By Joe Davidson
Now that the dust has settled and the Kings are here for at least one more season, some points of emphasis for the franchise going forward:
* Kings co-owner Joe Maloof insists that at "$26 million under the cap" the team will indeed look for a veteran or two this offseason. The Kings are plenty young. They need a real infusion of veteran leadership. A ball handler would be nice. So would a three-point shooter. A rebounder, anyone? And keep in mind that the available $26 million isn't the lifetime of a contract. Imagine 2-3 contracts that ammount to that total.
* Maloof said it is an absolute priority to re-sign guard Marcus Thornton and center Samuel Dalembert. Thornton won't break the bank. Dalembert will likely attract some suitors and will be costly.
* Former Kings star Chris Webber has been in regular contact with the Maloofs for months, from offering to buy interest of the club to working in management. On TNT on Monday, Webber kept referring to "we" when talking about the Kings, about his involvement with a new arena, about working with Mayor Kevin Johnson. Webber has declined to discuss this further, but Webber talking "we" in regards to the Kings, and being passionate about it shows how far he has come.
He didn't want to come to Sacramento, then fell in love with the place and now appears ready to do anything humanly possible to keep the Kings in the state capital, saying no NBA in Sacramento is similar to no college basketball in North Carolina or Kentucky.
* Maloof rebuffed any notion that Kings ownership was pushed toward relocation in part to perceived negative media coverage, including from The Bee. Those at KHTK 1140, and Grant Napear in particular, have long insisted that The Bee has been a bully in all of this. Said Maloof on the Rise Guys this morning on 1140 with genuine sincerity, "We appreciate The Bee. We think Ailene (Voisin) is great!"
* Side thought: Any notion that The Bee drove the Maloofs any where near a fleet of moving vans ranges from ludicrous to absurd to hilarious. Makes for great radio fodder, sure, but completely off base. If folks believe The Bee was brutal in its coverage over the years with a struggling product on the court, imagine the sharks in the L.A. media market.
* The Maloofs have zero desire to sell the franchise. The family regretted selling the Houston Rockets a generation ago, and they know how hard it is to get back into major sports ownership.
* Now the Kings can prepare for a draft party at Power Balance Pavilion next month. Imagine how odd that would have been had the Kings filed for relocation. Now imagine the surge of enthusiasm if the Kings land the top pick.
* Maloof today, "We're going to turn things around with the Kings. We're going to get better. People will see that."
* Kings assistant coach Mario Ellie has interviewed with the Houston Rockets for their head coaching vacancy. The Rockets parted ways with Rick Adelman at the end of the regular season. The Houston Chronicle has reported that Adelman had touted longtime assistant Elston Turner to succeed him but the franchise wanted to broaden the search. Turner, feeling slighted, declined to interview with the Rockets.
* Long time Kings assistant coach Pete Carril was not going to join the Kings in another city. His chance of a return seems a great deal more likely now.
* Regarding Kings and Power Balance staff, you can sense the collective sighs of relief. From PR staff anchors who had no idea what to believe and expect such as Chris Clark, Devin Blankenship, Darrin May and Darryl Arata , to part-time arena employees who handed out programs, to security staff in the parking lot who braved the elements and franchise uncertainty, to public address announcer Scott Moak, who wasn't sure what he was going to do 41 nights a season....relief and normalcy again.