Kings Blog and Q&A

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

November 4, 2009
Udoka signs; Mason in trouble?

A quick bit of perspective on the Kings' signing of Ime Udoka today that my sources with knowledge of the situation say is a non-guaranteed veteran's minimum deal ($1.03 million) for the rest of the season (fully guaranteed on Jan. 10)...

The succession of non-interest to interest can be found on some of my old Twitter feeds, as the Kings went from not inquiring about him after he was surprisingly cut from Portland on Oct. 22 to possibly postponing talks to giving the thumbs down on Oct. 23.

Well something quite relevant has happened between then and now: Desmond Mason averaged 2.3 points on 27.5 percent shooting (11 of 40 overall) in nine games (five preseason, four regular season). While the Mason signing was largely about adding his perimeter defense, there was certainly the hope that his athleticism could translate into some added scoring as it has for most of his career.

That shooting percentage is especially alarming if you could get your hands on a Desmond Mason shot chart, as most of his misses came from close range and he has struggled mightily to finish even the easiest of looks. All of this, I'm being told, doesn't bode well for Mason considering all signs point to the Maloofs preferring not to have a 15-man roster (they have 15 now). And as a reminder, it looked like Andres Nocioni was going to be taking Mason's spot in the starting lineup tonight even before Udoka was added.

I talked with Mason about his struggles after yesterday's practice, and he had this to say.

"I'm just still trying to find my niche and fit in," Mason said. "The ball is going through a lot of guys, so for me it has to be a lot of cutting and offensive rebounds and guarding people and getting to the boards. That's what coach wants me to do, and that's what I'll do. When I get my opportunities, I'll take advantage of them."

For those unfamiliar with Udoka, here's the rundown from the team's release...

"The 6-5, 220-pound guard-forward amassed career averages of 6.0 points (42.8 FG%, 37.4 3FG%, 70.4 FT%), 3.2 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game through 227 games in five seasons with the Lakers (2003-04), New York (2005-06), Portland (2006-07), and San Antonio (2007-08 - 2008-09).

Undrafted after finishing his college career at Portland State, Udoka was signed as a free agent by the Lakers (8/13/03). Before joining the Kings, Udoka was with Portland during the 2009 preseason. His best year, statistically, occurred during 2006-07 when he averaged 8.4 points (46.1 FG%, 40.6 3FG%, 74.2 FT%), 3.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game starting all 75 contests he played in with the Trail Blazers." - Sam Amick

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