Kings Blog and Q&A

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

April 27, 2007
Is Portland willing to talk?

Question: The team concept seemed to disappear this year, and it seemed like Artest was the main guy who thought he was the go-to guy at the end of the game, but he wasn't very clutch. What do you think of a trade of Artest and Kenny Thomas for Zach Randolph? The Kings could then go after Rashard Lewis or Desmond Mason as the small forward. You gotta love a lineup of Bibby, Martin, Lewis or Mason, Randolph and Miller. I've heard rumors that Portland was shopping Randolph and needs a small forward. Works well for both! (salary-wise too)
-- King This, Walnut Creek

Answer: Not a bad idea, and definitely not a bad lineup. And everyone knows communication between Portland and the Kings has never been a problem. Although while Randolph certainly doesn't have Artest-like baggage, he comes with his own issues and problems away from the floor.
-- Sam Amick

Question: The successor to Eric Mussleman should be Scott Brooks. The team responded to him when he filled in for those two games this past season, and he has the resume for the job. Charles Barkley has stated that he loved playing with Brooks in Philadelphia, and he paid his dues with George Karl in Denver. I played my college ball for Carroll Williams at Santa Clara, and met Scott in the Newport Beach Rec League in the mid '90s. Petrie should give him a shot.
-- John Stege, Aptos

Answer: You're not the only one who thinks highly of Brooks. He has a good reputation, good credentials, and seemed to have a good feel and rapport with the players this season. Of course being the top guy is something altogether different, but he could get a look. Brooks isn't the only Kings assistant waiting to see what's next. The entire coaching staff is in limbo while Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie is scouting in Europe. Petrie said their futures will be determined when he returns, though many - if not all - of them have two-year contracts that will be paid nonetheless.
-- Sam Amick

April 26, 2007
On coaching rumors and theories

With Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie in Europe doing international scouting for two weeks, the coaching search is in its infancy and the buzz is slowly starting. One report had New Mexico State coach and former Kings player Reggie Theus possibly coming as an assistant while Monarchs general manager John Whisenant would be the head coach. The pondered plan, reportedly, was for Theus to take over as head coach in two years. Who knows if the Kings ever talked about that scenario, but they may as well forget about it. According to a source close to Theus, that's a laughable concept. He is a hot name in the coaching ranks and would only jump to the NBA if it was to be a head coach.

The Maloofs are high on Theus, who has interesting ties on many fronts. There's the obvious New Mexico connection, with Theus having won the Maloofs' home state over with his combination of success and style in two years as a coach there. He played at UNLV and had his jersey retired by the Runnin' Rebels, so he has the Vegas territory covered. And he was, of course, a former Kings player.

Yet the Vegas name that might very well be more realistic is Lon Kruger, the current UNLV coach who recently took the Rebels to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1991. Kruger was 69-122 as the Atlanta Hawks head coach from 2000 to 2002 though falling short with that organization is surely excusable and could be seen as a Mulligan.

Overall, Petrie and the Maloofs are definitely planning on taking their time in this process. It makes you wonder if they're all that interested in landing a big name, considering Larry Brown just interviewed in Memphis and who knows if he'll be employed by the time the Kings' search really ramps up.

There has been predictable Rick Carlisle talk since he was fired in Indiana as well, but that’s a bit tricky and likely farfetched. While there are indications that trading Ron Artest will be a priority this offseason, there’s still the chance that you’d be reuniting two men who would probably just as soon never see each other again. Artest was extremely critical of Carlisle on his way out, and the coach had no easy time handling the mercurial forward.
And just to quiet all those Kings fans wondering if their team will be turning back time and bringing Rick Adelman back into town, co-owner Gavin Maloof was quick to kill that theory.

"No," he said when asked if he might put the past aside and bring back the coach who produced eight consecutive playoff berths. "No, he's not (a candidate). It just wouldn't work. We're not interested."

After conducting just three interviews last offseason, one can expect the Kings to have many more this time. Don't be shocked if there isn't a coach named until the June draft is close or even behind us.

-- Sam Amick

April 23, 2007
Bibby's rocky transition

Question: Mike Bibby shouldn't be traded. He started the preseason really good until the thumb injury. Give him this offseason and he will be back in the scoring column of 20 points per game.

- Juan Garcia, Winnemucca, Nev.

Answer: Mike's definitely still a top notch player, and the rocky transition from Adelman to Musselman has me skeptical about how much of the problem was the system and lack of chemistry.

- Sam Amick

April 23, 2007
Musselman's screaming style: Not a winner

Question: I attended the Sacramento at Utah game earlier this season and my seats were in the second deck. I could hear Musselman screaming at the players from where I was sitting. As a player myself, it really takes a toll on you to have a coach yelling down your throat during a game. Do you think that Musselman's coaching style affected the way the Kings played this season?

- Jorie Loomis, Salt Lake City

Answer: I never had a player tell me that, but I've got to think they hated it. I did catch a couple players rolling their eyes and a few barking back if he just wouldn't quit.

- Sam Amick

April 23, 2007
Brad Miller, a niche market center

Question: How much are we paying Brad Miller and when does his contract expire? Because, frankly, the Kings will never contend for a title paying that guy like he is a top player in this league. Nothing personal,but that guy is a huge disappointment. We knew from the start he couldn't play defense or rebound, and now he can't seem to shoot or pass.

- Jason, Sacramento

Answer: Players like Miller are part of a niche market to begin with, with only those teams looking for unconventional big men who can bury a jumper interested. Add in the fact that he's signed through 2010 and has more than $34 million on his contract, and the Kings would be well-advised to get a system back in place that makes the most of Miller.

Rick Adelman did that, and Eric Musselman did not. I always found it puzzling that Musselman spoke more of Miller's three-point shooting ability than he did his passing in the high post, and the misuse of Miller was compounded by his shooting stroke disappearing for much of the season.

- Sam Amick

April 23, 2007
Will Kings go for one who got away?

Question: Who do you see the Kings pursuing this offseason?

- Jason, Placerville

Answer: Unless they put together quite a package for Kevin Garnett, it's less about who they pursue than it is about who might take their pieces and offer something that works in return. Maybe after moving a major piece, they would attack a big name free agent like, hmmm, maybe former Kings draft pick Gerald Wallace? The Maloofs view him as the one who got away, but the price tag would be a bit heftier this time.

- Sam Amick

April 23, 2007
Justin Williams - expect to see him back

Question: Do you see the Kings bringing Justin Williams back and giving him a more vital role next year?

- Kameron Schmid, Roseville

Answer: If I had to guess, I would expect to see Justin back come October. He showed a lot in the last few weeks, and it shouldn't be too tricky to lock him into a deal considering he's still a guy who was in the D-League a few months ago. Then again, I don't think he should have ever been sent there in the first place.

- Sam Amick

April 23, 2007
Leaky beer cups, oh my

Question: Can the following problems please be addressed before next year? Holes in the bottom of the beer cups (you would think for nine bucks a beer that you wouldn't have to worry about holes in the cups), virtually no porta-potties in the parking lot (I understand they want you to hurry up and get inside and buy their holey beers, but please...). For fan appreciation night, can they put section row and seat numbers on the Jumbotron for season ticket holders that don't want to act a fool just to win something? Prison issued vendor uniforms? The list goes on and on.

- Bill Wright, Fair Oaks

Answer: Sounds like problems even a new arena can't fix. Something tells me you wouldn't be so grumpy if this team had won 49 games instead of lost 49.

- Sam Amick

April 23, 2007
If I were King

Question: If it was your choice, who would be on the Kings team next year?

- Emjay, Modesto

Answer: There's a reason it's not my choice, and quite a difference in the paychecks of me and the guy who makes those calls. But here's what's clear: Kevin Martin is a talent you can't let get away, Francisco Garcia has some unique gifts that could really help in a lot of ways, and there is both talent and significant trade value in Mike Bibby and Ron Artest. That's where you start, but one of the most important decisions will be picking a style and identity that was missing this season and putting the personnel in place to make that a reality.

- Sam Amick

April 4, 2007
Letting the reserves play

Question: Just for fun and maybe some insight: Bench Artest, Bibby and Miller for the rest of the season and let some assistant coach take over. The results might surprise us, and I would bet that the team effort and cohesiveness definitely would.
-- Dale Beagley, Salinas

Answer: There was plenty of chatter midway through the season that they may let coach Eric Musselman go and put assistant Scott Brooks at the helm, but that sort of early action obviously never transpired. As for your idea on the players, it's safe to say there's nothing to lose and - by losing - much to gain.
-- Sam Amick

Question: Let's face it. Some very elaborate scenarios would have to take place to get the Kings in the playoffs. Other fans and I are split. They want the Kings to succeed, but they could also be crossing their fingers for the Kings to bomb the rest of the way and get a legitimate shot at the first pick and Greg Oden or Kevin Durant. Will the Kings sink or swim, and what do you think the fans want?
-- Kameron Schmid, Roseville

Answer: I think the fans are already looking to the draft. And truthfully, the players are talking about competing hard from here on out for the sake of the fans, their own huge paychecks and sheer pride. Even they have stopped the playoff talk. Personally, I think the fans would be OK with more losses down the stretch if it was the young guys doing the losing. That switch is already happening, and look for coach Eric Musselman to limit the minutes of the players in his rotation -- especially Mike Bibby, Kevin Martin and, unless he disputes it, Ron Artest.
-- Sam Amick

Question: Do you think the Kings will trade Mike Bibby in the off-season?
-- Ron, Woodbridge

Answer: I think they'll try their best to trade him, but Geoff Petrie is going to push to get as much as possible in a deal. He showed that much when he didn't pull the trigger on a possible deal with Cleveland just before the February trade deadline came and went. I wondered at the time if he may have helped the Kings' cause by showing he was far from desperate to move Bibby, but we won't really know that until the offseason.
-- Sam Amick



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