Kings Blog and Q&A

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

March 31, 2009
Overtime: Heartbreak hangover

NEW ORLEANS 111, KINGS 110

Game story, Game notes

Box score, Video recap

***
Spencer Hawes talks about the defensive breakdown that resulted in the loss:

Jason Thompson said it's a shame the game came down to a final play:

Kings coach Kenny Natt said he saw a lot of encouraging things in Tuesday's game:

March 31, 2009
Opening tip: Natt's situation isn't simple, even if he is

Kings (16-56) vs. New Orleans (45-27)

Scoring: Kings 13th (100.26), Hornets 25th (95.75)
Shooting: Kings 23rd (44.9 percent), Hornets 17th (45.5)
Scoring defense: Kings 29th (108.59), Hornets 4th (93.44)
Shooting defense: Kings 29th (48.2 percent), Hornets 6th (44.8)
Rebound differential: Kings 29th (minus-4.94), Hornets 17th (plus-0.36)

The link: Hornets coverage in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Kings coverage in The Bee (Voisin's 'Divac's Greatest Hits,' Kings notes).

The almanac: On this date in 1982, the NBA and the Players Association reached a four-year agreement that included a revenue-sharing plan, the first of its kind in team sports. Players received 53 percent of revenues starting the 1984-85 seasons in return for minimum and maximum payrolls. On this date in 1992, Phoenix Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons guided the Suns to a 128-111 home win over Portland, becoming the sixth coach in NBA history to chalk up 800 career wins. On this date in 1996, after defeating the visiting Phoenix Suns 97-83, the San Antonio Spurs become the 11th NBA team to go unbeaten over a month, with a 16-0 mark in March. The Spurs tied the 1971-72 Lakers (who were 16-0 in December of 1971) for the winningest month ever by an NBA team.

***

In the land where Kings coaches roam and PR chiefs reign, the curtain is down these days and paranoia is up.

And while the practice facility drape that keeps the media from observing is black, it really should be gray. That's the true color of this coaching situation in its current state. The misguiding of gray matter. Gray areas galore. And growing gray hairs for me, of course, as the absence of black and white indicators means Kenny Natt's status remains unclear.

Public perception is the easy part. The record alone leads to opinions such as the one below, as written by former Rocky Mountain News writer and current In Denver Times scribe Chris Tomasson in a Hoopshype column on interim coaches...

Kenny Natt of Sacramento is 9-36 since replacing 6-18 Reggie Theus. If one were to measure the impact the change has had, perhaps he should be known as Kenny Gnat...

Put (Washington's Ed) Tapscott, (Toronto's Jay) Triano and Natt as guys who soon might want to head to Kinko's to choose the font for their resumes.

March 29, 2009
Overtime: Shaq and Natt mull this one over

KINGS 126, SUNS 118

Game story, Game notes

Box score, Video recap

***
Shaquille O'Neal checks out my camera phone before talking about his team's tough loss to the Kings:

Kings coach Kenny Natt says he's not looking for the Kings to be spoilers:

March 29, 2009
Opening tip: Will the Suns be the new Kings in the future, too?

Kings (15-56) vs. Phoenix (40-33)

Scoring: Kings 13th (99.9), Suns 1st (108.86)
Shooting: Kings 24th (44.8 percent), Suns 1st (50.4)
Scoring defense: Kings 29th (108.46), Suns 27th (106.9)
Shooting defense: Kings 29th (48.2 percent), Suns 22nd (46.4)
Rebound differential: Kings 29th (minus-5.04), Suns 10th (plus-0.89)

The link: Suns coverage in the Arizona Republic. Kings coverage in The Bee (First of two stories in Vlade Divac series, leading up to Tuesday's jersey retirement, Kings notes, Suns preview)

The almanac: On this date in 1952, Minneapolis center George Mikan scored a then -NBA Playoff record 47 points against the Rochester Royals in Game 1 of the Western Division Finals, but the Lakers were defeated, 88-78. On this date in 1960, Boston Celtics standout Bill Russell hauled down an NBA Finals record 40 rebounds as the Celtics lost to St. Louis 113-103. On this date in 1988, Indiana scored an NBA record-low 55 points (since the introduction of the 24-second shot clock) in a 74-55 loss to San Antonio. On April 10, 1999, the Chicago Bulls scored 49 points against Miami to set a new record low.

PROGRAMMING ALERT: Vlade Divac himself will be live blogging for The Bee on Monday at 1 p.m. ., cramming his monstrous frame into a cubicle at our offices and spending an hour answering your questions and getting nostalgic at www.sacbee.com/live. Be sure to take part.

***

Western Conference powerhouse team is exciting and successful, just not champions. Unable to reach the top of the NBA mountain, their high-scoring, scintillating offensive ways come into question and a conflict between ownership and the team's front office ensues over a lack of attention paid to defense.

A coaching change is made. It's never the same in the standings or the stands. The fun is taken out of a franchise.

Yes, the Suns are in town today, those distant relatives of the Kings who are still trying to keep their story from ending like the one in Sacramento did. Mike D'Antoni, of course, was their version of Rick Adelman, but D'Antoni was more disenfranchised than he was fired by the franchise. He went to New York, Phoenix owner Robert Sarver and GM Steve Kerr brought in defensive-minded Terry Porter to fix what they were sure was ailing them, and he was gone by the midway point of his first season after going 23-18.

March 27, 2009
Overtime: Practices not to blame, players say

MEMPHIS 113, KINGS 95

Game story, Game notes

Box score, Video recap

***
There was a lot of talk about those three days of practices between games following the Kings' embarrassing loss to the Memphis Grizzlies tonight.
Were the Kings working hard enough? Many of the Kings players who stuck around after the loss said yes.

Bobby Jackson says the Kings don't battle in games like they do in practice:

Andres Nocioni says the Kings need to start trying to build chemistry for next season:

Francisco Garcia says the Kings had good, competitive practices lately:

March 27, 2009
Opening tip: Just how historic will these Kings be?

Kings (15-55) vs. Memphis (17-53)

Scoring: Kings 13th (99.97), Grizzlies 30th (93.1)
Shooting: Kings 24th (44.8 percent), Grizzlies 22nd (44.9)
Scoring defense: Kings 28th (108.4), Grizzlies 14th (99.68)
Shooting defense: Kings 28th (48.1 percent), Grizzlies 26th (47.4)
Rebound differential: Kings 29th (minus-4.95), Grizzlies 21st (minus-1.47)

The link: Grizzlies coverage in the The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Kings coverage in The Bee (Story on Bobby Jackson's possible return; Game preview; Breakdown of Vlade Divac events surrounding his jersey retirement Sunday)
The almanac: On this date in 1994, Magic Johnson returned to the Los Angeles Lakers as head coach and led them to a 110-101 victory over Milwaukee. Johnson coached the Lakers for the last 16 games of the 1993-94 season, posting a 5-11 record. On this date in 1998, an NBA record 62,046 fans witnessed Chicago's 89-74 win over Atlanta in the Georgia Dome. On this date in Utah's Karl Malone and John Stockton are both held under 10 points in a game against the Los Angeles Clippers. This marks the first time since November 21, 1987 that both Malone and Stockton did not reach double figures in scoring in the same game.

PROGRAMMING ALERT: Vlade Divac himself will be live blogging for The Bee on Monday at 1 p.m. 11 a.m., cramming his monstrous frame into a cubicle at our offices and spending an hour answering your questions and getting nostalgic at www.sacbee.com/live. Be sure to take part.

***

This is not the kind of race you want to stay in.

The Kings, as we've been noting for some time now, remain right on track to finish as the worst in franchise history. Aside from watching the team's young core come along or wondering just how many empty seats there will be at Arco Arena every home game, this is one of the few remaining points of intrigue about this particular team.

There's just something heavy about being the worst, about being alone in that category of futility. Year after year, their season of struggle will be chronicled in the team's media guide. Whenever a Kings team approaches that kind of season-long failure, they will become the point of reference. And with 12 games left, that's a very real possibility.

March 25, 2009
In any language, Nocioni speaks the truth (and other tidbits)

It's a tidbit kind of time in the late stages of this Kings season, but there are a few worth getting into. Off we go...

* After practice today, it's still unknown which injured players will be ready to go against Memphis on Friday. Kings coach Kenny Natt said he's not sure if he'll have Andres Nocioni (right quad tendonitis) and it didn't sound as if Bobby Jackson (fractured left cheekbone) would be ready to return just yet.

"I think he's still under doctor's care and they're restricting his play from standpoint of playing in a game, but he's practicing every day," Natt said.

I'll probably have a story on Jackson for Friday's paper, but he told me today that he believes Spencer Hawes is the culprit of his face fracturing. Against Cleveland on March 13, the two players were going for the same rebound and Jackson bore the brunt of a Hawes elbow. Now Jackson - who declined surgery on his cheek last Friday - is wearing a purple protective mask and looking the part that he had already played in so many fans' eyes - a true Kings hero. Nicknames anyone?

* Oh, the irony.

Will Solomon misses a chance to seize the backup point guard spot in Toronto, gets traded from the Raptors to the Kings and sees his playing time decline the longer he's in Sacramento. And proving that the law of Murphy is alive and well in the NBA, former Kings guard Quincy Douby - who was waived just before the Feb. 19 trade deadline - is promoted from the D-League Erie Bayhawks to the Raptors and has a chance to earn the very minutes Solomon left behind. Douby didn't play in his debut game against Milwaukee.

* Lots and lots of chatter about Nocioni's comments in the Argentine publication 'Ole'' today.

Nocioni did not speak after practice, but I caught up with him via phone tonight and he was good enough to discuss the matter for some time. You can read our story for tomorrow's paper or his comments in full at the end of this blog post, but it's worth reading the original material to get a more fair sense of what he was saying (most, if not all, of which is true).

March 22, 2009
Overtime: Hawes is lone highlight

PHILADELPHIA 112, KINGS 100

Game story, Game notes

Box score, Video recap

In The Bee: Ailene Voisin column on the Kings' point guard situation.

***
Spencer Hawes talked about his play in terms of what he should have done better. That's what good players do. They overlook their stats and stare at the final score.
That's what matters. Never mind the near triple-double Hawes put up.
"I think much like the team I didn't come out (to play) early," said Hawes, who finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high nine assists. "I don't think I was bringing it like I should have been and I had to play catch up. At the end of the day when you lose like we did, it negates that."
The loss didn't deter 76ers staff from talking about how impressed they were with Hawes' play. Prior to Hawes declaring for the NBA Draft in 2007, the Sixers worked him out extensively and tried to move up in their pick to get him.

***
Sitting behind The Bee's cluster of courtside seats was a young man dressed to be seen.
Afterall, his Blake Griffin of Oklahoma jersey said it all.
"I hope the Maloofs see me," said the man, whose name I didn't catch.
He offered encouraging words for Kings coach Kenny Natt throughout the lopsided affair on Sunday night.
When the Philadelphia 76ers took a commanding 35-17 lead in the first quarter, he shouted for Natt not to worry. Surely their opponents would begin to miss soon.

***
There was some nice Twitter material provided during the game. First it was the Kings dancer who had her top come undone during a routine. The halter top untied and she clung to it as she managed to finish most of the dance.
Then there was the piece of gum that clung to the back Francisco Garcia's shorts. I wanted to tease Garcia about it, but he wasn't too chatty after the loss, so I left that one alone.

March 22, 2009
Injury update: Two out, one in

Bobby Jackson and Andres Nocioni will not play tonight as the Kings face the Philadelphia 76ers at Arco Arena. Rashad McCants (sprained right ankle) said he plans to play and Kings coach Kenny Natt said his play would dictate his playing time.
Nocioni (right quadricep tendinitis) may play against the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday. Natt said he doesn't expect Jackson (fractured left cheekbone) to play until next week or so.

March 22, 2009
Opening tip: Should Natt be back? He thinks so, of course, and so do some players

Kings (15-54) vs. Philadelphia (34-33)

Scoring: Kings 13th (99.97), Sixers 23rd (97.1)
Shooting: Kings 24th (44.8 percent), Sixers 14th (45.7)
Scoring defense: Kings 29th (108.3), Sixers 11th (96.7)
Shooting defense: Kings 28th (48.0 percent), Sixers 18th (46.1)
Rebound differential: Kings 29th (minus-5.11), Sixers sixth (plus-2.40)

The link: Sixers coverage in the the Philadelphia Daily News,. Kings coverage in The Bee (Kings plus story on Kenny Natt; Marty Mac's World; Preview of today's game, Week ahead.)
The almanac: On this date in 1960, the Philadelphia Warriors defeated the Celtics in Boston 128-107 in Game 5 of the Eastern Division Finals, a game which featured an NBA Playoff record 169 rebounds by both teams. On this date in 1991, Phoenix guard and future Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson was honored by President George Bush as the 411th "Daily Point of Light" in recognition of Johnson's work in helping the youth of his hometown of Sacramento, CA. On this date in 2000, the Phoenix Suns Jason Kidd is lost for the remainder of the regular season after breaking his ankle in a 114-93 triumph over Sacramento at America West Arena. The following day the Suns announced that Kevin Johnson was coming out of retirement to help his former team in its time of need. Johnson, 34, whose career average of 9.2 assists per game ranks fourth in NBA history, had not played since the 1997-98 season.

***

At this point, Kenny Natt would love to be Paul Silas.

That's what he said in a round-a-bout way on Friday, when the Kings coach talked at length about his job and his future in an interview that led to my piece on the matter in today's paper. Like always, there was more material that went unused, and that included Natt answering my question about whether he had talked to other coaches who had been through a similar experience to his, that of the first-time head coach who inherits a less-than-flattering roster and runs the risk of being run out before he has even started.

"Paul Silas," Natt said inside Madison Square Garden. "I just saw him in Charlotte, and he said (how) he won 16, 17 games one year (Silas' 1981-82 Clippers went 17-65 in his second season as a coach after going 36-46 in his first season with the Clippers). He knows what I'm going through. He just said hang in there, learn from the experience, just keep working hard and things will work out for you. They always do."

Silas, of course, wound up working his way toward better times. His Hornets teams (in Charlotte and one season in New Orleans) were perennial playoff contenders during his five seasons with that organization, and his hiring in Cleveland in 2003 meant he would usher in the LeBron James era before he was fired near the end of the 2004-05 season. Silas added Natt to his coaching staff with the Cavs in 2003, pulling him away from Utah after nine seasons under Jazz coach Jerry Sloan.

March 20, 2009
Jackson to return

NEW YORK - Bobby Jackson plans to return this season, according to Kings coach Kenny Natt.

And knowing Jackson, the veteran guard may be on the floor at Arco Arena on Sunday against Philadelphia. Jackson - who did not travel with the team on their four-game road trip that concludes tonight - was scheduled to have corrective surgery on his fractured left cheekbone today at the UC Davis Medical Center, but the procedure was delayed. Natt said Jackson intends to play as soon as possible. - Sam Amick

March 20, 2009
Opening Tip: For now, Kings got it right with pick where Knicks did not

Kings (14-54) at New York (28-39)

Scoring: Kings 13th (99.66), Knicks fourth (105.8)
Shooting: Kings 26th (44.6 percent), Knicks 28th (44.4)
Scoring defense: Kings 29th (108.5), Knicks 29th (108.5)
Shooting defense: Kings 29th (48.1 percent), Knicks 28th (48.1)
Rebound differential: Kings 30th (minus-5.42), Knicks 27th (minus-3.94)

The link: Knicks coverage in the the New York Times, The New York Post , Newsday, and the New York Daily News. Kings coverage in The Bee (Story on Rashad McCants, notes)
The almanac: On this date in 1976, John Havlicek of the Boston Celtics became the first NBA player to score more than 1,000 points per season for 14 consecutive years. On this date in 1990, the Los Angeles Lakers retired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's jersey No. 33 in honor of the NBA's all-time leading scorer. On this date in 1998, Karl Malone moved past Elvin Hayes (27,313) for fifth place on the NBA's all-time scoring list.

PROGRAMMING ALERTS
We're trotting out the all-stars this morning for the "Kings Weekly Rap" at 11 a.m. Pacific as Ailene Voisin and Marcos Breton will field your questions about Kings/arena issues/NBA etc. and maybe even debate a bit on their own. Go to www.sacbee.com/live a few minutes before 11 to take part.

Also, I'll be Twittering during the game again on my page. I already threw up a relevant update, as Andres Nocioni (right quad tendinitis) and Rashad McCants (right ankle) are out tonight. Kevin Martin is back from a one-game absence (virus).

***

In this season of rock bottom re-invention, with the Kings about to see if they can avoid going 0-29 against the Eastern Conference tonight or at least a historic 0-30 against Philadelphia on Sunday, they have had more than their share of "It could get worse" moments. It can always get worse. And so far for this team, it typically has.

But tonight's tilt against the Knicks offers a rare moment of "It could be worse." No, really. It could. They could have Danilo Gallinari instead of Jason Thompson.

While the Kings rookie forward taken No. 12 overall last June continues to play like a viable member of their future blueprint club, the Knicks' Italian small forward who was taken sixth may need back surgery that would end his disappointing rookie season. In the months that led to the 2008 draft, there was always a sense from the Kings' front office folks that picking 12th was just late enough that all the good ones would be gone by the time they were up. Gallinari, specifically, was always the name that arose when they lamented how the top-tier talent simply wouldn't fall that far.

If he had, Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie might have been the one having to defend his decision rather than Donnie Walsh. The Knicks president is standing by the choice, saying he's confident the 20-year-old will reach his potential eventually. The Kings know a bit about being patient with 20-year-olds (see: Spencer Hawes), so he could very well be right. But in the here and now, in this Kings season in which so very little has qualified as positive, it could certainly have been worse if the Italian Stallion had come to Sacramento. - Sam Amick

March 20, 2009
"Kings Weekly Rap" with Ailene Voisin and Marcos Breton

PROGRAMMING ALERT: We're trotting out the all-stars this morning for the "Kings Weekly Rap" at 11 a.m. Pacific as Ailene Voisin and Marcos Breton will field your questions about Kings/arena issues/NBA etc. and maybe even debate a bit on their own.

Go to www.sacbee.com/live a few minutes before 11 to take part. - Sam Amick

March 19, 2009
Overtime: Will 'The Donte' Greene Show' be renewed?

WASHINGTON 106, KINGS 104 - Game story; Game notes, Box score
ATLANTA 117, KINGS 99 - Game story, Game notes, Box score
CHARLOTTE 114, KINGS 97 - Game story, Game notes,Box score, Video recap
(Fell behind on "Overtime" and have documented the greatness that is the Kings' last three games)

***

NEW YORK - Donte' Greene has been entertaining off the floor. We know that much.

But while chatting with former Kings small forward Gerald Wallace last night, I couldn't help but wonder about conversations that may take place with the Kings rookie small forward in the years to come. Where he will be? How good of a player will he become? Will he regret coming out of college (Syracuse) after just one season? Will Greene be the next Wallace?

I break down Greene's recent surge of playing time and share a chat with him in tomorrow's paper, but also wanted to share Wallace's thoughts on the similarities between their plights. After Wallace left Alabama after one season and was drafted by the Kings in 2001, he sparked a lot of the same perceptions that are taking place now with Greene. While he was stuck at the end of the bench during the Kings' glory years, the same questions about his focus, his drive, his maturity circulated about him then like they are with Greene now.

March 18, 2009
Starting (lineup) anew...again

CHARLOTTE - Just a quick programming note that Kevin Martin (virus) and Andres Nocioni (right quad tendonitis) are out tonight against Charlotte.

Rashad McCants get the start at shooting guard, Francisco Garcia is plugged in at small forward, and the Kings have themselves a 23rd different starting lineup this season. I will be making comments and observations both snarky and simple during the game on my Twitter page, for those of you who are engaged to that degree. - Sam Amick

March 18, 2009
Opening tip: Down to three chances

Kings (14-53) at Charlotte (29-38)

Scoring: Kings 13th (99.83), Bobcats 29th (93.4)
Shooting: Kings 25th (44.7 percent), Bobcats 17th (45.4)
Scoring defense: Kings 29th (108.6), Bobcats 7th (94.6)
Shooting defense: Kings 30th (48.1 percent), Bobcats 11th (45.4)
Rebound differential: Kings 30th (minus-5.14), Bobcats 18th (minus-0.09)

The link: Bobcats coverage in the The Charlotter Observer; Kings coverage in The Bee (Game story; Notes; Voisin column; Game preview).

The almanac: On this date in 1991, the Philadelphia 76ers retired Wilt Chamberlain's No. 13 jersey. He joined fellow 76ers Billy Cunningham, Hal Greer, Bobby Jones and Julius Erving. Chamberlain would also have his jersey retired by the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors as he became the first NBA player to have his number retired by three teams.
On this date in 2001, Reggie Miller of the Indiana Pacers became the first NBA player to sink 2,000 three-pointers when he hit a trey during the third quarter of a 101-95 win over the Kings.

***
Perhaps Spencer Hawes summed it up best when describing the Kings' play in Tuesday's 119-97 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
"Selfish, selfish, selfish," Hawes told our own Sam Amick.
You'd think the Kings would share at least one thing - the desire to defeat at least one Eastern Conference team this season. The Kings are now 0-27 against the East and are down to three chances to avoid rewriting the NBA history books for lowly reasons. They face the Charlotte Bobcats today, the New York Knicks on Friday and Philadelphia 76ers at home on Sunday.
While the Kings hosted a party in the paint last night, I kept thinking of something interim coach Kenny Natt said after the team's new players arrived at practice.
"Hopefully, guys don't get selfish by trying to over impress management and coaches to earn more playing time and really kill the chemistry we have moving forward," Natt said on Feb. 22.
As Amick hit on in today's game story, Tuesday's loss reeked of personal agendas (read: expiring contracts). And that kind of play won't earn the Kings a win over any team, including their three remaining Eastern Conference opponents.

March 18, 2009
On the road with the NBA



What did we ever do without cell phones? The land line in my office rang Tuesday afternoon, and when I answered, the voice at the other end sounded surprised. We can all relate. (Hate those automated answer machines). The caller then introduced herself as Marilyn Merritt, a 70-year-old, long haul trucker calling from rural Pennsylvania. Frozen foods, mostly. In a previous life, she said, before the economy tanked, she was retired. Before that, she was a librarian at Sac State.

The kicker is this: She travels with her husband - didn't catch his name - and says the two somehow co-exist despite the fact she's an impassioned Kings fan and he's a rabid Lakers partisan. "We have to negotiate," she laughed. "We share space (in the cab). We have a TV, fridge, a double-bed. I try to keep up with the Kings in the local newspapers. It's a really hard life, though. We live in a small town between Grants Pass and Roseburg, Ore., but my son lives in Sacramento. Our truck broke down, so we're here waiting. I'm going to miss my granddaughter's first piano recital."

Her hope is to get back out West by next week, and possibly take her granddaughter to the Kings-Hornets game on March 31 for the Vlade Divac jersey retirement ceremony. "What a sweet guy," she said.

I hope she calls back. I forgot to ask her handle.

Don't get him started

As I noted in my column in today's Bee, Joe Maloof is more than a little chippy of late. Fans seated near the tunnel area during the Kings-Cavs game last Friday at Arco Arena might have caught the Kings co-owner in a major rant. No, he wasn't ripping into me for something I had written, though that's happened. He was venting about Bernie Madoff and wondering why his family was erroneously listed in published magazine reports - though later deleted - among the scam artist's victims. "Where did that come from?" he asked angrily. "We don't even know the guy." After I noted that The Bee was innocent of all charges, he calmed down. As for the Maloof finances, he acknowledged the Kings are a mess, but said the Palms is withstanding the economic crunch better than most Las Vegas hotel/casinos because of its niche clientele (young, hip, international) and that the family beer business - which speaks to the gut of their empire - is booming. But I still want to know: What's the difference between millionaires and billionaires anyway?

March 17, 2009
Opening tip: Can't blame SI this time

Kings (14-52) at Atlanta (39-28)

Scoring: Kings 13th (99.87), Hawks 20th (98.1)
Shooting: Kings 24th (44.8 percent), Hawks 11th (45.8)
Scoring defense: Kings 29th (108.47), Hawks 11th (96.37)
Shooting defense: Kings 29th (48.0 percent), Hawks 10th (45.3)
Rebound differential: Kings 29th (minus-4.98), Hawks 24th (minus-2.19)

The link: Hawks coverage in the The Atlanta Journal-Consitiution; Kings coverage in The Bee (Story; Jackson out for surgery story).

The almanac: On this date in 1984, the Houston Rockets retired Calvin Murphy's No. 23 jersey. Murphy became only the second Rocket player to have his jersey retired. Rudy Tomjanovich was the first.
On this date in 1974, the Celtics beat the Capital Bullets 129-103 at Boston Garden, while collecting an NBA record 61 defensive rebounds.

***
When Bobby Jackson bent over clutching his left cheek on Friday, he may have been thinking, "Oh, no, not again."
This is not the first time Jackson has had a fractured cheekbone, although the one he suffered previously was in 2003 on his right side and that one didn't require surgery.
Jackson wasn't kept out of any games during that injury in 2003, nor did it keep him from working out, according to a story Marty McNeal wrote after it happened.
But, you can probably understand the reason why Jackson was so eager to stay on the floor that season.
The Kings were in the Western Conference semifinals with the Dallas Mavericks.
Jackson even elected not to wear a protective mask.
And it was following that injury that Jackson swore to never appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated again.
To find out why, click the link to continue reading. I have included the story McNeal wrote in 2003.

March 16, 2009
Jackson to have surgery for fractured cheekbone

The Kings just announced that Bobby Jackson will undergo corrective surgery to repair a fractured left cheekbone at UC Davis Medical Center by Dr. Craig Senders on Friday. His playing status for the rest of the season will be determined after the surgery. - Sam Amick

March 15, 2009
Opening tip: More on JT and Spencer in Kings Plus-plus

Kings (14-50) at Washington (15-51)

Scoring: Kings 13th (99.8), Wizards 26th (94.8)
Shooting: Kings 25th (44.8 percent), Wizards 26th (44.8)
Scoring defense: Kings 29th (108.5), Wizards 22nd (102.4)
Shooting defense: Kings 29th (48.0 percent), Wizards 29th (48.0)
Rebound differential: Kings 30th (minus-5.13), Wizards 23rd (minus-1.89)

The link: Wizards coverage in the The Washington Post and The Washington Times; Kings coverage in The Bee (Kings Plus story; Kings Plus Week ahead; Notes; Game preview).
The almanac: On this date 1991, Moses Malone of Atlanta picked up his 15,000th career rebound in the NBA during the Hawks' 127-117 win over Dallas at Reunion Arena. On this date in 1992, Cleveland Coach Lenny Wilkens became only the fifth coach in NBA history (joining Red Auerbach, Jack Ramsay, Dick Motta and Bill Fitch) to record 800 career victories after the Cavs defeated Denver 100-91 at Richfield Coliseum.

***

WASHINGTON - Today's matchup is pretty cut and dried. Two bad teams whose players would love nothing more than to pulverize the other team but whose respective organizations could benefit from putting another 'L' on their record. Although really, if the Kings compete like they did against Cleveland the other night then the Wiz will be routed by 20. They are a better and more interesting team post-trades.

On the update front, Bobby Jackson (fractured left cheek) did not make the trip and will be re-evaluated on Monday. I'm curious to hear what becomes of B-Jax, as I wouldn't be surprised if surgery was needed or if he at least has to don a "Phantom of the Opera" mask to protect his face. Meanwhile, I spoke with Beno Udrih last night and he said he will "probably" play. Not sure if he starts or if Will Solomon gets the nod. Lastly, I'll be offering random thoughts and updates on my Twitter page during the game (already have a few up, as a matter of fact).

But rather than dissect the rest of this matchup, let's rewind a bit and go over some extra material from today's piece on Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes. I didn't quote either player all that extensively, and that was almost unfortunate because they were pretty good. It was a joint interview that said quite a bit about where their relationship is even when they weren't talking. As always, Pete Carril put it best when I asked about the current status of the JT-Hawes dynamic: "They are rivals in a teammate way."

March 14, 2009
Jackson out, Kings turn to Solomon

Just as one point guard is returning for the Kings, another is out.

Beno Udrih, who has missed the past six games because of a sprained right foot, said he probably will play today against the Wizards in Washington.

"I've been running, and there is still some pain, but I'm tired of sitting out," said Udrih, who could start.

Meanwhile, backup Bobby Jackson will miss the game after breaking his left cheekbone late in the Kings' 126-123 overtime loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.

Jackson did not travel with the team and will be reevaluated Monday.

The Kings' only other point guard is recently acquired Will Solomon, who scored 18 points off the bench Friday. He hit 6 of 9 field-goal attempts, including 5 of 8 three-pointers.

March 14, 2009
Overtime: Post game video of LeBron and Natt

CLEVELAND 126, KINGS 123

Game story, Game notes

Box score, Video recap

Also in The Bee:
Joe Maloof: An arena deal will get done
***

After scoring 51 points against the Kings, LeBron James talks about whether he's worried about the Cavs and why he sometimes feels like he's the father of his team:

Kenny Natt comments on LeBron's phenomenal play and talks about Kevin Martin's solid performance:

(Thanks to Sam Amick for shooting the videos)

March 13, 2009
And the winner of the Kings contest is...

Shane Butler. I don't know much about the winner of our 'Kings reporter for a day contest' just yet, although we had a nice chat on the phone yesterday. He is a longtime Kings fan who is looking forward to see No. 23 tonight (no, not Kevin Martin). We're meeting up soon, and it should be a good time. Thanks to all who put in submissions. - Sam Amick

March 13, 2009
Opening tip: Can LeBron James make it four straight?

Cleveland (51-13) at Kings (14-50)

Scoring: Kings 14th (99.5), Cavaliers 13th (99.7)
Shooting: Kings 25th (44.75 percent), Cavaliers fifth (46.82)
Scoring defense: Kings 28th (108.2), Cavaliers first (90.4)
Shooting defense: Kings 29th (47.94 percent), Cavaliers first (42.87)
Rebound differential: Kings 30th (minus-5.31), Cavaliers third (plus-2.96)

The link: Cavaliers coverage in the Cleveland Plain Dealer ; Kings coverage in The Bee (Story, notes and game preview.
The almanac: On this date in 1962, the season ended and Philadelphia's Wilt Chamberlain became the only player to exceed 4,000 points (4,029) and average over 50 points (50.4 per game) in an NBA season. On this date in 1962, the Boston Celtics beat the Syracuse Nationals 142-110, becoming the first team to win 60 games (60-20) in an NBA season. On this date in 1998, Utah's John Stockton scored the 15,000th point of his career in a 110-101 win over Vancouver. On this date in 1999, Charles Barkley of the Houston Rockets became the third player in NBA history to amass 20,000 points, 10,000 rebounds and 4,000 assists when he recorded his first assist in a 100-89 victory over Cleveland. He joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain in this elite group.

***

After watching LeBron James' performance last night against the Phoenix Suns, I just had to ask: Is there anyone out there who doesn't expect him to come up with another triple-double tonight against the Kings - for what would be his fourth straight? Actually, it should be interesting to watch Andres Nocioni try to aggravate and outmuscle James, one of the three obvious candidates (Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade) for the MVP award. But these are the Kings. Their defense is horrific. Poor Andres will be flying solo ....

The only way James figures to have an off-night is if he doesn't play, which became a real possibility Thursday night. With 1:56 remaining in the third quarter, and the Cavs leading 86-83, he collided with Grant Hill on a drive to the basket, then fell to the court, clutching his left knee/shin. He stayed in the game, however, and in his postgame TNT interview with Craig Sager, said he planned to ice the leg, receive treatment, and see how he felt Friday before determining his availability against the Kings.

FOR THE STAT FREAKS, WHEREVER YOU ARE

LeBron's last three games:
Against the Suns: 34 points, 10 rebounds, 13 assists.
Against the Clippers: 32 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists.
Against the Heat: 14 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists.

March 12, 2009
Kings weekly rap Friday 11 a.m.

For those of you wanting to break down the rest of the Kings season (for whatever reason), get into draft talk, the Kings' uncertain coaching situation beyond this season or even arena issues, Melody Gutierrez and I will be awaiting your queries at 11 a.m. Friday morning. To log into the session, go to www.sacbee.com/live. - Sam Amick

March 12, 2009
Rough day for Donte'

Donte' Greene was still all smiles after practice on Thursday, but he had plenty of reason to frown.

One day after a Yahoo! story came out tying his name to shady dealings between agents and future NBA players and has led to an investigation at Syracuse, he now has Bobby Jackson to deal with too.

After the rookie's car was the latest to be filled with popcorn for failing at his rookie duties, , Greene vowed revenge in an interview with The Bee's Melody Gutierrez and exacted it on Jackson's car today.

March 11, 2009
Overtime: Homecoming fit for a (former) King


THUNDER 99, KINGS 98

Game story,Game notes

Box score, Video recap

Kings "Reporter for a day" contest (Click here to enter by Wednesday's noon deadline for a chance to join the Bee's Sam Amick courtside for Friday's game against Cleveland)


* * *

Scotty Brooks, the former Kings assistant who grew up about an hour's drive south of Arco Arena in Manteca, was pretty funny after the game. When we asked him how many family members were in the building, he laughed, and placed the number "in the 40s. Not quite as high as my rookie year, but it's up there." The group included his mother, siblings, former coaches, and undoubtedly, customers from the family business. "Dribbles," the family car wash, is doing okay, despite the economic downturn. One of the disadvantages of living in Oklahoma City instead of Sacramento, of course, is that Brooks can't just hop into his SUV, speed down the interstate, then help with the mop, bucket and sponge duties on his off days. As for stealing out of Arco with the victory, Brooks cracked, "It'll be nice to see my Mom after a win, because she's my biggest critic. I'm sure she found something I did wrong."

Of Heidi, Switzerland, Thabo

I love Switzerland. The majesty of the mountains, the splendor of the lakes, the vivid floral arrangements seemingly on display outside every window. The chocolate, the cheese, the beer. It's easy to travel by train or by foot, and it's so .... clean. But when I think of Switzerland, I never think "basketball." So after the game, I approached the Thunders' Thabo (pronounded Tah-bo) Sefolosha in the visitors locker room and pressed for details. When I told him that I couldn't recall seeing any pickup games during my travels to his birthplace, he laughed. "There were courts," said the 6-foot-7 swingman, who grew up in Vevey, a city located about 13 miles from Lausanne, "but usually it was just me, with the ball, all by myself out there." The son of artists - his mother is Swiss and his father is South African - Sefolosha said he became serious about the game when he was about 14 or 15. He played professionally in Italy and France before being drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers (and traded to the Chicago Bulls) in 2006. The Thunder acquired him for a first-round draft choice last month, intrigued by his length, athleticism and defense.

A glimpse at the numbers

- Most appealing stat of the game: Spencer Hawes' all-around effort (20 points, 10 boards, five assists).
- Ugliest stat of the game: A combined total of 45 turnovers between the teams, with Jeff Green (seven), Russell Westbrook (seven) and Hawes (six).
- Biggest question of the night: Was Kevin Martin's left foot really sore enough to keep him on the bench for the deciding fourth period?
- Whatever happened to Donte Greene? Or, better yet, why isn't he down in the Kings' D-League affiliate in Reno, playing extensive minutes and experiencing the joys of the occasional bus ride? His line last night: another DNP. - Ailene Voisin

March 10, 2009
Post game videos

Thunder 99, Kings 98

Francisco Garcia said he feels for Andres Nocioni, who badly missed an open 19-footer with 6.9 seconds to go that would have tied the game 97-97.

Kenny Natt said once again an "awful start" doomed his team's efforts.

Bobby Jackson assesses Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook at the end of this clip, if you can get through Garcia's background chatter in the middle.

March 10, 2009
Opening tip: The Thunder rolls (into Arco Arena)

Oklahoma City (17-46) at Kings (14-49)

Scoring: Kings 14th (99.5), Thunder 21st (97.9)
Shooting: Kings 26th (44.7 percent), Thunder 22nd (44.95)
Scoring defense: Kings 29th (108.4), Thunder 23rd (103.3)
Shooting defense: Kings 30th (48.0 percent), Thunder 26th (47.43)
Rebound differential: Kings 29th (minus-5.3), Thunder sixth (plus-2.63)

The link: Thunder coverage in the Oklahoman; Kings coverage in The Bee.
The almanac: On this date in 1961, Wilt Chamberlain became the first NBA player to score 3,000 points in a season while playing for the Philadelphia Warriors. On this date in 1963, Chamberlain, playing for the San Francisco Warriors, scored 70 points in a 163-148 loss to Syracuse, one of six 70-plus point games in his career. On this date in 1985, Dallas coach and former Kings coach Dick Motta became the fourth NBA coach to record his 700th career victory as the Mavericks beat New Jersey 126-113. On this date in 2002, Utah point guard John Stockton registered 13 assists in a 95-92 loss to Houston to improve his career assist total to 15,000 and become the only player in NBA history to reach that plateau.

***

They're rooting for local boy Blake Griffin in Oklahoma City while hootin' and hollerin' for the local Thunder, too, and those contrasting messages clearly have this team conflicted.

Four wins in five games for former Kings assistant and interim Thunder coach Scott Brooks and his squad has pulled the Thunder a tad further from the likelihood of landing Griffin come June, when the Oklahoma product who won four state titles at Oklahoma Christian High School will be the likely No. 1 and the Kings surely hope he goes a long way from home ("Welcome to Cali, Blake, even if you're nowhere near the surf's-up zone. You like train museums?").

Oklahoma City's surge has come without Kevin Durant for all five games and without Jeff Green for four. The absence of both players to injury (Durant ankle, Green back) may have revealed potential chemistry and flow problems that may have been there all along with this bunch. Durant and Green are and should be the core pieces, to be sure, but something's going right with their running mates with them gone and it'll be up to Brooks to maximize the masses when they return (no Durant tonight and Green is questionable). Translation: Keep everyone involved and don't force-feed Durant to the point of bringing the offense to its knees. Brooks was here when Ron Artest and John Salmons would share floor time, after all, so he has seen that act before.

It will be interesting to see how the Thunder finishes, as there is motive to entertain and excite the loyal new fan base but also incentive to pair Durant with a frontcourt freak like Griffin. Eleven of its final 19 games are on the road, where the Thunder is 4-26 this season. Thirteen of the 19 games come against "playoff" teams (quotations because I included Chicago and Milwaukee, teams that are vying for the final spot in the East).

Brooks would love to win in his home region for the first time as a head coach, as the Manteca native watched in agony as his team fell 122-118 in overtime at Arco Arena on Feb. 1. The Thunder defended its home floor Feb. 8, winning 116-113 when Durant had 39 points. - Sam Amick

March 9, 2009
Overtime: Denver leaves depressed

KINGS 114, DENVER 106

Game story, Game notes

Box score, Video recap

***

It would have been a good night to have a clone.

A Kings win meant a trip to the Kings locker room was a must, which is the case even after most losses. But from chatting with The Denver Post's Chris Dempsey afterward, it sounds as if a visit to the visitor's locker room would have been far more interesting.

The woe traded sides for a night, as the depressed Denver Nuggets finally woke up and realized how much of a must-win that game was right about the time it was over.

"We have to know how important these games are," said Denver point guard Chauncey Billups, who had 22 points and eight assists. "These are the games you look at at the end of the year and say, 'Man, if we could have just taken care of business in that game, we could have had home court (advantage).' I don't think we really understand the importance of these games."

March 8, 2009
Opening tip: The historical perspective of the bad Kings offense

Nuggets (40-23) at Kings (13-49)

Scoring: Kings 14th (99.2), Nuggets seventh (102.7).
Shooting: Kings tied for 25th (44.6 percent), Nuggets sixth (46.7).
Scoring defense: Kings 29th (108.4), Nuggets 16th (100.1).
Shooting defense: Kings 30th (48.1 percent), Nuggets fourth (43.9).
Rebound differential: Kings 29th (minus-5.2), Nuggets 15th (plus-0.2).

The link: Nuggets coverage in the Denver Post.
The almanac: On this date in 1971, the Bucks increased their winning streak to 20 games, the second-best run in league history. On this date in 1994, Scott Pippen and Pete Myers of the Bulls became the first teammates with a four-point play (three-point basket plus a free throw) in the same game. On this date in 1996, Jerry Sloan of the Jazz recorded his 500th coaching victory.

__________

Fourteenth in the league in scoring is good, especially given everything else that's gone on. Better than the Rockets, better than the Trail Blazers, better than the Hawks, the Spurs, the Hornets and the Pistons. It's a commendable number.


But it's not close to the complete perspective of the Kings offense.

Twenty-fifth in shooting is the more-telling number. Coaches go by field-goal percentage as the true indicator of an offense, not scoring. Scoring is tied to style -- play up-tempo and squeeze off more attempts, play a deliberate style and put fewer points on the scoreboard but perhaps be much more efficient and migraine-inducing for opponents. Shooting is an indicator of everything else -- skill level of players, whether they have multiple threats necessary to stretch a defense, the ability to get high-percentage shots or having to rely on a perimeter game, the presence of point guards who get the ball to players at the right spot, the presence of a coach that will design a game plan and teach.

March 6, 2009
Vlade getting ready to party ...


Preparations for Vlade Divac's week-long visit before the March 31 retirement of his jersey at Arco Arena are underway. And let's just say, Vlade still knows how to party. With more to come, his schedule already includes the following:
* Sunday, March 29: Lunch with Divac at the Serbian Orthodox Church, followed by a 9 p.m. bash at Tre.
* Monday, March 30: A Charitabowl function at Strikes, in Rocklin, beginning at 6 p.m., with Divac, Chris Webber, Doug Christie and Peja Stojakovic.
* Tuesday, March 31: Kings-Hornets game at Arco Arena at 7 p.m., the ceremony taking place at halftime. A post-game bash at Tunel 21 in Old Sac, also sponsored by Divac.
All events are open to the public, with proceeds from the events going to the Humanitarian Organization Divac (HOD), the foundation Divac created to help acquire housing for refugees in his native Serbia. For more information and ticket availability, check out Vlade's website at www.Divac.com.
Additionally, The Bee sports department is planning several days of extensive coverage leading up to the official jersey retirement, possibly including a live blog session with Vlade before he travels here from Serbia. We'll provide details as we receive them.

More on those humbling travel plans

As my colleague, Sam Amick, noted in a recent posting, the Maloofs are back to traveling commerical instead of charter - most often on Southwest Airlines. But I heard an interesting story the other day: Because of lingering discomfort from his double-knee replacement surgery, Joe Maloof drives more often than he flies between his homes in Southern California and Las Vegas. Or, I should say, he sits in the passenger seat while someone else hits the gas.

Thinking about Charles P. Daly

Reports about Chuck Daly's battle with pancreatic cancer began surfacing during the All-Star Game in Phoenix, but finally became public on Friday. Daly, 78, who guided the Detroit Pistons to consecutive NBA titles (1989-90), is undergoing chemotherapy, with his treatment overseen by specialists at Sloan-Kettering Memorial Hospital in New York. Here's wishing Chuck the best. As the handful of my colleagues who accompanied the original Dream Team in the weeks preceding the 1992 Olympics will attest, that was a magical time, made even more enjoyable because of Daly's engaging nature and accessibility. La Jolla. Portland. Monte Carlo. Barcelona. Bird, Magic, Michael, and a young Charles Barkley. In this business, that's as good as it gets.

One additional thought: One of the journalists who traveled with the Dream Team - longtime NBA writer Phil Jasner of the Philadelphia Daily News - is coping with his own battle with colon cancer. For those who might not recognize the name, Phil was the writer who asked the relatively innocuous question that sent Allen Iverson into his now famous rant about "practice."


March 6, 2009
Kings live blog today at 11 a.m.

Join Scott Howard-Cooper, Melody Gutierrez and myself at 11 a.m. to discuss anything and everything about the Kings and NBA - http://www.sacbee.com/live

March 6, 2009
Watch LeBron and be a Kings reporter for a day

Get your submission in now for our 'Reporter for a day' contest. We will definitely have a good time, with the winner hanging with myself and other Bee folks before, during (courtside) and after Kings v. Cleveland (yes, LeBron plays for that team) on March 13. Enter now by clicking here for more details. - Sam Amick

March 5, 2009
Overtime: From Shaq to Shelden and how the Maloofs 'Wanna get away'

INDIANA 117, KINGS 109

Game story, Game notes, Photo slideshow

Box score, Video recap

Day-after story on defense

Follow-up arena piece on how badly Cal Expo needs NBA's plan

***

Four days between Kings games and the reality that this team is 13-49 means this is the time to discuss other topics. And beyond the fact that candid rip-jobs like the one Shaquille O'Neal just unleashed on Stan Van Gundy are worth reading and watching on their own merits, there is a small Kings tie-in here.

With the backdrop of the Kings' coaching carousel that took them from Rick Adelman to Eric Musselman to Reggie Theus and Kenny Natt, there has been a widely held notion that Van Gundy as Kings coach would have been better than the rest. Of course, Stan the Man left the Kings at the altar and later admitted he hadn't handled the situation very well at all.

But among the many things Shaq accuses Van Gundy of is of being a "front-runner," which leads me to wonder how Stan could have been with a Kings roster that is a relative D-League roster compared to what the Magic have. Would he have developed the youngsters and ushered in a new, more promising era in a less dysfunctional way, or would he have hit the panic button the way O'Neal insists he always will? The verbal backhands from O'Neal also set up an interesting subplot to the postseason. While no one expects to see Suns-Magic in the Finals, we can at least watch Van Gundy when it matters most and see if he proves Shaq right or wrong.

MALOOFS MAKE SACRIFICES TOO

I've been meaning to follow up with a few notes in regards to recent coverage and offer a couple of disclaimers ...

March 3, 2009
Postgame videos

Pacers 117, Kings 109

Here's what Spencer Hawes had to say about the Kings' lack of defense. Hawes tied his career high with 19 points.

Kevin Martin talks about the team's lack of energy and effort. Martin scored a team-high 21 points, sinking all 14 of his free throws.


Rashad McCants, who scored 20 points, said personal stats don't matter when a team loses.

March 3, 2009
Gooden to San Antonio

According to a source close to Drew Gooden, the forward who was waived by the Kings on Sunday, has agreed to sign with San Antonio. - Sam Amick

March 3, 2009
Opening tip: Ricky Rubio vs. Brandon Jennings vs. Beno Udrih

Pacers (26-36) at Kings (13-48)

Scoring: Kings 15th (99.1), Pacers fifth (104.6).
Shooting: Kings tied for 25th (44.6 percent), Pacers tied for 19th (45).
Scoring defense: Kings 29th (108.3), Pacers 27th (106.4).
Shooting defense: Kings 30th (48.1 percent), Pacers tied for 16th (45.8).
Rebound differential: Kings 29th (minus-5.3), Pacers 18th (minus-0.4).

The link: Pacers coverage in the Indianapolis Star.
The almanac: On this date in 1985, Kevin McHale of the Celtics made 22 of 28 shots en route to a team-record 56 points. Larry Bird bettered that nine days later with 60 points. On this date in 1986, Mark Aguirre of the Mavericks scored 42 points, giving him 40 or better in back-to-back games. On this date in 1995, A.C. Green of the Suns played in his 707th game in a row to pass Dolph Schayes for third place on the all-time ironman list.

__________

Obviously lots of interest in Sacramento in what could be a very intriguing draft at point guard, a statement with the intentional could-be wiggle room because Ricky Rubio has yet to declare whether he's coming out amid a growing consensus among NBA teams he is staying in Spain another season.


Everything tilts on his decision. With Rubio in, that's the potential No. 2 pick, after Oklahoma power forward Blake Griffin, and the possibility of three point guards in the top eight or 10: Rubio, Brandon Jennings and Jeff Teague. With Rubio out, there goes the best prospect at the position and here comes the good chance that no point guard is chosen in the top four.

A great deal can change between now and the June 25 draft. Individual workouts alter stock. The NCAA Tournament, for Teague and Wake Forest, can do the same. But for the moment, I have not talked to any team that says Jennings or Teague deserves a top-four ranking, which is important because the Kings are guaranteed to pick no later than fourth if they hold their current position and finish with the worst record. The second-worst record locks them in the top five, the third-worst in the top six, and so on.

March 1, 2009
Overtime: Waive bye-bye to Gooden and say hello to one more Kings season in Sacramento (at least)

UTAH 102, KINGS 89

Game story, Game notes

Voisin column on Kings' plans to lower ticket prices

Box score, Video recap

***

We're going short with this 'Overtime,' in part because it's so delayed and also because it's been a tricky enough day on the coverage front.

A 700-word story about the Kings' light schedule ahead (three games in 12 days) and what effect it could have on Kenny Natt's chances of landing the Kings job next season was swapped out because of the news of Drew Gooden's buyout. The negotiations were getting close around 7:30 p.m. and wrapped up around 8 p.m. before the Kings confirmed the news later.

The Kings obviously didn't see a future for the free-agent-to-be Gooden in Sacramento, so they cut him loose while saving $2 million and having almost all of his remaining salary from this season covered. If I'm sharing my educated guess on where he goes after clearing waivers, I say he's headed for San Antonio.

Speaking of where Kings will wind up, the NBA's deadline for relocation came and went on Sunday without anyone alerting me (or anyone else) that the end had arrived in Sacramento. There was a brief time a few weeks ago when some folks around the organization began to wonder if the Maloofs would shock the world and get out for next season, but that was never realistic. As for filing those papers by this time next year, all bets are off.

* One quick note: I've entered the world of Twitter and have been using that forum for random thoughts, tidbits and updates that can come by way of my phone (whereas a blog requires being in front of the computer). Feel free to follow...

Since I'm short on content this time around, I'll lean on the good ol' Rise Guys over at KHTK for a couple of recent segments.

Mayor Kevin Johnson talks about the Cal Expo proposal unveiling

The boys and I break down the Kings' trades

Kevin Martin's personal coach and ESPN analyst, David Thorpe, talks about his prized pupil and his team (As a side note, Martin nearly didn't play at Utah on Saturday after tweaking his left ankle a few games ago. The upcoming off days should be huge for him, though; as an additional sidenote/review, I spent some time at Thorpe's facility in Florida last summer for this piece.)
- Sam Amick

March 1, 2009
Gooden agrees to buyout from Kings, is waived

UPDATE (8:16 P.M.): Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie has confirmed the buyout.

"It's something going forward that we think made sense for us given where we are, and it made sense for him," Petrie said this evening by cell phone. "It got done about 25 minutes ago."

***

Drew Gooden's Sacramento stay is over.

The forward acquired Feb. 18 in the six-player trade with Chicago has agreed to a buyout agreement with the Kings and has been waived, according to sources close to Gooden with knowledge of the situation. He has an expiring contract and is owed $7.1 million this season, but Gooden had an interest in joining a playoff team in the season's final months. To do so, he had to be waived before tonight's 9 p.m. Pacific deadline for postseason roster eligibility. The Kings, according to the sources, saved approximately $2 million in the deal.

Gooden - who had been exploring this option in recent days - will likely be on his way to a more competitive team. Cleveland could be a possibility, as could San Antonio.

While Gooden has missed his last two games with a groin injury that kept him out of action from Jan. 19 until his Kings debut on Wednesday, he remains committed to playing "until the wheels fall off" this season, as he said recently. While Gooden wasn't fully healthy in his one game with the Kings against Charlotte, he had 12 points and 13 rebounds in 26 minutes before leaving the floor hobbling in the fourth quarter. - Sam Amick

March 1, 2009
Gooden, Kings close to buyout agreement

Drew Gooden's Sacramento stay may be over soon.

The forward acquired Feb. 18 in the six-player trade with Chicago is close to a buyout agreement with the Kings, according to sources close to Gooden with knowledge of the situation. He has an expiring contract and is owed $7.1 million this season, but Gooden has interest in joining a playoff team before tonight's 9 p.m. Pacific deadline for postseason roster eligibility while the Kings have a raised interest in saving money. He would have to be waived by the deadline to be able to join a new team.

While the agreement hasn't been finalized, it appears on track to be completed and Gooden - who had been exploring this option in recent days - will likely be on his way to a more competitive team. Cleveland could be a possibility, as could San Antonio.

While Gooden has missed his last two games with a groin injury that kept him out of action from Jan. 19 until his Kings debut on Wednesday, he remains committed to playing "until the wheels fall off" this season, as he said recently. While Gooden wasn't fully healthy in his one game with the Kings against Charlotte, he had 12 points and 13 rebounds in 26 minutes before leaving the floor hobbling in the fourth quarter. - Sam Amick



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