Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

June 29, 2011
Catching up with John Salmons

I just filed a story on John Salmons for tomorrow's newspaper. Some quick hits from our conversation:

*Being traded back to Sacramento was the biggest "shock" of being traded. Salmons had planned to be in Milwaukee to workout and had spoken with Milwaukee general manager John Hammond days before the draft and hadn't been told of a possible deal.

*Salmons said his understanding of the game has improved since he last played for the Kings. When he joined the Kings after four seasons in Philadelphia, he hadn't played major minutes. Sacramento gave him the chance to do that. After being traded, Salmons was able to play in playoff games as a main player. The Bulls definitely could have used him in the playoffs this year.

*Looking back on his previous stint with the Kings, Salmons said that group might have underachieved considering the talent.

*Salmons said defense, creating his shot and making open threes are his strengths - and that's exactly what the Kings have wanted from their small forward and haven't gotten consistently. That the opponents will have to respect Salmons' scoring should be a big help.

*As I looked at Salmons' statistics, I didn't realize he'd been such a good scorer in his last two playoff appearances. He averaged 18.1 points for Chicago in 2009, 17 points for Milwaukee in 2010.

So you can go ahead and write in Salmons as the starting small forward for next season when it begins.

From what I was told last week by some insiders, the Kings wanted Salmons back for some time. If that's the case, the Kings got who they wanted and we can watch how it unfolds.

I know waiting around for someone like Tayshaun Prince was something some fans wanted, but what-if Prince's hometown Los Angeles Clippers make a serious run at him? Could the Kings expect to persuade Prince to come to Sacramento (at a reasonable salary) in that case?

There was also the Richard Jefferson scenario. That was exciting because if Jefferson were to be dealt to the Kings, that meant Tony Parker was on the way, too.

Sounds great, but remember the Kings have between $28-29 million available to spend based on last year's salary cap as of now. Taking on Salmons (a little more than $24 million over three years) in exchange for Beno Udrih makes more sense for a team trying to save money.

Jefferson is due 19,446,000 over the next two seasons with a player option worth a little more than $11 million. Tony Parker signed an extension last season for four years worth $50 million.

Did I mention the Kings are trying to spend wisely?

That's a lot of money for two players for a team that still needs to re-sign Marcus Thornton and re-sign Samuel Dalembert or sign his replacement.

The Kings do plan to be active in free agency and via trades once free agency starts (which looks more and more like after a lockout) but don't expect the Kings to spend every dollar they have available, especially if a shortened season cuts into possible revenue.

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