Kings Blog and Q&A

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

May 31, 2008
Seeing the Shock Jock up close

I had to see for myself.

Ron Artest in studio, unfiltered and more than motivated to become a shock jock in the truest sense. So I spent an offseason Friday night hanging in the KHTK studios, where the Kings small forward once again joined Carmichael Dave and I tried my best to be a fly on the wall. Dave wouldn't let that happen, so I chimed in on occasion and even asked Ron a few questions. To anyone who listened and wondered why I let so many chances for hard-hitting queries come and go, this was not the time or place. This was, after all, Ron and Dave and Dave and Ron and the hilarious reality of an unexpected duo on the Sacramento airwaves. I'll be writing about it soon for the paper, but I had one update to share.

In relation to Artest's potential interview with John Green, Artest said they haven't actually tracked him down yet. He's confident they will, at which time the plan is for Green to fly out to Sacramento and do something in studio. Stay tuned on that. Otherwise, stay tuned to the Ron Artest show.

- Sam Amick

May 30, 2008
Artest to interview brawl instigator?


You thought Ron Artest interviewing Kobe Bryant was interesting? Get this...

As the continuing radio career of the Kings small forward continues, Artest is now hoping to interview the infamous John Green of the 2004 "Malice at the Palace" brawl. The Pistons fan is the one who hurled a plastic cup of beer at Artest as he rested on press row on that Nov. 19 in Detroit, sparking the bolt into the stands and yadda yadda yadda.

You know that story well, but this is something new and so very American if it comes to fruition. Apparently, Green has already been tracked down and appears to be on board with the plan. No date has been set, but the buzz grew enough that Fox's Best Damn Sports Show caught wind of it and wanted Artest to do the interview in their LA studio.

Artest, who has grown so comfortable in the studio of KHTK's Carmichael Dave as his unofficial co-host recently, wants to do it in "his" house and Best Damn may be sending a video crew to capture the magic. Artest interviewed

Kings rookie Spencer Hawes on the air on Thursday, when he revealed the plan to talk to Green and even asked Hawes what he would do if someone threw beer at him while he was on the free throw line. Hawes, who was his quick-witted and comical self throughout, said, "I probably wouldn't go into the stands to go after them. That probably wouldn't be what I'd do. That'd be a tough one."

Artest followed by asking, "What if they came up and put the straw in your head band?" to which Hawes answered, "Who drinks their beer with a straw? I mean, I'm not old enough to drink beer but I've never seen it taken with a straw."

Artest ended it by practically tucking the 20-year-old Hawes into bed, saying "It's 11 o'clock, so turn Blues Clues off and go to bed Spence." As an aside, Jim Rome is now a no-go on Artest's interview schedule for next week.

- Sam Amick

May 29, 2008
Radio Ron-Ron

Ron on radio.jpg

I'm going to start demanding advertising stipends from KHTK's Carmichael Dave, but he's created quite a niche with his continuing Radio Ron-Ron segments.

I believe there have been three appearances now, and the Kings small forward has been begging his way back on the air because he's having such a good time. Go here for Artest talking on nearly any topic you can think of, and enjoy what is a candid peek inside his world. He even analyzes his interview with Kobe Bryant on Fox's Best Damn Sports Show Period and refutes the Lakers star's claim that he would have no trouble taking Artest to the hole at the end of a game.

What's more, Artest is on again tonight around 9 p.m., where he'll interview the one-and-only Spencer Hawes. There's more to come next week, as Ron will put his interviewing skills to the test even more. He is tentatively scheduled to interview ESPN's Marc Stein and Jim Rome. Having already made a recent appearance on Best Damn, he's going on Rome's show next week as well.

I e-mailed Artest about his media endeavors, and he said he's looking to expand his repertoire beyond the hoops and hijinx talk.

"I want to do other sports and other fun things," he wrote.

- Sam Amick

May 27, 2008
Petrie option for 2009-10 exercised

As reported earlier this month, Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie will remain with the team at least two more seasons.

In a release issued this afternoon, the Kings announced that the team option for the 2009-10 campaign has been exercised. Petrie has been in a front-office position with the Kings since 1994.

"We've had the privilege of working with Geoff for the past nine years and consider him to be the best general manager in the NBA," Kings co-owner Joe Maloof said in the statement. "He's respected league-wide for his dedication ot the game, innovation, scouting and diligence. We look forward to our continued work with Geoff as we bring the Kings back to prominence."

- Sam Amick

May 24, 2008
Artest media career continues

As we all know, Ron Artest can grab headlines every day of the week during the season. Now he's doing it in a different way during the offseason.
The Kings small forward has been on a whirlwind tour showcasing his media man skills in the past few weeks, from his radio and TV work during the Monarchs home opener to a three-hour co-hosting spot with KHTK's Carmichael Dave. Now, he's gone national.
Artest sat down with Kobe Bryant on Fox's Best Damn Sports Show for an interview that aired last night. It was quite a session, with Artest showing no hesitation in professing his adulation of the Lakers star.

Tru Warier takes on Kobe
Tru Warier takes on Kobe
- Sam Amick

May 22, 2008
A time for interviews

Ron Artest is at it again.
The Kings small forward who has been doubling as a radio and TV personality of late is scheduled to go on with KHTK's Carmichael Dave again tonight for another round of late-night merriment. This time it will be by phone at around 9:30 p.m., Dave tells me, as Artest is out of town.
Last time, however, it was three hours of studio time that was supposedly pretty rich. Truthfully, I haven't listened yet, but all of the content is readily available here.
On a more serious interview note, Kings assistant Chuck Person departs for Chicago tomorrow to interview for the Bulls' head coaching job. While Person declined to comment on the matter, a team source tells me he will meet with general manager John Paxson over the weekend. He is one of four candidates who will be interviewed this week, with more expected next week in Orlando during pre-draft camp.
The Bulls' job was already a highly-coveted one because of the young and athletic roster, but the job looks even better after Chicago jumped from the No. 9 spot in Tuesday's draft lottery to land the No. 1 pick. Bulls general manager John Paxson, who fired interim coach Jim Boylan on April 17, told the Chicago media that he's taking his time with the coaching search.
"I have nothing to lose," Paxson said. "I want to listen to philosophies. All the guys I have coming in, I've told them I want to know what you're about basketball-wise, how you're going to teach, how you're going to connect and communicate with players. I'm not in a hurry. When I know it's right, it's going to be right."
Person was expected to be considered for the New York Knicks opening before Mike D'Antoni became available and was quickly given the position. - Sam Amick

May 20, 2008
Kings to pick No. 12 in June 26 draft lottery

Margie Parilo was lucky, to be sure. Just not lucky enough.
In the NBA draft lottery in Secaucus N.J. on Tuesday, the Kings season ticket holder who was selected to represent her favorite team in the event watched as the expected outcome of a No. 12 pick indeed transpired. The Kings had a 93.55 percent of picking 12th and a combined chance of 2.54 percent chance of landing in the top three.
The outcome of the top pick was a stunner, as Chicago won it despite finishing with the ninth worst record in the league last season and having entered with a 1.70 percent chance of picking first. The second pick went to Miami, which had the league's worst record and a 25 percent chance of picking No. 1. The third pick went to Minnesota.
At Chris Webber's Center Court restaurant in Natomas, 28 members of the Parilo family joined to cheer their relative on in an event in which Kings co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof covered the tab for the entire clan.
They wore purple t-shirts that read "Margie, Bring us Home - #1." On the back of the shirts, Parilo's lucky number of 3:33 was displayed, with her mother, Jean, explaining that her daughter's life had been strangely full of fortune-filled events that took place at that time or involved the No. 3. The fact that the event didn't take place at the time, Jean agreed, may have been what kept the Kings from being as lucky as their fan. Parilo, though, found her full 15 minutes of fame.
She sat next to Indiana team president Larry Bird and New Jersey Nets partial owner/rapper Jay-Z as the picks were announced on national television, with the musician musing that he wasn't quite as lucky as he had thought.
"I thought I was the luckiest person in the room, but I see there's a luckier person than me," he said with a laugh. - Sam Amick

May 20, 2008
Draft lottery party tonight

Any Kings fans who make a habit out of leaving work early can head on over to Chris Webber's Center Court restaurant in Natomas (3600 N. Freeway Blvd.) for a 4:30 p.m. draft lottery party.
Kings director of player personnel and color analyst Jerry Reynolds will be on hand to take questions from fans, and he'll be joined by the team's mascot (Slamson), members of the Sacramento Kings dance team, and fans and friends and family of the luckiest fan - Margie Parilo.
Parilo, to review, won the luckiest season ticket holder contest and has traveled to Secaucus, N.J. for the actual event. And not to be the party pooper, but here's the hard data on how unlikely it is that the Kings will be moving up. They have a 93.55 percent chance of selecting No. 12 overall, a 1.01 percent chance of picking third, a 0.83 percent chance of picking second, and a 0.70 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick. To round it out, they also have a 3.89 percent chance of dropping to No. 13 and a 0.02 percent chance of picking fourteenth. - Sam Amick

May 16, 2008
Final thoughts before the weekend

* As it turns out, Ron Artest's media work during Saturday's Monarchs game at Arco Arena will be TV and radio. I'm told he'll do color commentary on the radio and be on TV during the second quarter. And remember, Artest is on with KHTK's Carmichael Dave tonight around 9 p.m., which should be excellent. Dave had Ron in last year and the session was top-notch, with a great mix of hoops and hilarity that Artest enjoyed so much he stayed for an hour and a half.

* Atlanta is talking to candidates for its vacant general manager position. This story, oddly enough, relates to the Kings in a small way. To see how, be sure and check out (or click, rather) tomorrow's paper.

* Get to know this web site well. For those of you who spend so much of the summer starved for hoops, this pro league at Capital Christian High in June is a must-see.

* Another reminder: A Q&A with Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie will come out on Sunday. While the print version will be a "best-of" edited style, the online edition is more than twice as long.

* We have a blog software update this weekend, so this blogosphere will be out of commission at least until Monday. This being the "off"season, contributions thereafter will remain intermittent. - Sam Amick

May 16, 2008
Artest: "We have not talked about opting out at all"

In an e-mail to the Bee late Thursday night, Ron Artest sounded like a man who plans on being in Sacramento next season.
The Kings small forward has until June 30 to exercise the early termination option in his contract and become a free agent. As of now, however, he said the option is hardly being considered at all.
"My agent (Mark Stevens) is on a business trip," Artest wrote. "We have not talked about opting out at all. The playoffs just got me thinking that if me and kev (Martin) (played) the majority (of last season) and mike (Bibby) doesnt miss all those games, we could have piled on 12 or 18 more wins. That would have put us at 56 wins and that is still a failure."
Artest, of course, deemed last season a failure and has taken the general stance that anything less than a championship is a lost cause. On a non-basketball note, he said he's spending part of the offseason organizing a substantial effort to provide scholarships for high school and college students.
"Right now my manager and I are gearing for my excel university foundation," he wrote. "We are preparing a large amount of scholarships for high school and college students. This is very exciting being able to help kids and teens."
Artest is scheduled to be in studio with KHTK's Carmichael Dave on Friday night beginning around 9 p.m. And as a friendly reminder, Artest is believed to be moonlighting as a sideline TV reporter for Saturday's Monarchs regular season opener at home against San Antonio. By the sound of it, it won't be his last appearance at Arco Arena. - Sam Amick

May 15, 2008
Tidbit time...

* In reference to yesterday's post about Rick Carlisle, there were two thoughts I decided to share after the fact.
First of all, it's becoming apparent that Carlisle really wants to coach Ron Artest. I say this because when the Kings were looking for a coach last summer, Carlisle (or his representative, not sure which) called to express his interest in the position. Carlisle was clearly eager even back then to coach a team that would have Artest on board for at least one more season. That's not to say the Kings thought it was a great idea, considering part of Artest's displeasure in Indiana and his trade demand were related to his then-coach. Nonetheless, it's noteworthy that Carlisle appears to be taking this pro-Artest stance years later.
And as one reader wisely commented in the previous post, tampering could be an issue here and I'd bet money that he's already heard from the league office. It's not every day you hear coaches talk about another team's player like that. While Artest can be a free agent soon, he's still the property of the Kings.

* I was told that Cal's Ryan Anderson (an Oak Ridge High product from El Dorado Hills) will be working out with the Kings.
The big man has a lot of Spencer Hawes in his game and is in the process of gauging his draft position. Because he hasn't hired an agent, he can still return to school for his junior season and just might do so if he can't get a first-round promise.
The Kings, who will likely stay at No. 12 for the June 26 day in New York, have two second-round picks with which they'd love to pick up a first-round type talent like Anderson. That, however, is exactly what Anderson doesn't want. Or who knows, maybe he's the shock of the first round at the No. 12 spot after a wondrous workout?
As for other names to watch out for in relation to the Kings and who may be there at that spot: Italian small forward Danilo Gallinari, UCLA center Kevin Love, Texas A&M center DeAndre Jordan, and point guards who won't likely fall that far in D.J. Augustin (Texas) and Russell Westbrook (UCLA). A sleeper-type to watch in general is Nevada big man JaVale McGee. The only potential emphasis in terms of hoped-for types will be athletic big men. That, of course, could mean nothing at all since the talent vs. need debate often goes to the former when the talent is too good to pass up. Somehow moving up in the draft, however unlikely, is a real objective as well.
Lastly, CBS College Sports recently reported that Cal State Fullerton's Josh Akognon would work out with the Kings . The guard is considered a fringe second-rounder. And as I learned by way of this video , there is a Quincy Douby connection here.

* I saw some chatter online about the mysterious figure that is Ron Artest's 2008-09 salary. I'll keep trying to clear this up, but it is absolutely $7.4 million for next season.

* With the disclaimer that plans can always change at newspapers, we are planning on publishing a Q&A with Geoff Petrie on Sunday. I had lunch with the Kings basketball president on Wednesday, and he touches on a variety of offseason issues and looks back at the first season under coach Reggie Theus. - Sam Amick

May 14, 2008
Ron-Ron to Dallas?

The future of the Kings depends on the future of Ron Artest.
That has been true for a while now. Will he stay or will he go? If he stays, will he be traded and if so can the Kings get fair value in return in the form of a core player to go forward with? Or, perhaps, would the Kings look to lock him up with a new deal and make him one of those core pieces? And if he goes (as in opts out of his contract by June 30), then how will they go about building the new core?
While Artest's future remains unknown, it was made clear this week that they could have a potential trade partner in Dallas. In a Dallas debut interview on the local ESPN affiliate (Galloway and Co. show), new Mavericks coach and former Indiana coach Rick Carlisle gave a Marv Albert-like "Yes!" when asked if he would coach the 28-year-old Artest again (for the whole interview, read here and here).

"Of course," Carlisle said when asked if he would coach his former player again. "This guy is one of the real difference-makers that we have in this league. He's had one all-star year; that's when he played for me. I've had a chance to reconnect with Ronnie a couple times over the last couple of years. I love him and I love his family, so yeah. This guy was one of the most physical, intimidating players that I've ever seen at the small forward position, so he'd be a player that any team would want to have."

The Mavs, of course, just so happen to have a talented 28-year-old small forward of their own who could fit quite nicely in a Kings uniform. Josh Howard, who has two years and approximately $20 million left on his deal with a team option for a third season, is coming off a horrendous season-ending series against New Orleans that also included his admission as a pot-smoker.
The decision to share that personal info on a radio interview in the thick of the playoffs led to no love lost from his bosses and much speculation that he could be on the trading block. Yet even on the purely-basketball front, the Mavs will be looking to mix up their roster and adding Artest's toughness and two-way abilities (with his final season worth $7.4 million) could be quite an upgrade. As for the Kings side of this potential trade (which would have to include some fill-in pieces), Howard would qualify as a significant upgrade from the sort of offers they've received to this point.
If Artest doesn't opt out, the Kings can trade him starting in July. If he does opt out, then he could obviously sign with Dallas as a free agent. As for what he might do, I've been polling people within the organization and around the league for the last week or so and the consensus remains that there is no consensus. Strangely, one of the few indicators could involve the Monarchs.
When the local WNBA squad takes the Arco Arena floor on Saturday for its season-opener against San Antonio, I've been told that Artest may be doing sideline work as a TV reporter. He'll analyze, maybe even drop a "back to you" in there somewhere and hopefully bring the same unpredictable element to his media work that is always there with his real day job. The possible relevance of this is that I can't see Artest engaging in this kind of Maloof-related hijinx if he had one foot out the Sacramento door.
As for any official change on his public stance, the last word from Artest and his agent, Mark Stevens, is that he is "not likely" to opt out. I called Stevens multiple times last week as well to see if that was still the case and didn't hear back from him, for what it's worth. - Sam Amick

May 9, 2008
Progress in Cal Expo dealings

The below release was put out this afternoon. Hence, the eerie quiet surrounding the potential Cal Expo arena dealings is no more. For our story on the matter, read here.

Former California Governor Pete Wilson and NBA Commissioner David Stern
Issue Joint Statement

Negotiating teams for the NBA and Cal Expo have been engaged in complex and fruitful negotiations for the past four months and have now crafted a joint approach to reach the next phase in the proposed development of a joint NBA arena and state exposition and fair grounds. The negotiating teams have agreed to a Letter of Understanding (LOU) that details actions to be taken by both parties for the next 180 days.

It is our hope and expectation that together, both parties will develop a Request for Proposal (RFP) to developers with the intent of creating a world-class entertainment and exposition destination. Individually and combined, Cal Expo and the NBA have engaged in hundreds of conversations with individuals, community groups, fans, and state and local officials about what type of facility would best serve the needs of the community, state fair exhibitors and participants, basketball fans and the NBA. Through our negotiations and analysis, we believe a project can be developed and we think now is the time to move to the next phase and develop a definitive agreement for the implementation of a joint project.

In the next 180 days, Cal Expo and the NBA have committed to jointly and exclusively develop and release an RFP, meet with qualified developers and work with local and state officials to address the numerous environmental, traffic and land-use issues that are part of a comprehensive and world-class development project.

Cal Expo and the NBA recognize the historic opportunity before us.

Cal Expo and the NBA both are operating in facilities that are beyond standard useful life spans. Both facilities require significant expenditures to sustain facilities that do not serve their patrons well and currently do not maximize entertainment and economic opportunities for the greater Sacramento area. - Sam Amick

May 5, 2008
Random thoughts from the MIA beat writer

So the Q&A box that hasn't been answered in some time is supposed to be for Kings queries, but a popular question seems to be the one asking why I've disappeared.
The conspiracy theory that I went into hiding because of the end-of-season radio saga is way off. That's old news - no bad blood or reason to stay in that moment. Quite simply, this is the time when beat writers get their days off back.
There is no such thing during the season as off days, but I will be chiming in occasionally and get some offseason updates going here in the near future. While so many beat writers' seasons are extended by the playoffs, this is the first time since I took over full time in 2005 that a coaching search hasn't taken up much of the summer. I almost wanted to take a trip to Vegas just for the sake of nostalgia, to relive all those last-minute trips to Sin City to report on various coaching interviews.
Otherwise, I don't have much to offer at the moment. But here are a few random thoughts/updates from the last few weeks you may find interesting or entertaining...

* So much for Training Camp in Paradise 2008. While Kings co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof had planned on holding training camp in Maui in October, I've been told the plan is off. I was rooting for Natomas all along anyway...

* When it was announced that Ron Artest had surgery on his thumb on April 24, I reached out to the Kings small forward via e-mail. His response was a bit belated, but here's Ron-Ron's reaction to getting the procedure done.
"It's all fixed up," he wrote. "My doctor is excellent and I will be back full force for next season."
And for those who didn't notice, the Denver team that could have traded for him in February but didn't was swept by the Lakers in the first round. Our own Scott Howard-Cooper was the latest to analyze the insanity of that decision.

* So Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni has permission to speak with other teams about their vacancies. This question has been bouncing around my noggin: With a coach of that kind of prominence, how many teams who still have coaches would be tempted to chat with D'Antoni and perhaps make a move?

* The Kings are well into their contest to decide the Luckiest Fan who will go the draft lottery in New York City on May 26 as a guest of the team. Let your voice be heard here in what is a very fun and fan-friendly idea. Kudos to the Maloofs for this one. If you're short on time or just don't want to watch all 12 videos, be sure and check out Paul from Yuba City. Wow dude. Wow. Represent. - Sam Amick

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