UTAH 111, KINGS 107
It was like old times at Arco Arena on Friday night even in the ways Kings fans didn't want, beyond the electricity and the fun times and the competitive Kings product on display. They were crying foul again, and with good reason.
I'll leave it up to blogger/superfan Tom Ziller of Sactownroyalty to speak for that contingent, with one addendum to his thoughts as well. It's a rare night when I even acknowledge the zebras' performance as it relates to the Kings because there are always so many other ways in which they could have won a particular game, but the late head-shakers were so puzzling I had to call on an expert. So I inquired with a friend in the officiating ranks, and was told without question that fans like the one who yelled "It's five on eight out there," were well within their right to do so.
There were other factors to consider, including the fact that Beno Udrih was again irrelevant until his relevance was the wrong kind late. Deron Williams rope-a-doped the Kings into thinking he wasn't going to go for the jugular, waited until they re-inserted Udrih midway through the period, and proceeded to blow by him repeatedly in impressive clutch fashion.
On the positive side for the Kings, there was the seize-the-moment fourth quarter from Kevin Martin, who not only drew the questionable charge on his drive with 34 seconds left but who didn't get the call with 18 seconds left when he was bumped by Mehmet Okur on his jumper. There was Jason Thompson, too, continuing to not only compete but to play with the sort of pride and spirit that is so rare on this squad.
But even with the wild finish, the night was all about Webber. And so we give you all the C-Webb you could want, with every reason to keep reading below for the buried lede of this blog.
HORRY TO JOIN THE KINGS? PERHAPS...SORT OF
John Salmons or Brad Miller may very well never play for the San Antonio Spurs, but the mere possibility of how one or the other could get there is worth revealing because of the other name involved.
According to a source close to the Spurs, San Antonio has interest in Salmons or Miller and the only way of landing one of them may be by way of the man who so many Kings fans despise. Horry the Kings-killer is not playing and has shown no signs of coming out of retirement, but he may be the only way San Antonio can land Salmons or Miller. The Spurs, according to the source, are considering which player helps them more and trying to figure out what it would take to bring one of them on board. The big three of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are obviously untouchable, and there aren't a whole lot of intriguing or attractive players or contracts beyond that.
Enter Horry, who would re-sign with San Antonio for this season only in a deal worth (insert necessary $ figure here) and then be traded. He would then be waived by the Kings while chuckling on his way out the door with a huge check in hand, with the Kings also possibly taking back Michael Finley (expiring deal worth $2.5 million) and getting out from underneath a contract (Salmons or Miller) they no longer see as part of the big picture plan. Because Horry played last season, I believe it's within the post-retirement timeframe that this sort of deal would still be allowed by the league. The part where this likely falls apart - if it's ever discussed at all - is the Kings wanting more.
San Antonio doesn't have a first-round pick this year, although they could give up second-round picks for 2009 and/or a future first-rounder. Now because Salmons' deal is worth $5.4 next year (with a player option for 2010-11 worth $5.8) and Miller's expires next year at $12.2 million, it is obviously easier to get to Salmons' number (or within the collective bargaining agreement-mandated 125 percent). The Spurs are just one a number of teams looking at the Kings' roster and pondering the possibilities, but the context and history surrounding this one would make this move far more comical than the rest. - Sam Amick