnes: Zero games in Philly. (Though, after leaving as a free agent, signed again the next season and played for the 76ers then.)

*Bradley: 48 games in Philly.

*Thomas: 199 games in Sacramento (with the possibility of more).

*Williamson: 129 games in Sac.

*Skinner: 25 games in Sac.

One other Thomas consideration, a sidebar to the discussion of the moment: Torch the guy if you will, but he has carried himself very well in a difficult situation when others would have advertised their frustration and anger on a daily basis. K9 has not been anything close to a problem.



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