Ailene Voisin column on Kings' future
Scott Howard-Cooper's Mike Bibby feature
For those of you who simply want the nitty gritty beyond the above coverage, we'll start there...
* A John Salmons trade before Thursday's noon deadline looks likely. The Kings have been in touch with as many as 10 to 12 teams, so interest is high and something probably gets done. Expiring contracts and draft pick(s) would come back in return, as well as the possibility of cash to help pay for some expirings.
* A Brad Miller trade isn't as likely, but it could happen and I recount some relevant anecdotal information about Dallas later in this here blog. And a mini-update on that front: While I added Cleveland to the mix with Miller, it appears that could be somewhat outdated (as in days late) information and they may not be a player anymore.
* I don't see anything close to a blockbuster deal going down for one of the available impact players, but surprises can happen. Bobby Jackson, Jason Thompson, and Spencer Hawes only get traded if something like this does go down.
* Something could happen with a host of other Kings with expiring contracts, from Mikki Moore (quasi-expiring with $2 million guaranteed next year) to Shelden Williams, and Quincy Douby.
OK, now let's talk fine print.
THE TROUBLE WITH TRADE KICKERS
The Kings just made a trade for the purpose of landing a few hundred thousand bucks (Sam Cassell), so go ahead and use that as a measuring stick for their financial stance in trade dealings. That being said, the prospect of trading Salmons and Moore has been complicated by trade kickers in both players' contracts (trade kickers are player bonuses that only get paid if that player is traded).
The added sum on Salmons' deal is $1.9 million, a number that represents 15 percent of the remaining amount of his contract. That number would be approximately $870,000 smaller if Salmons had a player option for 2010-11 instead of an early termination option, but the collective bargaining agreement dictates that ETOs are included for kickers where as player options are not.
While Moore is only guaranteed $2 million for next season, he has a 12.5 percent trade kicker that adds up to approximately $1 million in added cash that must be taken into account. Rest assured, the added cash doesn't make it any easier to get something done here.
THE CUBAN-MILLER LOVEFEST
When I chatted with Mark Cuban during his pregame treadmill workout in Dallas on Feb. 10, I failed to notice the relevance of a friendly chat between the Mavericks owner and Miller. But it may have been more revealing than I'd realized considering Dallas remains in the mix for the center (and for Salmons).
While Miller remained out with a strained left hip flexor, he was going all out on the elliptical machine in the sort of performance that screamed, "Hey Mark, I'm fine, so go ahead and trade for me!" (To be clear, that was a fake quote). There was some good-natured ribbing between the two while they worked out which was followed by their conversation.
Cuban asked Miller how in the world his NBA colleagues let him slip to the second round in the 1998 draft, at which point I reminded Cuban that he wasn't drafted at all. It was clear that Cuban thought highly of Miller's game. We'll see how far that opinion goes when it comes to giving up assets to bring him to town.
MORE, MORE, MORE
* As I sit here watching Houston's Tracy McGrady drop F-bombs on SportsCenter while discussing his decision to undergo microfracture surgery, it's worth noting that the Rockets tried to send him to Sacramento before this news was this official.
The Kings had no interest, but Houston just figured they would ask if Sacramento wouldn't mind up giving up that Kevin Martin guy. The fact that Houston is willing to part with McGrady (who makes $21 million this season and $23 million next season) is no longer a secret.
* The Sam Cassell deal was done for the check, one that was approximately $350,000 when it was all said and done. And while I'd alluded to it maybe being part of something bigger, the candid response is that it was a foreign concept to be covering trades that were really done for that sort of purpose. I get it now, though. Even the Maloofs are - to a certain extent - back to real world realities, and you just don't turn down that kind of cash when you can get it for next to nothing in return. The second-round pick in 2015 is protected through the 55th spot.
* The deal was set up in a way where it just doesn't matter if Cassell comes to Sacramento or not. No physicals required, no reporting required. From the Sacramento side, I've been told there's an outside chance Cassell shows up and plays the wise veteran role. From the Boston/Cassell side, it sounded unlikely. We'll see.
* While Cassell may never come to Sacramento, it would be an odd decision considering he could have stopped the trade if he wanted to.
Because Cassell is playing on his second one-year deal with Boston, he had the same ability to block a deal that Devean George invoked last year in Dallas' Jason Kidd trade with New Jersey that eventually went down. When a player on a one-year deal ended the previous season with the same like Cassell did, they're up for Early Bird or full Larry Bird free agent rights and have to agree to a trade.
* For all the Geoff Petrie phone calls that have been ending with, "No thanks, Geoff" recently, the Kings basketball president had someone say yes last week when the league gave his team salary cap relief for Shareef Abdur-Rahim's contract.
The Kings get the combined $12.8 million off the cap for this season and next, and Petrie said he couldn't have done the Cassell deal if they hadn't been granted that relief.
* Fifteen hours ago, I thought Oklahoma City was emerging as a leading Salmons contender. Now I'm not so sure.
Nonetheless, they still have the necessary expiring contracts (Desmond Mason, $5.3 million) to satisfy one of the Kings' desires, just as they have the available draft picks (three first rounders this June) that could help the Kings in their rebuilding efforts.
What's more, Salmons' productivity and his contract ($5.1 million this season, $5.5 million next with ETO that summer before making $5.8 million in 2010-11) wouldn't drastically affect the Thunder's long-term salary situation.
* There were third-hand indications Tuesday that the Knicks could be open to a deal involving the monstrous expiring contract of exiled point guard Stephon Marbury ($20.8 million). The Kings would be involved if that turns out to be the case.
* A source close to the Mavericks said they would not agree to any package including Kings point guard Beno Udrih, who signed a five-year, $32 million deal last summer. - Sam Amick