ATLANTA 105, KINGS 100
Ailene Voisin column on trade
The games will matter again at some point, but just not now.
But while the Brad Miller-John Salmons trade was certainly creating plenty of buzz at Arco Arena on Wednesday, it had stiff competition in that department. With one paragraph in a Newsday story, an already-shaky culture inside Arco Arena was jostled even more with the reported revelation that the root of the Maloofs' financial troubles was tied to the Bernard Madoff scandal.
One team that is believed to have asked about (Stephon) Marbury is the Sacramento Kings, a franchise believed to be in serious financial distress because its owners, the Maloof family, lost hundreds of millions in the alleged Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme.
Within hours, that paragraph was removed from the story and all indications are that it was simply a bad mistake. The writer, Alan Hahn, said to me via e-mail that he was contacted by a representative of the Maloofs who informed him that his information was incorrect. I was told from the Kings side that it was Donna Lucas, the Maloof's public relations consultant and spokeswoman who relayed word that the Maloofs claim to have had no connections whatsoever to the scandal. Kings vice president of media relations and basketball operations Troy Hanson said he had spoken to Gavin Maloof about the issue and was told it was simply not true. What's more, a Department of Justice list of victims has no mention of any Maloofs.
But sometime between then and now, Newsday reinserted the paragraph and added an online correction into the story (although the tough part about the Internet is some files never die and I've found multiple copies of that story floating out there that don't have the correction). The info was on a Newsday blog as well, although there is no correction there.
Now normally, this would be no big thing and I would never go out of my way to focus on a mistake that was made. But that bit of non-news caused widespread panic among Maloof employees from top to bottom and had some folks convinced it meant the Kings were going to leave town by next season. And if that doesn't tell you what the mood is like in Kingsland these days, then you're just not following along.
* Miller was nostalgic on his last official day inside Arco Arena, getting emotional in interviews with KHTK and our own Melody Gutierrez. We provided the audio from the radio interview in this post, but below you can hear Miller's chat with Gutierrez (which includes some friendly banter halfway through between Miller and Marty McNeal).
(Pardon the empty space below - it's a coding problem I can't seem to fix)
Since Miller was taking his own trip down memory lane, we may as well too. Heading into the 2007-08 season, Marty assessed the then-current state of Miller's career in fitting fashion. As Marty says in the clip, Miller had a physical revival that helped drastically improve his play. That wasn't the case this year, as the musculature - as Marty described it - wasn't what it had been and neither was his play.
* To those of you who may have been lost in the final minutes of today's trade string, my apologies. I'll have to refine it for tomorrow and down the road, as I peeled off to write the actual story when it was confirmed and left some folks who were looking exclusively at that blog post twisting in the trade winds.
In terms of reflections on the day itself, I'll always remember the anxious hour that led up to breaking the story . I had received word long before the published time of 1:40 p.m. that it was a done deal with the Bulls. But the information simply wasn't concrete enough to report, and it has now become clear what happened. Essentially, the Kings and Bulls had all but wrapped things up when New Jersey made a late push for Miller and Salmons that seems to have stalled matters before the deal with the Bulls finally went down. It went down almost exactly like this excerpt from the today's trade string blog.
* I've been told more about the Chicago-Kings deal and had the pieces confirmed.
It's Salmons and Miller for Nocioni, Gooden, Michael Ruffin (expiring worth $1.1 million) and Cedric Simmons ($1.7 million expiring). And there are indications that it's close to happening.
* Kings PR man Darrin May tells me Salmons is out with the back problem and Brown has a sore left knee.
* It's getting stranger by the minute. I'll say that much.
There are a few conflicting signs out there, but a top source says the Kings are talking to New Jersey about a deal that would send Miller and Salmons to the Nets for hometown boy Ryan Anderson ($1.2 million this season, $1.3 next season with two team options thereafter), Stromile Swift ($6.2 million expiring), Trenton Hassell ($4.3 million this season with $4.3 million next as player option), and Eduardo Najera ($3.4 million this season, $3.1 million in 2009-10, $2.8 million in 2010-11 and $2.6 million in 2011-12).
* Per a comment about Najera's contract, I did more digging and found something interesting.
While he is on the books for $3 million in 2010-11 and $2.7 million in 2011-12, he is only guaranteed $2.5 million and $2.2 million, respectively. That's all he gets if he is waived before June 30, 2010. And there isn't a team option or a player option involved.
* There are indications that the Chicago deal is close to done, and it involves Portland.
Ike Diogu comes to Kings for Ruffin.