When I walked into a sullen visitor's locker room in Boston on Jan. 28, the objective of the night was to chat with Brad Miller and John Salmons about whether or not they wanted out of this mess.
So they talked candidly about the notion of being traded, and the story of the night began and ended with them. But as I tried to outline in today's story, the possibilities for trades are nearly endless as the Feb. 19 deadline looms. And truth be told, the reality is that this is only the tip of the iceberg. The biggest misnomer among some fans about trade talks is that they are so formal and infrequent that media types will be tipped off when GMs are wheeling and dealing. But one non-Kings GM told me on the recent road trip that he had literally inquired about every player on the Kings roster, and so you get the idea.
The deadline matters not only to the fans who want their team to improve, but to the players who are so clearly in a funk waiting for something to happen. That's not to say the prospect of being traded is why the Kings continue to play poorly, but you can safely say that they frequently chat about who might end up where (and, yes, quite a few wouldn't mind being among the departed) and wonder what will go down. When the deadline comes and goes and the roster is either the same or changed, I wonder if there might not be a sign of life on the floor if only because the uncertainty is gone. At that point the immediate road ahead is pretty clear: 27 games and no reason to continue getting embarrassed unless you simply don't have any pride.
As an addendum to today's piece, the Jerry Stackhouse contract that could be part of a Beno Udrih deal with Dallas is more attractive than I'd let on. While he does have $14.3 million combined on his deal for this season and next, he has only $2 million guaranteed for 2009-10. One other follow-up is in regards to talks for Brad Miller and Kenny Thomas to Miami and Shawn Marion to Sac - yes, I'm still under the impression that the Heat is demanding the Kings take back Marcus Banks. The point guard has two years and approximately $9.1 million left on his contract, which is why the Kings are hesitant to take him on as it would eat into their precious salary cap space for the 2010-11 season (when he'll make $4.7 million).
THE WORD FROM ON HIGH
In perusing the Internet and listening to local radio (aka Mike Lamb yesterday), I've noticed a growing sentiment that the people most responsible for the state of the Kings are keeping quiet.
But that's just not true, as Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie and Kings co-owner Joe Maloof talked candidly last week. So just in case some folks missed those stories, here they are below.
- Sam Amick