Kings Blog and Q&A

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

June 30, 2007
What can Hawes bring to the Kings?

Q: I have been a die-hard Kings fan since the days of Mitch Richmond. I have always had faith in Geoff Petrie's rosters moves, but after Thursday night's draft pick, I don't anymore. What, if anything, can Spencer Hawes bring to the Kings? From what I have read, he can't block shots or rebound, and his defense is weaker than France in both world wars. I can safely say I will not be buying tickets this season.

- Adrian Slade, Rancho Cordova

A: I'm starting to find it ironic that Hawes came into Sacramento espousing his affinity for the Kings' days of old.

Why? Because his new fans agree wholeheartedly, and their longing for something to cheer about in this down time is much of the reason - in my opinion - that so many folks seem angry about the pick.

There was a lot of hope entering Thursday, and it wasn't just from the fans. The Kings were hoping to begin the official roster shakeup, but trades didn't materialize, and draft day ended with an old-fashioned first-round draft pick. For now, that was a whole lot of false hope.

- Sam Amick

June 27, 2007
Hey, Sam, what do you think about Reggie Theus' hiring?

I say give Reggie Theus a chance. Sam, may we have your thoughts on his being hired as Kings coach? Thank you.
--Ron, Woodbridge


Reggie could be a good fit, but I have two problems with what led to his hiring.
1.) The process: Why make such a big deal about the coach being Geoff Petrie’s decision only to have such a strong Maloof influence throughout the process? Both of the coaching searches these last two offseasons have had way too much PR spin for my taste.

2.) The selling points: Only the Maloofs and Petrie know how much stock they put in Theus’ history with the organization, his personal flair and the general marketability of his persona, but they could regret it if there was a heavy premium placed on those assets and Theus’ coaching is suspect. What’s more, there was a strong message that Theus’ two seasons as a head coach separated him from the pack, which makes little sense to me. So Scott Brooks and Brian Shaw have spent numerous seasons on NBA benches under the likes of George Karl and Phil Jackson, respectively, and are in touch with the modern day’s pro game, but Theus running a mid-major program for two seasons despite his last NBA experience taking place 16 years ago is more worthy? Not to mention the added edge Brooks had of having a positive history with this Kings roster. It doesn’t add up.

Reggie, though, has all the confidence in the world that he will flourish in the position, and I do believe he will be able to relate to today’s NBA player in ways Eric Musselman could only dream of. On personality alone, he’s made me a believer in June - we’ll see how things are next April.
-- Sam Amick

June 25, 2007
Martin is key to any big trade

Question: So Reggie Theus -- OK! In Petrie we trust, but there is something on the horizon, namely the "Big Ticket." Why haven't the Kings tried to even talk to Minnesota Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale about acquiring Kevin Garnett in a trade? Better yet, how come the Kings haven't talked to Garnett? We have the pieces to move.
- Alfie, Everett, Wash.

Answer: I haven't heard of specific talks, but you know that every team in the league - the Kings included - have brainstormed about what it would take to land KG. The same goes for Kobe Bryant trade possibilities.
That being said, one thing that's certain with those hypotheticals is that Kevin Martin would have to be involved. When it comes to other teams calling about Kings, Martin wins the popularity contest. And while the Kings love how Martin's game has exploded, they'd have to let him go to land a huge name.
- Sam Amick

June 25, 2007
Great access at summer games

For the extra-fanatical Kings fans or the masses who were left unfulfilled by the 2006-07 campaign, there is a place to start the healing process.

The Sacramento Professional Development League continues tonight at Capital Christian High School, where the word is that three Kings will be playing.

Ron Artest, Francisco Garcia and Justin Williams are scheduled to make an appearance for the 7 p.m. tipoff. Their competition and teammates, per the norm of the SPDL, will be a mix of more-than-capable college talent and the occasional all-star high schooler.

Artest has been playing on any court he can find, it seems, practicing for much of the summer at his old Indiana Pacers practice facility. His family is back
in their Indiana home and -- according to a recent Indianapolis Star story -- that's where Artest wants to retire and spend the rest of his post-NBA days.

That makes two Kings with that aspiration, as Brad Miller has long said the same thing about his home state.

Meanwhile, Price and Williams are preparing for a very important summer league in mid-July. Both players are restricted free agents (the Kings made qualifying offers this week), and their play at summer league could have much to do with their respective futures.

I can't recommend the SPDL game enough, as it's a rare chance to see NBA talent without the NBA price tag. Players are typically very gracious about autographs and pictures, and the whole scene is a mid-summer night's dream for hoops lovers. For more info, go to www.tothehoop.com.
- Sam Amick

June 24, 2007
Bring back 'Coachie!'

Question: Hey, Sam, is there a chance of Reggie Theus bringing back Pete "Coachie" Carrill as an assistant or even as his lead assistant, or is he officially retired? When I hear Reggie looking for a veteran who has been an assistant, with no aspirations to be a head coach, Coachie came to mind since he did spend six years under Rick Adelman. Also, what other names are you hearing Theus might be looking at, or if you could come up with names he might consider?

Michael, Stockton

Answer: I actually spoke to Coachie, as he's called, and he would like to come back but wasn't sure if it would happen. I also heard Ron Artest is pushing for Indiana assistant Chuck Person, who has been working out Artest at the Pacers' practice facility this summer and was with Indiana with Artest. There might be a member of Theus' New Mexico staff coming to join him, and a possibility that Clay Moser - who was an advance scout and assistant for the Kings last season and remains under contract - could be retained.

- Sam Amick

June 16, 2007
What about that draft pick?

Question: Do you know which man the Kings are leaning towards with the upcoming draft pick? Have you heard anything regarding any talks Kings are having in regards to trading Mike Bibby or Ron Artest?

- Julie, Lodi

As for the draft, I get the feeling they'll snatch up Chinese big man Yi Jianlian if he falls that far. He was impressive in his Los Angeles workout on Wednesday. Otherwise, they seem to be very high on University of Washington center Spencer Hawes, Florida State forward Al Thornton and possibly Florida forward Joakim Noah - although he canceled his Friday workout with the Kings. Another unlikely freefall who would be quickly nabbed is Ohio State point guard Michael Conley.

On the trade front, it appears Bibby is more likely to be moved than Ron, but both are available. And in both cases, Kings hoops prez Geoff Petrie will not be had and will be plenty stubborn to get fair value in return.

Cleveland and Dallas remain possibilities for Bibby, and I'd put Miami atop the Artest list. Because of the Maloofs-Rick Adelman history, I just can't see the Kings sending Ron or Mike to Houston just to watch the familiar pieces recreate the success of the 2005-06 Kings team with the help of Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady.

- Sam Amick

June 16, 2007
Problems at the box office?

Question: Have season ticket sales and regular-season tickets plummeted because of last year's losses?

- Julie, Lodi

Answer: I don't know the figures, but I do know it's a concern for the Kings. The sellout streak is definitely in danger, enough so that a small element of the team's coaching search is the perceived box-office appeal - or lack thereof - of certain candidates.

- Sam Amick

June 16, 2007
Let's just hire Larry...

Question: I say we should hire Larry Brown and add Scotty Brooks to the lineup and get it over with. Brooks could learn more with coach Brown. Plus, the team feels good with him around and it will help Brown. What do you think?

- Raul, Fresno

Answer:

Two questions that must be answered...

1) How many years does Larry want? Because your team is in a transition mode and because of Brown's health history, you don't want to get tied to him for too long. I wouldn't be surprised if the Kings tried to convince him to take a one-year deal.

2) How much money does he want?

Considering he's banked some $40 million in the last few years from his Detroit and New York contracts, you've got to figure he gives the Kings a major discount. Plus, they have the leverage since he so desperately wants back in the game and there are only two spots open.

As for Kings assistant Scott Brooks being Larry's guy, that could be a nice mix. I'd assume Kings assistant Brendan O'Connor would be on the staff, too, since he was under Brown in New York previously and maintains a good relationship with him.
-- Sam Amick

June 14, 2007
Did Petrie's scouting trip cost the Kings Van Gundy?

Question: The way the coaching search has been handled has been horrible. If they would of made an offer to Stan Van Gundy (“the guy they coveted and wanted”) just three days earlier, they could have had him. I guess that (Geoff Petrie’s) two-week scouting trip in Europe that delayed our interviews sure was worthwhile, huh?
-- Steve, Roseville

Answer: Petrie said from the beginning that he wasn’t concerned about the delay, which at least tells you one thing: he always planned on taking his time and possibly waiting for certain candidates to become available.
The Kings may have the least desirable job of the bunch when you weigh the roster, lack of salary cap space, and the fact that they’re coming off a 33-win season, so it seems like they had to wait for other teams to fill spots to see who still wanted to come their way. Guys like Van Gundy were always going to consider Sacramento a backup plan.
Maybe the lesson here is that you just can’t open coaching searches to every possible type of candidate. Petrie said from the beginning that the next Kings coach could be a college coach, an NBA assistant, former head coach or even a big name head coach. Maybe it is easier to peg a couple guys you know – from personal knowledge – could work well with the organization and believe could work with your team. That may end up happening in the end if Scott Brooks becomes the man.
-- Sam Amick

June 12, 2007
Is Brooks the Kings' choice or not?

And the search goes on.…
Just when I thought this thing was finally wrapping up, there is reason to believe the Maloofs aren’t as high on Scott Brooks as they led me to believe Monday in Las Vegas. Now based on our conversation, I find it hard to believe that something didn’t happen between then and now to sway their opinions. Heck, maybe they read some of the reader feedback to the story or the Internet chatter this morning, much of which was negative about the prospect of Brooks as the next Kings coach. Or maybe they still think there’s a candidate out there who can not only win games, but sell tickets with some style (Reggie Theus hopes that’s the case). All of a sudden, it’s all quiet again and the idea of other candidates being considered and/or re-interviewed seems likely. Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie is scheduled to be in Los Angeles on Wednesday to watch Chinese phenom Yi Jianlian in a draft workout.
-- Sam Amick

June 12, 2007
Hey, Sam, where are all the Kings' men?

Question: How come the Bee doesn't track player movements during the off season? The fans still want to know what they are up to.
-- Julie, Galt

Answer: We do to a certain extent, but I can oblige as best I can. Kevin Martin has spent the past few weeks in his hometown of Zanesville, Ohio, and is now in Clearwater, Fla., with his personal coach David Thorpe. Mike Bibby has been in Sacramento quite a bit, and was even seen working out at a Gold’s Gym at the same time as Ron Artest, and - get this - former Kings coach Eric Musselman. Bibby has a local basketball camp coming up that I should have more details on soon. Artest, by the way, has traveled from Sacramento to New York and Indiana – even working out at the Pacers’ practice facility. Quincy Douby, I was told, spent some time in his hometown of Coney Island. Brad Miller, as always, is probably fishing and hunting on his property in Kendalville, Ind. Kenny Thomas has been in Sacramento, as has Shareef Abdur-Rahim. And while I don’t know the whereabouts of Francisco Garcia, he’s apparently getting more and more comfortable in the area as he bought a new house. That’s all I can think of for now.
-- Sam Amick

June 4, 2007
Kings coaching search provides entertainment

Who needs a playoff race when the Kings' coaching race is so enthralling?

The process to find a replacement for Eric Musselman might have taken a drastic turn, with the Kings at the end of a domino effect of coaching news.

On Sunday night, reports surfaced that newly crowned Orlando Magic coach Billy Donovan was having second thoughts about leaving Florida. The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Donovan will be let out of his five-year, $27.5 million contract, meaning that suddenly there might be competition for Kings candidate Stan Van Gundy.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel is reporting that Van Gundy is close to being offered the job by the Magic. Van Gundy did not answer a call from The Bee.

It seems like a no-brainer for Van Gundy to go to Orlando, as it's closer to his Miami area home and the roster has much more promise than the Kings'. The former Miami coach, who had his second interview for the Kings position on Saturday in Las Vegas, had expressed his interest in the Magic position not long after Brian Hill was fired, talking about the potential that comes with coaching rising star Dwight Howard and a substantial supporting cast. Van Gundy reportedly also was the only candidate the Magic spoke to besides Donovan, though the team also asked for permission to speak to San Antonio assistant P.J. Carlesimo.

The unexpected turn of events would explain what appeared to be a shifting of gears on the Kings' front, where Van Gundy seemed to be emerging as the front-runner Sunday until the process seemed to stall.

The Kings interviewed Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis for a second time on Sunday as well, and suddenly the word was that it could still be awhile until a decision was made.

The Kings also have had Detroit assistant Terry Porter on their radar from the beginning of the process but have yet to schedule an interview. By this afternoon, the Pistons had not been contacted about Porter.

Relative to possible interviews, Porter told Michigan Live on Sunday, "We'll see. Hopefully I'll have some more news later in the week."

Meanwhile, Kings assistant Scott Brooks quietly waits in Sacramento, his chances improving with every twist and turn.
- Sam Amick

June 3, 2007
Safe to say Bibby-to-Cavs ship has sailed

Postcard from Vegas ...

This is among the most unique jobs I've had since taking on the Kings beat, and I have to admit I didn't plan on following coaching searches in Vegas (otherwise known as wandering around the Palms Casino) two offseasons in a row. Nor, for that matter, did the Kings plan on conducting two such searches.

On a side note, last night's Detroit-Cleveland game had Kings-related subplots beyond the prospect of whether Terry Porter receives an interview. The 31-point night of Cavs rookie point guard Daniel Gibson sparked a memory of a conversation I had with former coach Eric Musselman in February. It was days after the Kings had not pulled the trigger on the heavy trade discussions with Cleveland before the deadline - a deal in which Mike Bibby was offered to Cleveland and, to the best of my knowledge, the only known piece from the Cavs was forward Drew Gooden. I asked Musselman if he thought that deal could be revived during the summer, and he noted that things always can change. For example, he noted, Gibson could develop into a nice little point guard. And if this quote from TNT analyst Doug Collins during last night's telecast is any indication, that's exactly what has happened:

"The guy's becoming a legend," Collins said of Gibson during the outburst in which he hit all five of his three-pointers and was 7 of 9 shooting overall. "Two weeks ago, nobody had even heard of him, and now he's becoming a star."

I'm thinking this might have effectively killed the prospect of sending Bibby to Cleveland, considering the previous premise was that the Cavs needed another big piece to be a serious playoff contender. Even if the Cavs do lose to the Spurs, I'm guessing general manager Danny Ferry would be hesitant to make any major changes to the roster that went to the NBA Finals. I do hear, though, that Miami is not among those teams afraid of taking on Ron Artest. That doesn't mean the heat would be offering enough to satisfy Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie, but Pat Riley is justifiably motivated to add another player of significance to help the 2005-06 champs return to form.

- Sam Amick



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