In an interview on Sunday afternoon, Kings co-owner Joe Maloof opened up about a variety of Kings topics. And while his thoughts have already been shared regarding the playing time for the team's youngest players , tonight's second return of Rick Adelman, the future of Ron Artest, and even the team's plan to hold training camp in Maui next season, there was much more on his mind. In the interest of full disclosure, this is not a normal Q&A in terms of style. The questions are no longer in chronological order, since some of Joe's comments have already been published. And in some cases, it was more logical to simply provide the reader with the topic at hand instead of the actual question.
Question: Thereís been some buzz from fans on the Internet about you guys possibly having new jerseys next season. Is that true?
Answer: "I donít know if itís for next year. It could be. Either next year or the year after, we get a different design on the away jersey. I think they are coming up this next year. I believe so. It's just some subtle changes, but theyíre really nice.
"It takes two to three years (to petition the league and plan the change). First they have to get the design. You tell them you want to change and the NBA takes back different ideas. They design different jerseys and bring them back to you and you choose the one you like. Itís a two to four year process.
We want to continually update them and keep them fresh and get some new ideas. Geoff (Petrie) and the players usually discuss what kind of cut they want Ė a V-neck or a rounded neck, and all those different cuts with the jersey themselves."
On the importance of playing all of the young players and the role first-year Kings coach Reggie Theus plays...
"Heís got to evaluate his players now. Heís done a good job. Heís a rookie coach. Heís had his ups and down. Heís got to continue to work hard like he does, and try to develop this team for the future. Thatís how I look at it....
"Look how Spence (Hawes) has developed. In my mind, we may have had the steal of the draft. He plays above the rim. Heís always the first guy down the court. Heís not slow. Heís very fast. He has a lot of speed. Heís been terrific."
On the desire to bring in a big man's coach this summer to develop the young big men...
"What Gavin (Maloof) and I want to do and Geoff is to try to bring a big manís coach to help (Hawes) and Shelden (Williams). Weíve got to see what Shelden can do too. Weíve got a lot of hope for Shelden as well. But itís hard for a first-year coach to get a grasp of what he needs to do as far as playing the vets and the young guys. Itís a tough situation for any coach.
"We need some help in the coaching area as far as our big men. We really need that to strengthen that part of our coaching staff. Thatís what I think will be our first priority (in the offseason). When you have a 19-year-old kid who's seven foot and still growing, and youíve got great vets like Brad (Miller) and Mikki (Moore) and a young kid like Shelden. Thereís some talent there, but I think a big manís coach who can really develop those two young players could really help."
On how he views Quincy Douby and the question of what role he could play...
"The way the league is going, a one (point guard) can be a two (shooting guard), a two can be a one. They kind of blend into each other. Not everything is so defined anymore in the NBA. Heís a point guard, heís a two. Look at Ron (Artest) Ė he can play the two, three (small forward), and four (power forward). Kevin (Martin) can play the three or the two. Quincy can play the two or the one.
"You have to be flexible. Your coaching staff has to be flexible. Theyíve got to know that if you donít necessariliy have a point guard, youíve got to work different scenarios to get the young guys in there that you need to look at.
At the end of the season, we'll have to sit back and we have to say to ourselves, ĎWhat was accomplished this year?í And go from thereÖ"
Question: I know the season isn't over just yet, but what - in your eyes - has been accomplished this year?
Answer: "I feel that we can compete with the elite teams because weíve proven that. We can beat the elite teams. I see a lot of promise in that, but I see a lot of disappointment in losing to the bottom 10 teams the way we have. That doesnít make sense to me.
"Thatís the nature of the league, and thatís been the nature of our season is weíve played really well against the great teams Ė and in fact beaten almost all of the elite teams, which Iím very proud of. And then I think the development of Spence Hawes has been a very big bright spot. Heís got a long ways to go. We know that.
"But the promise and the skill. And if he works hard, if he dedicates himself, heís really going to be a terrific player. I donít want to put too much pressure on him, but I just think that if he gets the right big manís coach and they work with him, that he will really develop into something that in the future that is really going to be good for our franchise."
Question: On another note, there was some buzz among Kings fans about an appearance youíd made recently on the Jim Rome show in which you expressed some desire to extend Ron this summer. Was that the case?
Answer: "I think this. I think that of course itís going to be up to Ron whatever he wants to do this summer, whether he opts out or stays with us. But if he continues to play as terrific as heís played this year, itís all up to him. If he plays great this year and decides not to opt out and has another terrific year, then sure weíre going to look at signing him. Sure, absolutely.
"Itís up to him, though, really. Itís up to him. The ballís in his court. If he just continues to do what heís doing now Ė all the guys like him in the locker room, he brings such an intensity to the game. Itís up to him."
Question: How much concern, if any, have you had regarding some of the other situations regarding Ron this season? Heís a little notorious for not letting the coaching staff know until late on game days if he can play or not, and is always keeping it interesting in some way.
Answer: "Well we want him to play every game because thatís how good he is. And when he doesnít play, it hurts because he is so good and we do need his leadership. At the end of the games, heís made some plays this year that are astounding. So, yes, we do want him to play, but if he has something (physically) thatís bothering him and he doesnít feel comfortable, then we understand. We understand that. Itís a long, long season. You get beat up. Itís a tough season and there are going to be players who at times have got some nicks. Itís OK. It doesnít bother us."
Question: Is re-signing Beno Udrih a priority this summer?
Answer: "Weíve got to try to sign Beno. Weíve been good for him and heís definitely been good for our franchise, so thatís a priority. Hopefully Ron will be around and doesnít opt out. Then youíre starting to really get a group of guys that have now been together a little while.
"The good thing about the Mike Bibby trade is that it opened the way for Beno. Mikeís doing terrific in Atlanta, so itís been good for him and itís been good for us because now weíve had an opportunity to look at one of our young players, and heís really come in and stepped up and done the job. Weíve got to try to keep Beno if we can."
Question: As far as Ron goes, would you agree that his situation is almost the same as it was before if he doesn't opt out. As you guys always say, youíll listen to any trade proposal that is out there (next season) that might improve your squad and so Iíve got to assume youíll look at that regarding Ron.
Answer: "Well, you have to look at everything in the NBA. Itís a business. He understands that. All the players understand it. Thatís the toughest part of owning a team. Itís hard to get involved in those things but thatís the way it is. But the guy (who they might get for Artest) has really got to be a good player. He has to be a really great player to trade Artest." - Sam Amick