The Kings have been working the phones today, reaching out to the agents for their own free agents (Marcus Thornton, Samuel Dalembert), representatives for other players and talking with teams about trade possibilities.
Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie spoke with the media today about the Kings prospects in free agency. He said the team has $16-17 million to spend to reach the minimum salary level and another $8-9 million on top of that before the team would be at the salary cap.
That the Kings reached out to Thornton and Dalembert is no surprise. The Kings played their best when Thornton arrived in a trade from New Orleans in February, right around the time Dalembert began to play his best basketball of the season.
So the Kings could re-sign Thornton, Dalembert and still trade players to either upgrade the roster or create future cap space, or as Petrie put it: "Talent for talent or talent for salary cap issues."
You can expect the Kings to be active in pursuing players. The team has been anticipating this offseason, when they knew they'd have more salary cap space than any other team, as its chance to make big improvements and get closer to becoming a competitor in the Western Conference again.
Petrie said the Kings would not use the amnesty clause on any of the current Kings for financial relief. That is no surprise considering the Kings are so far under the cap.
As for bidding on players who are available via the amnesty clause, Petrie is taking the wait-and-see approach.
"I don't know," Petrie said. "I know who they are yet. And the system for how that's going to work hasn't been completely defined yet."
In more news:
*Petrie said Pete Carril would not be on the coaching staff this season. Carril serving as an advisor is still a possibility, but the travel that comes with coaching was too much for the 81 year-old coach.
"Coachie" was already not traveling on all trips last season, skipping the longer, multi-city stops.
*Petrie and coach Paul Westphal both discussed the hiring of Keith Smart as an assistant coach. Both said they were impressed with the job Smart did coaching the Warriors last season even though he was not retained.
"I was really impressed with the job he did last year," Westphal said. "Everyone that talks about him gives him the highest grades for his knowledge, work ethic and as a person."
While some teams weren't committing to hiring assistants during the lockout Westphal said "the commitment based on hiring him was worth it."
Westphal also discussed adding Bobby Jackson to the coaching staff.
"I just think it's a natural progression for him," Westphal said. "He's certainly at the stage of his life where he's ready to move into coaching. He's got the credentials, enthusiasm."
Jackson has worked in the Kings front office the previous two seasons since retiring from the NBA.
Jackson has been around the players and was a teammate of some of them.
"He's just a perfect fit in so many ways," Westphal said. "He does know our players and they respect he could probably still kick their butts."
Westphal's staff lasts season included Mario Elie, Truck Robinson and Otis Hughley and had more defined roles in that Robinson primarily worked with the post players. Only Jim
Eyen returns from last season.
Westphal said the titles aren't necessary this season.
"We'll divide the responsibility in an appropriate way," Westphal said. "All of our coaches can work with everybody."
*Scott Wissel joins the Kings as an advance scout. Wissel last worked for the Los Angeles Clippers. He's also worked for the Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, and Kings.
Wissel replaces Bubba Burrage, who took a job with the Phoenix Suns.
*Petrie said another assistant coach could be added but adding a coach is not imminent.
*The Kings facility will be open to players Thursday but only Francisco Garcia and Hassan Whiteside are in town. Sounds like most players will be begin arriving this weekend and be in Sacramento in time for training camp Dec. 9.