Lots of Spencer Hawes implications. Brad Miller was a guy he was compared to while playing at the University of Washington -- superior passing skills for a big man, the ability to score from the perimeter, skin color, makes a difference without a lot of athleticism --a guy Hawes in many ways modeled his game after coming into the pros and the guy Hawes was stuck behind for playing time until Wednesday.
Miller was his mentor and friend. But Miller was also the player whose January surge kept Hawes in a reserve role when Hawes obviously should have gotten the minutes in the season that should have made grooming the future the priority.
It had been much better lately: 41, 31, 33, 28 and 43 minutes with Miller sidelined by a strained hip flexor. The season average, though, was 27 per game before tipoff about a half-hour ago, a number that will obviously jump as the Kings finally crossed the bridge to the center/power forward tandem of Hawes and Jason Thompson, rather than continuing to groom Miller for the future.
The pregame Hawes Q-and-A on his new role and his relationship with Miller:
Question: I know that when you first came here that one of the things you were looking forward to was playing with Brad Miller. I'm curious how the relationship went in the time you were together.
Answer: He was always great to me from Day 1. When I got drafted, he called me and pretty much welcomed me. He's been my veteran since I came in the league. On and off the court, I learned a lot of things that I'll carry with me the rest of my career.
Q: What was the biggest?
A: Probably just how to handle yourself and how to handle the game and patience and understanding all the intricacies of it that you don't always think about, especially when you're a young player. Just watching him, how he conducted himself and how he played, he wasn't the most athletic, he wasn't the strongest guy out there, but he just got it done so consistently. There's a lot to be taken from that.
Q: How much of his game do you see in where you want to get and where you are already?
A: Even in college, I was always kind of compared to him. I think I play a little bit more inside. But, definitely, in being a center that's able to pass and shoot, that's where a lot of comparisons come from. Being a center that you can run the offense through is something I hope to develop more and more, like he's proven he can be.
Q: After the trade, what final words did you two share before he took off?
A: He texted me. He said he was going to get traded. He came in, we saw him here for a couple minutes, he said "Good luck." I think it'll be good for him.
Q: Did you say anything about "Get out of here, old man. It's my job now"?
A: Naw, I didn't. Nothing like that. (Laughing)
Q: What about that? Ultimately, it's going to mean more playing time for you.
A: It's kind of been going in that direction as of late. Now it's just another opportunity to make the most of it.
Q: Does it make things easier for you? The fact that even though it's a guy that you like, it's a lot less complicated for you to get playing time now?
A: I think it is and it isn't. That competition always kind of drove me. But it's still a case of, "I've got to keep working and improving and trying to fill that void now that he's gone."
Q: Did you look at him as a mentor?
A: I think definitely. Without a doubt.
Q: He was also the guy that hazed you the hardest as a rookie, right?
A: I wouldn't say hazed. There was nothing that bad. It was just carrying his bags. It wasn't anything that terrible.
Q: Not terrible?
A: He was also the guy that took care of me the most. It came with the territory.
Q: What stands out about how he took care of you?
A: Everything. From going out on the road, being someone to go out to dinner with, hanging out with. Just kind of being a friend.
Join Scott Howard-Cooper and Melody Gutierrez for a live chat to wrap up the Kings and the NBA after the trade deadline, Friday at 11 a.m. at sacbee.com/live.