Double disclaimer: Kevin Martin is a base-year player, a salary-cap technicality that makes him very difficult to trade, and Sam Amick has indicated, understandably, that Martin is the closest thing to an untouchable on the Kings.
But if Amare Stoudemire really is in play, as the reliable Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports is reporting today, then that has to change the degree of untouchable. At the least, it's the caliber of player that prompts internal conversations in front offices around the league, and the Kings should be having every conversation imaginable anyway.
And if, as the report says, the Suns want a package of young players, preferably a forward, along with draft picks and expiring contracts, that's the Kings. That's exactly the Kings. Of course, that's also what the Kings are looking for in a Brad Miller trade, so this gets tangled.
But the Kings have young forwards: Jason Thompson and Donte Greene.
The Kings have draft picks: their own first-rounder and Houston's first-rounder in June, plus others in later years.
The Kings have expiring contracts: Bobby Jackson, Shelden Williams, Quincy Douby, plus Mikki Moore guaranteed only $2 million next season.
The Kings are not going to risk the pick that at worst may be in the top four and has a good chance to be No. 1. But they could deal it with heavy protections, something along the lines of keeping the selection if it is in the top 10 in 2009 (very, very likely), the top seven in 2010 and the top three in 2011. Or they could deal the first-rounder coming from the Rockets, not terribly attractive but a decent chip.
The Kings have options, in other words, and can have credible discussions with the Suns if they choose.
Including Martin in talks would have to be very, very intriguing for Phoenix. The obvious drawback is that he's a shooting guard and the Suns traded for Jason Richardson in December, but Martin as the young player instead of Thompson, plus expiring contracts, plus a No. 1 would be tough for another team to beat.
Would the Kings do it?
Stoudemire is due huge money --- $15.07 million this season, $16.38 mil next, with the chance to opt out then, and $16.87 mil in 2010-11. If you give up Martin for someone who walks after a season and a half, good luck recovering from that setback. Plus, though a gifted power forward in many ways, Stoudemire has yet to average double-figure rebounds, an obvious area of need for Sacramento.
But he is 26, averaged 25.2 points last season and is at 21 per game in 2008-09 while shooting 53.7 percent. It's the certainty of an electric court presence as opposed to the hope of Thompson. And the Kings have Francisco Garcia and the lottery pick as potential Martin replacements.
Under that scenario, depending on the other pieces thrown in for cap purposes:
PG -- Beno Udrih, Bobby Brown or Jackson.
SG -- Garcia, Douby.
SF -- Salmons, Garcia, Greene.
PF -- Stoudemire, Thompson.
C -- Brad Miller, Spencer Hawes.
That obviously depends on what else happens before the Feb. 19 trade deadline, but the Kings could move into next season with a front line of Hawes, Stoudemire, Thompson and Garcia, and maybe Salmons. There's a lot worse ways to get to the future, if the Kings get to seriously considering Stoudemire.