Kings Blog and Q&A

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

May 30, 2007
Petrie's reputation on the line

Question: Why is Geoff Petrie the teflon man? We blame everybody but him. He assemblies the losing team. What is the reason for his immunity?
-- Desmond Joly, Davis

Answer: The reason is a track record that still has far more success than failure, but this summer is key when it comes to - as you said - his teflon texture. This team is in dire need of revamping, not to mention the importantace of the coaching hire. Adding to the equation is the fact that the Maloofs are less involved than in years past and the future is in Petrie's hands.
-- Sam Amick

Question: Any possibility that the Kings move up in the draft to grab either Brandon Wright or Al Horford in that 3-6 range? Either would fill the Kings' needs admirably and also be the BPA at that pick as well.
-- Jerrel Mills, Louisville, Ky.

Answer: Sure it's possible if, as Geoff Petrie always says, it makes the team better. Getting Horford wouldn't be getting Greg Oden, but it could come with instant impact. The thing with the Kings is they have so many pieces on the roster that they're willing to deal that the possibilities are many.
-- Sam Amick

Question: How about the idea of trading Atlanta's No.3 overall pick for Mike Bibby, and let's get one of the big Gators from Florida? We all know that Atlanta needs a playmaker. This should get their attention.
-- Arnold Cadag, Calamba

Answer: I would think Atlanta would go younger than Bibby and just go ahead and take Michael Conley from Ohio State for a PG. He'll come a bit cheaper than Mike's $28 million for the next two seasons.
-- Sam Amick

May 29, 2007
Don't expect Wallace to return

Question: In the logic that Gerald Wallace would cost more this time around, think of it this way: If we'd have kept him, he'd still be hitting the free agent market, except this time he'd both be able to explore the free agent market and also be a member of the Sacramento Kings. I'd love to see us bring Wallace back, as he's perfect for the defensive, running, athletic style I think most Kings fans want to see.
-- Brad, Rocklin

Answer: I agree that he'd be a great fit, but they just won't be able to afford him. The salary cap isn't there, and Wallace - who is easily among the top five free agents available - will be looking for a mega payday.
-- Sam Amick

Question: I can appreciate Geoff (Petrie) wanting to take his time with finding a coach. But with a handful of coaching vacancies out there, it seems like the bigger names (Stan Van Gundy, Marc Iavaroni, etc.) are interviewing with different teams every day. What's the latest scoop here? I'd hate to see us lose the chance at the best available by moving too slowly. Plus, is Mario Elie on the list?
-- Steve, Roseville

Answer: No word on Mario Elie. And no buzz about John Whisenant, either, for the record.

I see what you're saying about the delay, but I just don't think they're worried about it. Fans shouldn't have to think too hard to come up with a theory as to why they're not worried about it and seem to have decided to wait for the playoffs to end before the search does. Petrie said on KHTK the other day that he wants a coach by mid-June and the last possible day of the NBA Finals is June 20, so that still fits.

I think the presence of Scott Brooks means they're not panicking because they feel he'd be a good fit, and I believe Terry Porter (Detroit assistant with longtime Petrie connections) is a major player in this thing.
-- Sam Amick

Question: Do you think the Kings will trade Mike Bibby and Ron Artest?
-- Ron, Woodbridge

Answer: I'd be surprised if both of them were here next season, but it's a tricky prospect when it comes to trading either one. Artest has the contract ($7 million range) and circumstance (can be a free agent next offseason) to attract teams looking for a potent piece and willing to take a gamble like the Kings did to get him. But that's a small pool of willing negotiators, to be sure. Bibby's deal is just monstrous ($28 million over the next two seasons) and he's coming off a bad season, so that makes it tough to move him, though not impossible.
-- Sam Amick

Question: Spencer Hawes coming to Sacramento according to The Bee's mock draft. I have a huge problem with this. This kid is a clone of Brad Miller! I'm so mad I can't see straight. Last time I checked, Miller was a huge overpaid dissapointment. Centers are suppossed to grab rebounds and block shots. All the passing and shooting touch talk is garbage. We didn't win it all with Vlade (swatting the ball to Horry instead of grabing it) and we didn't even come close with Miller. Dominant inside defenders win championships. Shaq, Duncan and the Wallace boys have the last 10 rings.
-- Jason, Sacramento

Answer: We shall see. It's a bit early to know exactly who Geoff Petrie is honing in on, but I definitely think he's thinking big in more ways than one. Center Roy Hibbert out of Georgetown seemed to be the popular pick until he withdrew, and now it's Hawes' name popping up. From what you're describing, I think you'd better either root like hell for Justin Williams to be re-signed or find a new team to root for. The passing and shooting touch talk, as you described it, is going nowhere.
-- Sam Amick

Question: How about this offer? Mike Bibby, Ron Artest and the No. 10 pick to Atlanta for Josh Smith, the No. 3 pick and No. 11. The Kings then draft Ohio State point guard Michael Conley at No. 3 and, if available, Jeff Green at No. 11.
-- Mark, Elk Grove

Answer: Way too risky for my blood. Chemistry issues or not, you lose two proven players for picks and a player in Smith who - while he had his best season yet - has yet to be anything but a slam dunk sensation and a very good player on a very bad team. And to me, if you depend on the draft to fill certain positions immediately, you limit your ability to take the best player. I'm not saying the Kings need to go get another shooting guard, but they still need some creative freedom in the process.
-- Sam Amick

May 25, 2007
The nature of change for the Kings

When it comes to the Kings' coaching search, progress can be measured in many ways. Take, for example, the symbolic event that happened recently, when the motivational signs that covered the walls of team's practice facility and were the work of former coach Eric Musselman finally came down. And while it's a sign that a regime change is underway, I'll definitely miss the daily sarcasm among media members who - in reference to the sign that hung above the tunnel leading into the locker room - would routinely ask each other "Did you get better today?"

The question of who's next in line to help the Kings improve, though, remains far from being answered. Stan Van Gundy is an even more viable candidate now based on recent circumstance. The former Miami Heat coach turned down the Indiana job, leaving the Kings and Charlotte as teams with which he's interviewed. Then, of course, Orlando fired Brian Hill and Van Gundy's attention turned to the team that's less than a four hours drive from his home.

"It's a good job and not much of a lifestyle adjustment for my family," Van Gundy told the Palm Beach Post.

So far, according to the Post, the Magic officials have yet to contact Van Gundy about the position. I reached Van Gundy by phone on Friday morning, and he said his interest in Sacramento remains strong (specifically, I asked if the interest remained, and he said, "Yes, yes"). He said he is "still talking" with the Kings, and it seems like a second interview will be on the horizon. As for the Kings' side of the process, I'm being told that basketball president Geoff Petrie may contact some of the current candidates by phone over the weekend for follow-up talks. Second interviews, however, likely will take place at the pre-draft camp in Orlando (May 29-June 4).

Talk about a funny scene. So Van Gundy makes the drive to Orlando, where Magic GM Otis Smith and Petrie stare awkwardly at each other to see who gets to sit down with Stan first. Meanwhile, there's an endless line of other coaches trying to get at the two GMs to either put their name in the head-coaching race or drop a resume for any possible assistant jobs. It's a competitive business, and pre-draft camp is the ultimate job fair for coaches.

While only Van Gundy knows what he thinks of the Kings' roster and the basketball situation in Sacramento, he would love the job for off-the-court reasons. The father of four school-aged kids grew up in the Bay Area, attending Alhambra High School in Martinez. His father was a longtime high school coach in the Bay Area and an assistant at Cal State Hayward.

Not that he's the only one with ties to the region.

There's Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis (Cupertino High School, Santa Clara University), Lakers assistant Brian Shaw (Bishop O'Dowd High in Oakland, St. Mary's College in Moraga for two seasons before transferring to UC Santa Barbara), former Kings assistant Elston Turner (living in the Sacramento area for seven years and would rather not uproot), New Mexico State coach Reggie Theus (former Kings player), and Kings assistant Scott Brooks (the Manteca legend).

An aside on Turner: The Houston Chronicle reports that he has, not surprisingly, been contacted by former Kings coach and new Houston coach Rick Adelman regarding a job with the Rockets.

- Sam Amick

May 22, 2007
Porter's stock on the rise

Pardon the blogging delay. And sad as it is to say, there were no mai tais consumed next to island palm trees in the interim, just countless phone calls made and leads followed in the coaching search that is far from over.

As it stands, this whole process of interviewing six candidates is beginning to feel like a waiting game to fill the time before the playoffs end and the Kings can finally talk to assistants whose teams are still alive. Last year, for example, the likes of Phoenix assistant Marc Iavaroni and San Antonio assistant P.J. Carlesimo were supposedly high on the Kingsí list but not high enough to wait for. The Maloofs fell hard for Eric Musselman and basketball prez Geoff Petrie approved the deal before the Suns and Spurs were done playing.

They should both have a chance this time, but itís Detroit assistant Terry Porter whose name Iím hearing above the others at this point. Porter, to review, was part of the Portland team that went to the NBA Finals twice when Petrie was the Blazersí senior vice president of basketball operations. Then, of course, the two-time All-Star followed his 17-year playing career with one season as a Kings assistant (2002-03) before heading to Milwaukee for his first head coaching job.

In his first season, he took a team that wasnít supposed to do much into the playoffs, then did the opposite a year later when the expectations were raised, injuries were a major factor, and the postseason was not to be. Porter was fired soon thereafter. Yet most people within the industry do not understand why he was let go, which only helps his case. His reputation is stellar, his background with Petrie deep.

A couple interesting tidbits from his Wikipedia file Ė Porterís teams failed to make the playoffs just once, the collective record of the four teams he played for is impressive (815-547 in Portland, Minnesota, Miami and San Antonio) and he was never traded. Also, for what itís worth, I understand that Porterís wife, Susie, and Petrieís wife, Anne-Marie, are very close friends.

All appearances are that Scott Brooks still has a legitimate shot. While the relationship with Petrie isnít nearly as deep as is the case with Porter, there is a chemistry there that is valuable and Brooks would likely come cheaper than most if he kept some or all of the assistants who are under contract for next season. The interview process for Brooks, it seems, is a bit more informal than the rest. He had his lunch with Petrie on May 11 in which the job was discussed, and Iím told heíll have a few more similar meetings that Ė all told Ė would count as his comprehensive interview.

Unlike last year, Carlesimo may actually get the phone call he was hoping for this time around as well. As for the first round of interviews, there are two more remaining after former Miami head coach Stan Van Gundy met with Petrie on Monday. Lakers assistant Brian Shaw is today, and former Kings assistant Elston Turner is scheduled for Wednesday.
Ė Sam Amick




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