Kings Blog and Q&A

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

May 30, 2009
Jonny be good for Kings?

Editing stories in the newspaper business can be thankless work, with writers too often not saying a word when copy desk folks get it right (which is 99 percent of the time) only to scream indignation when there's a rare mistake.

But sometimes the imperfect (but wholly vital) process can produce a laugh, as was the case with my story on some of the Kings' point guard prospects today.

Two separate thoughts about how 1) Syracuse's Jonny Flynn was a former teammate of Kings small forward Donte' Greene and 2) league executives are impressed by Flynn, somehow became a hybrid sentence that was worth a chuckle...

"Kings small forward and former Syracuse teammate Donte' Greene said there is little doubt among team executives that Flynn will lead, produce and entertain..."

Since I clearly can't convey the point, well, clearly, and since Flynn is a well-spoken youngster on his own, we'll just go ahead and let him explain why he would be a good fit for the Kings if they A) picked him surprisingly-high at No. 4 or B) traded down to get him a bit lower in the June 25 draft. This is one in what will be occasional video from the NBA's Pre-draft Combine in Chicago that concluded on Friday.

Be sure to look at Sunday's Bee for Part 2 of the look at possible point guard picks (who attended the Combine, which means no Ricky Rubio or Brandon Jennings).

May 30, 2009
What's next in coaching search? Westphal looking good

CHICAGO - Tom Thibodeau is in Las Vegas today, where he will add to his resume' with yet another head coaching interview and likely disappear from there.

No one I've spoken to sees him as the eventual Kings head coach, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't show up and make his pitch anyway. On his end, it's a no-brainer for any lifelong assistant. On the Kings' end, maybe they'll pick up a few defensive nuggets during the chat that can help with that cause for their team.

From there, Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis is expected to come into Las Vegas soon for his interview. And while I've been told that he is a more realistic candidate for the post, I would tend to disagree with Phil Jasner's assertion that he's a "likely front-runner" for the post.

Paul Westphal is still in good standing, with a significant edge in almost every category the Kings have made relevant. There's his record (267-159), which stands alone when compared to his competitors for this post. There's his vibe with Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie, who had no prior relationship with Westphal but who seemed to gain a quick comfort level with him. And as we said would be the case all along, there's the financial factor.

Long before Eddie Jordan was signing with Philly for a three-year guaranteed deal worth $2 million, $3 million and $3.1 million, Westphal's camp was agreeing to handshake terms of a deal that fell more in line with what Kings co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof preferred. According to two sources with knowledge of the situation, Westphal's price tag will be $1.5 million per season.

Could Rambis come in and wow his way into the lead spot? Absolutely. But Westphal, to be sure, is the man out in front. - Sam Amick

May 29, 2009
Petrie on Predraft Combine...

CHICAGO - Check out tomorrow's paper for a breakdown of Kings' point guard possibilities on the higher end of the draft, with a follow-up for Sunday's paper looking at point guards in the lower levels (the disclaimer is I left out guys who weren't in Chicago like Ricky Rubio and Brandon Jennings).

But just six of the Kings' 18 requested interviews at the Predraft Combine were point guards (or at least 1-2 guards), so there will be plenty of more prospects to get into from here. On the overall front, I spoke with Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie about the three-day event on his way out of town.

On whether the lack of scrimmages this year made it more challenging to get a better feel for prospects...

"I don't think it's made it any more challenging. I think there was value here, at least for us. Having the three picks and being able to do the number of interviews that we did (and with) the format of the's just one more chance to see players do something. You get another sense of their actual size and what not....It's one more look. No amount of information is too much, and it's more information.

On the interviews with players, which lasted approximately 30 minutes each and wound up totaling 17. There were four for the Kings on Wednesday, nine on Friday and four on Saturday...

"At some point, you have to make the best judgment that you can on talent. And then all these other things play in after that...You're trying to give everybody a fair chance (in the interviews). I think there's some merit and virtue in giving all the players a chance to answer a lot of the same questions, but sometimes that may lead other places. It was good. I don't know that (players) prepare for something like that, but I was really impressed with the overall thoughtfulness and quality of the answers that they all gave."

On whether the Combine helped him get "a good grip" on what the Clippers, Memphis, and Oklahoma City plan to do ahead of the Kings before their first pick at No. 4...

"I wouldn't say that. I'm glad we don't have to make a decision today. There's more work to do." - Sam Amick

May 29, 2009
No Return for Jordan?

The list of candidates for the Kings head coaching vacancy apparently just got shorter. is reporting that former Washington Wizards and Kings coach Eddie Jordan has been offered the same position with the Philadelphia 76ers. The Bee's Sam Amick has confirmed the offer and been told by sources that Jordan will accept.

Meantime, Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie still plans to meet with assistants Tom Thibodeau and Kurt Rambis.

May 29, 2009
Draft measurements released

CHICAGO - It's 2009, and the NBA just handed the media two pieces of paper connected by a staple. But because the papers hold the official measurements from Predraft Combine - and with no answer as to why this information couldn't be transmitted in digital form - someone has gone to the trouble of transferring said info. That someone was going to be me until I noticed that DraftExpress was a little quicker on that front, so click here to see the breakdowns.

Of most relevant to the Kings (at least at first glance) is the confirmation that Tyreke Evans (Memphis point guard/shooting guard) is a physical freak. He stands 6-foot-4, yet has a wingspan of 6-11 1/4. That's just plain old ridiculous, and the Kings were high on him before that news came out. Those wings could come in handy slowing down opposing offenses at the top of the defense or helping clog passing lanes.

On the flip side, UConn's Hasheem Thabeet isn't the 7-3 monster everyone said he was. He is 7-1 1/4 without shoes on and 7-2 1/2 with shoes. - Sam Amick

May 28, 2009
Twitter alert from Chi-town

CHICAGO - It's going to take some time to sift through all the interview material that's being compiled out here.

Some of it will be in the paper soon and some down the road a bit, but there's no reason we can't share some of the more humourous/interesting/surprising nuggets regarding draft prospects by way of Twitter. So for those looking for morsels of information along the way, follow me on Twitter by clicking on this page. - Sam Amick

May 28, 2009
The workout that is following draft workouts

CHICAGO - As I pound away transcribing interviews inside the Windy City Westin for pre-draft camp, the next significant event in the draft process is just around the corner.

Time-wise more than geographically-speaking, of course.

The list of players for the June 1 and June 2 group workouts in Oakland has been released, so I figured I'd share before getting back to the goings-on out here. The Kings will be among the teams in attendance, with approximately two-thirds of the league believed to be represented. For now, you're getting names only for the sake of expediency. Feel free to Google the players to learn more.

June 1

Group 1: Joe Ingles, Damion James, Marcus Thornton, Sam Young, Jeff Pendergraph, Luke Harangody,

Group 2: Jeff Teague, Eric Maynor, Patrick Mills, Derrick Brown, Taj Gibson, TBD player

June 2

Group 3: Terrence Williams, Chase Budinger, Dionte Christmas, Ater Majok, Tyler Hansbrough, Gani Lawal

Group 4: Omri Casspi, Austin Daye, BJ Mullens, Luke Nevill, Darren Collison, Daniel Hackett

- Sam Amick

May 27, 2009
The draft process continues (and Donte' Greene saves a life)

The pre-draft camp isn't what it used to be, but it's here nonetheless.

Starting Wednesday night in Chicago, the event that included scrimmages among the prospects until this year begins. Quick backstory here: The complaint among teams in the past was that agents of the top-tier prospects consistently kept their clients away from pre-draft camp for fear their stock would fall if they had a bad showing against a "lesser" player, so guys like Blake Griffin would be nowhere to be found. So now the big names are back, but the most interesting aspect is gone: the actual playing.

It's all workouts and weigh-ins and interviews - those between the front office types and the players as well as the media and the players. I'll be there for the festivities, hoping to copycat the Kings in their lineup of requested sitdowns. Here's their wish list, as follows ...

Omri Casspi (Maccabi Elite, Israel), Earl Clark (Louisville), Darren Collison (UCLA), DeMar DeRozan (USC), Tyreke Evans (Memphis), Jonny Flynn (Syracuse), Blake Griffin (Oklahoma), James Harden (Arizona State), Jordan Hill (Arizona), Damion James (Texas), Gani Lawal (Georgia Tech), Ty Lawson (North Carolina), Eric Maynor (VCU), Jerel McNeal (Marquette), Jeff Teague (Wake Forest), Hasheem Thabeet (UConn), Greivis Vasquez (Maryland), and Terrence Williams (Louisville).

The media gets no viewing party like the old days, meaning we not only don't see the players in action but also won't be on hand to watch GMs talk shop at what has historically been an active time for trade talk. I'll have more on location, trying to gather all that is there for the taking.

I also wanted to give a quick coaching update. It sounds like the Tom Thibodeau interview could be Saturday in Las Vegas, but I don't believe that's for sure. Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis, to review, won't be interviewed until the conclusion of the Western Conference finals with Denver. Rambis, however, is reportedly out of the running for the only other vacancy in Philadelphia. And fellow Kings candidates Eddie Jordan and Paul Westphal patiently wait ...

As for the teaser about Greene, the soon-to-be second-year player told quite a tale on the radio today about his Memorial Day weekend. Listen here(about six minutes long). - Sam Amick

May 26, 2009
Hedo on a roll ...

John Raoux/AP

I wrote a column for Wednesday's Bee after speaking with former King Hedo Turkoglu, but he was so gracious with his time Monday afternoon, I wanted to add a few other notes. (And in case anyone missed it, his Orlando Magic defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in overtime earlier tonight to take a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference finals). Hedo played well, finishing with eight assists, seven rebounds, and 15 points, though he was only 5-of-13. His greatest asset remains his versatility, and his abilities as a 6-foot-10 playmaker. Jameer Nelson's season-ending injury prompted Magic coach Stan Van Gundy to demand even more of Turkoglu, a self-proclaimed slow developer. And, of course, all-around good guy and one of the most popular former Kings.

During our 45-minute conversation Monday, Hedo said he hoped Geoff Petrie was able to make significant offseason moves, maybe adding an exciting draft selection, to bring the buzz back to Arco. "The fans there are not asking for much," he said. "When we play there, I always get a standing ovation. My teammates turn to me and say, 'What did you do for these people?' I was only in Sacramento three years, but we had a great journey."

He also reminded me that current Kings assistant general manager Jason Levien - who was his agent/attorney at the time - extricated him from his contract with Efes Pilsen, the team he played for in his native Turkey. "I had to pay $1.5 million to get out of the contract," said Hedo, "and he was the guy. Then we started our journey."

Turkoglu, 30, can opt out of his contract with the Magic this summer, but he doesn't sound inclined to go anywhere. He enjoyed an excellent season, though his scoring dipped to 17 points and his field-goal percentage dropped to 41 percent. He described his team as "a bunch of young guys who don't have a lot of playoff experience, but who play hard. We don't have experienced players like CWebb and Vlade Divac. That team had incredible chemistry. But I was just a role player there. I have to be honest. I wanted to play more. Same thing in San Antonio. Here, what we are doing means more because Stan (Van Gundy) wants me to play the way I always want, with the ball in my hands. We just have to keep playing hard and see what happens. It's funny. Everyone back home is getting up at 3 o'clock in the morning to watch. They love what we're doing."

May 25, 2009
Thibodeau interview later this week

The Kings announced today that the interview with Boston assistant Tom Thibodeau will be later this week.

The team didn't disclose the day or location of the interview, nor have I heard the particulars just yet. I had heard that Thibodeau would be at pre-draft camp in Chicago this week (Thursday and Friday), which would make a meeting simple considering Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie will be there as well. Or, of course, the group could head off to the Palms in Las Vegas as they so often do.

Thibodeau and Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis are part of the second wave of Kings candidates, with Eddie Jordan and Paul Westphal waiting in the wings after they interviewed on May 12 and May 13, respectively. Rambis' interview will not take place before the Lakers' Western Conference FInals with Denver are completed. - Sam Amick

May 22, 2009
Jrue Holiday workout video

Since the Kings next draft workouts in Sacramento aren't expected until early next month, Jrue Holiday is getting quite a dose of the spotlight from Kings fans.

And so we continue with the show...

We've already discussed the UCLA point guard (and other prospects, and Ricky Rubio) in this column, this blog post, this post, and this post, but below is a five-minute video of his actual workout with the Kings Thursday courtesy of the team.

- Sam Amick

May 22, 2009
Prospect watch


Many of you might know me from my work on the Raiders. Now I'll be one of your sources for Kings and NBA information.

As the Kings bring in players for workouts I'll be looking at some of the lesser-known prospects. The fourth overall selection is the big pick, but the Kings have two more picks in the top-31. And with a roster that's almost certain to look different than the one that ended the season, there's a good chance a few undrafted rookies will find their way into training camp.

So here are a couple of prospects that worked out yesterday along with UCLA's Jrue Holiday.

Josh Akognon
5-11, 185, PG, Cal State Fullerton

Quick bio: Akognon put his name in the NBA Draft last year but returned to college where he averaged 23.9 points as a senior. He worked out twice for the Kings last year. He began his college career at Washington State, but left after one season. He said the Cougars' slow-paced style didn't suit his style.

"I led the team in scoring and I averaged 10 points," he said. "I just wanted to get into a more up-tempo system. People think it's more than that but it really isn't."

What he has to prove: That he can he can create for others. Akognon never averaged more than 1.6 assists in three college seasons.

Akognon said he could.

"What I was told to do in college was play the two (guard) and score," he said. "They didn't want me passing. They just told me to shoot the ball so that's what I did."

Kings fit: A change of pace point guard that would be available in the second round, possibly as a free agent.

John Bryant
6-11, 275, C, Santa Clara:

Quick bio: Bryant led the country in double doubles during the regular season (24), rebounds per game and total rebounds as a senior. He averaged 14.2 rebounds, up from 9.6 rebounds as a junior. He also averaged 18.1 points.

"I was able to stay on the floor longer," Bryant said of his improvement. "Just getting my body in better shape."

Bryant was the West Coast Conference Player of the Year.

What he has to prove: That he can continue to get in better shape. Bryant said his weight is up in the 280s right now, but his body fat percentage is down from 21 percent to 15 percent.

Kings fit: Draft is short on big men and Bryant might be worth a look at No. 31. If not, he's sure to be invited to a camp because players with size aren't easy to find.

--Jason Jones

May 21, 2009
Jrue offers a holiday surprise ...

Ben Howland probably expects the worst anyway, but when contacted Thursday afternoon and asked about his point guard, Jrue Holiday, who earlier in the day had worked out for the Kings, the UCLA coach was caught by surprise. And he didn't sound very excited. While Holiday cited Howland among those advising him about whether to stay in the 2009 NBA Draft or return to college for his sophomore season, Howland knew the one-time prep sensation had spent the previous few days in Florida, but said he had no clue about any audition with the Kings. Holiday, who is moving up on draft boards, is expected to work out in Phoenix early next week. Howland went on to to speak glowingly of his freshman, both as a player and an individual. But, no, he won't be stunned if his talented playmaker turns pro. "Jrue and his family will look at everything and make the right decision," said the coach, adding that "both his parents are coaches."

Ricky Rubio Can Just Say "No"

I am continuing to hear confirmation of the news - first reported by DraftExpress - that Ricky Rubio has no interest in playing for Memphis or Oklahoma, the teams that will draft at Nos. 2 and 3, and that his agent, Dan Fegan, is trying to position the Spanish point guard in Los Angeles (1) or Sacramento (4). This could get very interesting. While there have been numerous examples of players discouraging teams from drafting them or forcing trades (Kobe Bryant, John Elway, Kiki Vandeweghe and Eli Manning, among others), Rubio has unusual leverage because he has to buy out the final two years of his contract with DKV Joventut before he can play in the league. The NBA team wanting to draft him can only contribute $500,000 toward the buyout, which means the youngster has to produce an amount estimated at $7-$10 millon, depending on the exchange rate.

Not that the Kings are strangers to extricating their first-round draft choices from sticky situations, by the way. The club's attorneys helped Peja Stojakovic and Hedo Turkoglu gain their releases from their respective teams in Greece and Turkey.

A Final Word on the Kenyon Martin/Joe Maloof Spat

Watching the Denver Nuggets' victory over the Lakers earlier tonight reminded me that I have neglected to mention that Joe Maloof and Kenyon Martin are buddies again. Or, at least, that they're no longer publicly spewing venom toward one another. For those who might have forgotten, Martin tagged Spencer Hawes with a nasty forearm to the chest during the Kings-Nuggets game during the final week of the season. Hawes crumpled to the floor, grabbed the knee that already has been subjected to arthroscopies and microfracture surgery, in serious discomfort. He flew home the following day for tests, but before results of the MRI were revealed - nothing broken, nothing torn - the Kings' co-owner blasted Martin, calling his act "thuggery" and urging the NBA to take stronger measures against players who commit hard fouls on opponents who are airborne. Martin ripped right back, saying among other things, that he had no intention of apologizing to the Kings or their owners, and that Joe Maloof should be more concerned with his 17-win team.

"What I didn't know," Maloof said the other day, "until I talked to Spencer later, was that Kenyon apologized to him after the game. I had no idea. When I popped off ... I was just worried, and I reacted. And Kenyon was right. I do (laugh) have more important things to worry about."

Before Mark Cuban got into his own tiff with the rugged Nuggets forward during the Denver-Dallas playoff series - that thug word again - Maloof said he had Kings publicist Troy Hansen relay his apology via the Nuggets. "I want to personally apologize," said Maloof, "and we're planning to talk after the playoffs. I don't want to be a distraction." And you just know Maloof was delighted with Martin's crucial late-game contributions in Game 2 against the Lakers ....

May 21, 2009
Kings first workout features Jrue Holiday; coaching search update

Anyone who has peeked at the many mock drafts that are out there knows that Jrue Holiday's name isn't typically anywhere near the top five.

So after the 18-year-old who spent one season at UCLA worked out for the Kings on Thursday afternoon, I asked if he could honestly see himself deserving the call when they make the No. 4 pick on June 25.

"I see myself as a No. 1 pick," Holiday quickly responded. "That's what I'm shooting for. I'm shooting for the best, shooting for the stars. The sky's the limit. That's what I'm going for. The Clippers have (No. 1 pick). That's right at home."

Of course he could settle for No. 4 too.

"I think it'd be great (to wind up in Sacramento)," Holiday said. "I heard that they need a new point guard. That's what I'm here for. I'm definitely here to run the team and distribute the ball to Kevin Martin and (Francisco) Garcia. I think I could really fit in here."

Ailene Voisin will have more on Holiday in tomorrow's paper, but here's the cliff notes on the Kings' first draft workout that also included guards Aaron Jackson (Duquesne), Josh Akognon (Cal State Fullerton), Brandon Ewing (Wyoming), forward Tremaine Townsend (Cal State Northridge), and center John Bryant (Santa Clara).

May 20, 2009
The point guard auditions begin ...
BLOG UPDATE: The Kings announced the prospects who will be joining Jrue Holiday in Thursday's workout. Beyond the UCLA point guard, it will be guards Aaron Jackson (Duquesne), Josh Akognon (Cal State Fullerton), Brandon Ewing (Wyoming), forward Tremaine Townsend (Cal State Northridge), and center John Bryant (Santa Clara).

Now that the Kings know their draft position in the lottery, where they will be selecting the No.4 pick (along with picks No.23 and 31), the emphasis within organization switches to the ongoing coaching search and the individual workouts. As Sam Amick revealed last night, interviews with assistants Kurt Rambis and Tom Thibodeau are expected, though it's unlikely Geoff Petrie will meet with Rambis until the Lakers are between series' or out of the playoffs.

But potential draft prospects already are coming to town. UCLA guard Jrue Holiday will be the first of possibly 30 or 40 players to audition at the Kings' practice facility, when he arrives for his noon workout on Thursday. The sessions will include running, shooting drills and three-on-three sessions, with Petrie directing the action as usual. (The other five participants are considered longshots to make the league, though most cling to their dream). Also, in contrast to seasons past, Petrie is allowing members of the media to watch the three-on-three sessions and talk to the players afterward.

What we already know about Holiday is this: He holds some intrigue, though probably not at No.4. If the Kings like what they see, they might try to move back a few spots to grab him. The 6-foot-4 Holiday struggled in the backcourt with Darren Collison in his only college season, partly, he claims, because he is more comfortable as a primary ballhandler than shooting guard. None of his statistics are overwhelming. But he was a highly regarded prep star known as an excellent finisher at the basket with good defensive instincts, and a shaky outside shot.

May 20, 2009
Rambis, Thibodeau interviews appear to be in works
BLOG UPDATE (4:23 p.m.): Per the below post, Lakers PR man John Black said Petrie and Kupchak spoke and permission was granted. The one caveat, according to Black, is that the interview would not take place until the Lakers are either between playoff series or have been eliminated by Denver.

Just as Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof indicated on Tuesday night, his team appears to be in the process of setting up Round Two of the coaching search with Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis and Boston assistant Tom Thibodeau.

I just spoke with Lakers vice president of public relations John Black regarding Rambis. He said that Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak had played phone tag today, but the assumption on that side was that the Kings were calling to request permission to speak with Rambis. Black said permission would be granted. I should be able to get a more definitive word in a few hours and update this blog post.

As for Thibodeau, Boston general manager Danny Ainge just relayed word that the Kings called regarding the defensive guru this afternoon for permission. The irony, of course, is that Ainge himself pointed out just a few days ago that because the Celtics are out of the playoffs and Thibodeau's contract is up this summer, no permission is needed. If nothing else, though, it could be a matter of respect to call Ainge on the matter.

Both coaches are also being considered for the Philadelphia head coaching vacancy, with Rambis having already interviewed and Thibodeau expected to do so soon. - Sam Amick

May 20, 2009
A Lottery letdown for Kings

Coverage in print: Story, sidebar, Voisin column

Gavin Maloof just kept going.

With a mob of media around him at the back of Center Court restaurant on Tuesday, the Kings co-owner and casino man whose team so badly needed a premier pick in the draft lottery kept insisting he wasn't mad at Lady Luck.

Sure they had drawn a pair when they needed a royal flush - being awarded the worst of all possible options with the fourth pick - but this hand wasn't completely lost.

"(Kings basketball president) Geoff (Petrie) is going to come out with a rabbit in the hat, but you don't even need a rabbit with the fourth pick," Maloof said. "You're going to get an impact player there. In the NBA, normally your impact players are top five. And then after that, it gets a little dicey. But again, this is the first top four pick we've had in 18 years, so this is new ground for Kings fans. It's something they can get excited about and help take our franchise to the next level.
"My mindset going in was that this was a win-win for us. Twenty six other teams wish they had our pick. I look at it that way."

Just as Gavin was providing his pep talk for anyone who would listen, Kings director of player personnel Jerry Reynolds was reminding the masses that even the most-seemingly predictable of drafts can be unpredictable.

May 19, 2009
Kings get No. 4 pick in draft

At the table inside Chris Webber's Center Court restaurant in Natomas, Kings co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof sat with their mother, Colleen, near a bowl of faux ping pong balls while awaiting their fate in the draft lottery across the country in Secaucus, N.J..

And while the party favors were all inscribed with the Kings logo next to a "#1,", their hopes for the top pick did not transpire as they were assigned the No. 4 pick in the June 25 draft.

After a moment of silence at the table, Gavin Maloof collected himself and said, "That's all right. That's all right. We'll get somebody good."

The Clippers, who had a 17.7 percent chance for the top pick, were awarded No. 1. They were followed by Memphis and Oklahoma City. The Kings, who had the league's worst record, had a 25 percent chance at the top pick. - Sam Amick

May 19, 2009
Kings to interview Thibodeau, Rambis

Things are getting going here at Center Court with the lottery coming soon, but there's news already.

Gavin Maloof just told The Bee that the Kings will be expanding their coaching search to include Boston assistant Tom Thibodeau and Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis. More to come...

May 18, 2009
Philadelphia targets Thibodeau, but Kings do not

Eddie Jordan is no longer the only candidate for the Philadelphia job, as the 76ers last week requested permission to speak with Boston assistant Tom Thibodeau.

That could obviously impact the Kings search, as Jordan remains in the running with Paul Westphal and it remains unclear whether more candidates will be brought in. For what it's worth, I just spoke with Boston GM Danny Ainge, who said the Kings have not contacted the Celtics about Thibodeau. As Ainge pointed out, permission is no longer needed now that the Celtics are out of the playoffs and any communication could be direct between the Kings and the lead assistant so widely respected for his defensive teachings. Thibodeau's contract expires this summer with Boston.

While Thibodeau does not fit the Kings' parameters of a coach who has previous head coaching experience in the NBA, the then-Houston assistant was a candidate two years ago before the job went to Reggie Theus. - Sam Amick

May 18, 2009
Lottery party at Webber's restaurant

There's one day left until the Kings learn where they'll pick in the June 25 draft, and Chris Webber and the Kings have themselves quite the mutually-beneficial relationship going on tomorrow.

With the lottery taking place in Secaucus, N.J., and set to begin at 5 p.m. Pacific, the former Kings forward will be representing his former team while holding a party in his restaurant back in Sacramento. The event will include Kings director of player personnel Jerry Reynolds and KHTK personalities Mike Lamb and Grant Napear, with Kings co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof expected to be in attendance as well.

Fans can receive an e-ticket that guarantees access to special reserved seating at the party through There will - according to the team's release - be a family fun zone with a bounce house, basketball hoop, balloon artist and face painter, and music by DJ Armon. The restaurant is located at 3600 North Freeway Blvd., Sacramento. Call 916-419-4667 if you need to call.

Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie won't be at the event, as he is still in Spain watching draft prospect Ricky Rubio. While Petrie planned on having two Rubio viewings on this trip, the dazzling point guard who is in the playoffs with his DKV Joventut team left Saturday's game with an injury after just 10 minutes of action. Today, however, he had 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists in a win while playing 30 minutes. - Sam Amick

May 15, 2009
A sad day with the passing of Tisdale


Even though I never knew the man, my heart dropped when I heard the news this morning. Wayman Tisdale, 44, had left us way too early.

I had heard the stories from the old Kings days, read the stories about his fight against cancer and seen the stories that surely inspired.

And every time a day of yard work at home meant I would slip on the t-shirt that commemorated the beginning of basketball in Oklahoma City, my one memory of Tisdale and his joyful spirit would come rushing back.

On Nov. 1, 2005, in Oklahoma City, the accomplished jazz musician and beloved Oklahoma Sooner was asked to perform the national anthem for what was sure to be a powerful evening. Hurricane Katrina had moved the Hornets out of the Bayou, with the organization relocating into a city that already knew a thing or two about tragedy and was ecstatic about the team's new arrival.

With the lights dimmed and the arena electric, Tisdale - who had saxophone accompaniment - picked up his bass guitar and met the moment. He carried the tune that came with no vocals, the performance a musical delight and just slow enough for the mood to build and no one wanting it to end. It was a special touch on a special night from someone who so many said was a special man. Our condolences to the Tisdale family. From those who knew him to those who wish they did, he will be missed. - Sam Amick

May 15, 2009
Kevin Johnson, Mark Cuban, and Charles Barkley back Westphal for Kings

The Kings coaching search is back in neutral, mostly because basketball president Geoff Petrie is back in Spain until Tuesday's draft lottery day but also because there is much to deliberate.

Ailene Voisin summed it up well in this post, and the undecided options remain as such...

a) Offer Eddie Jordan the job (which obviously hasn't happened)

b) Wait and see how the Philadelphia situation plays out with Jordan, who interviews Friday. He is reportedly more interested in the Sixers job and has yet to find anyone who doesn't understand why.

c) Offer Westphal the job (which obviously hasn't happened)

d) Wait until the Tuesday draft lottery to see if - depending on whether Kings get first, second, third, or fourth pick - the job might become more attractive to other candidates, then bring more coaches in. (Or, of course, just bring more coaches in for the sake of bringing more coaches in)

May 14, 2009
Adelman, Jackson, and those seventh games ....

Having throughly enjoyed the memorable seventh game of the Kings-Lakers conference finals in 2002, I am totally engrossed in this seven-game series between the heavily favored Lakers and the injury-depleted Houston Rockets. Even without the injured Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming and (reitired) Dikembe Mutombo, the Rockets have a lot to offer. Daryl Morey has done an exceptional job manipulating the salary cap and assembling a deep, talented roster. Equally important, the pieces fit. The point guard (Aaron Brooks) breaks down defenses. Ron Artest and Shane Battier are lockdown defenders and opportunistic scorers. Luis Scola is a physical, if undersized low post performer. And Carl Landry and Kyle Lowry are solid, important contributors off the bench.

But it only works because Rick Adelman is coaching this team like he doesn't give a hoot what his boss says or whether he returns next season. He isn't catering to an ailing superstar (think Chris Webber and Tracy McGrady), worrying about playing popular rookie Jason Williams when Vernon Maxwell or Tariq Abdul-Wahad should have been on the floor for the final defensive possession against the Utah Jazz (Game 4, 1999), or sticking with the struggling Doug Christie and Peja Stojakovic in Game 7 vs; the Lakers in 2002 when Scot Pollard and Bobby Jackson were the only Kings who weren't swallowed by the moment.

Frankly, it's fascinating to watch the hyper sensitive Adelman coaching to his players' strengths (defense) and not fretting about what his general manager or his owners or the media thinks, or worrying about playing this player or that player because they make more money than someone else. As they say, coaches evolve. I wouldn't be shocked if the Rockets upset the Lakers Sunday in Staples Center. Adelman is overdue. And Phil Jackson seems far from enamored of his club - for all its talent. I can't remember ever hearing him sound so accepting of so many lopsided losses. Maybe he's just tired ...

Jumping at the chance

Increasingly, it sounds as if Eddie Jordan would take the Philadelphia 76ers head coaching job if offered, which would eliminate him from the Kings' situation. The reasoning is pretty obvious. Sixers GM Ed Stefanski has more security than Geoff Petrie, the Comcast-owned club figures to be more generous with its offer than the small-market Kings, and the Sixers roster has better talent. Nonetheless, my sources in Philadelphia are telling me that Jordan would be a tough sell in the famously demanding market. The Sixers historically labor to fill the building - there were plenty of seats even during those classic Bird-Erving playoffs in the 1980s - and they trail the Eagles, Phillies and Flyers in popularity. There is a lingering suspicion among media types, in fact, that Stefanski, who has been friendly with Jordan since their time with the New Jersey Nets, might be pressed to pursue a higher profile coach such as Jeff Van Gundy (supposedly interested) or Doug Collins (definitely interested)..

Petrie is in Europe for the next few days, scouting Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio, so no movement is expected on the Kings coaching situation until he returns late Tuesday. But it could get interesting, particularly if the Kings win one of the first two picks Tuesday in the annual Draft Lottery. The job suddenly would become more appealing, and perhaps convince Petrie and the Maloofs to expand their search beyond Jordan and Paul Westphal.

May 13, 2009
The importance of being ... a coach

While watching television clips from Chuck Daly's funeral earlier today, and later, speaking with a few people who attended the memorial services in Jupiter, Fla., I was reminded of how skillfully Chuck dealt with the huge egos and personalities on the Detroit Pistons' championship teams (1989-90), as well as being the perfect choice to coach the original Dream Team in 1992. A college coach before becoming an NBA assistant and getting his first head coaching job with Ted Stepien's hapless Cleveland Cavaliers, Daly had a terrific temperament, and never sweat the small stuff. He was one of those coaches who clearly enjoy the attention that comes with the job. I'll never forget how graciously he dealt with the international media during the Dream Team's summer tour (La Jolla, Portland, Monte Carlo, Barcelona), and how he went to great lengths to accommodate journalists whose English language skills were lacking. He was unfailingly patient, helpful, and good-humored. I'll miss calling and pestering him for his insights.
The last time we spoke, incidentally, he said he couldn't understand why Laimbeer - whom he called "Billy" - wasn't coaching in the NBA. As he described his former center as intelligent, strong-willed, and not nearly as nasty as his image, Daly's voice became louder and louder. He was clearly ticked. He finished by saying that some club should take a chance on Laimbeer because "they'll get themselves one helluva coach."
Okay, so I wasn't going to say that the Kings should give Laimbeer a call if they intend to expand their list of coaching candidates beyond Eddie Jordan and Paul Westphal, but I changed my mind. Laimbeer has won three WNBA titles in his six seasons with the Detroit Shock, owns an impressive NBA pedigree, has a toughness and swagger about him, so, no, I don't understand it, either.

Speaking of swagger, defense, dynamic ....

When I filled in for Kings beat writer Sam Amick on the Kings final road trip to Denver, I asked Nuggets coach George Karl what prompted his change in philosophy. Or, I should say, what prompted his return to his old philosophy. Until the past few years, he was a disciple of the Larry Brown/Gregg Popovich school that stresses defense over offense. So, here is his explanation, which was offered weeks before his Nuggets eliminated the Dallas Mavericks and advanced to their first conference finals since 1985: "Two years ago, we decided to teach the game from the offensive end of the court, which I've never done before. But the (Mike) D'Antoni success, the Doug Moe philosophy ... so we threw it all out there. It's sort of like teaching the triangle or the Princeton offense. Offense comes first. Your practices are offense, spacing, timing. And I've never coached that way. We did it. We had some success. But last year, when it was all over (first round playoff exit), Grg (assistant Tim Grgurich) and I went in my office, and he said, 'we can't do this (bleep) any more.' And I said, 'you're right.' And so, much of it is me being comfortable again. And we started at training camp, with the culture, everything being defensive drills, defensive stations. The practice evolved, and. I would say for the first two months, we had 20-30 minutes of stations, thinking that pro guys would rebel from it, but saying this is what we were going to do. We went further with it, a lot further than I had ever done before. It kind of rubbed off a little bit. Plus, we have really good defensive guys. Chauncey (Billups) coming in this year, he believes in that ..."

Goodbye to Koz

Can't log off without wishing the best for Jim Kozimor, the longtime Kings/Monarchs broadcaster who was among the club's employees laid off earlier this week because of budget cuts. I was particularly appreciative of his passion and professionalism regarding the Monarchs. Hopefully he isn't out of work for long.

May 13, 2009
Petrie on Westphal and coaching search

LAS VEGAS - I spoke with Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie a while ago about the today's interview with Paul Westphal and wanted to share before running off to the airport.


"(The interview with Westphal) was good. He was impressive. I thought he had a really good working knowledge of our team as it currently exists. We went through a lot of important things, style of play on both ends of the court and he talked about his development as a coach. He had a close involvement with the renaissance of the (Phoenix) Suns in the early 90s and a long-term involvement with Phoenix. He's an impressive guy."

On whether Westphal's absence from a head coaching spot in recent years (he last coached Seattle in 2000 before coaching at Pepperdine for five seasons, then becoming a Dallas assistant under Avery Johnson and later the Mavericks' vice president of basketball operations).

"He was on the bench with Avery Johnson down in Dallas, he broadcast games for both the Lakers and the Clippers. He hasn't been detached from the game, and I don't think you forget about coaching when you've been involved with basketball - anyone who has been involved with basketball as long as he has."

On what's next

"We're going to talk some more, (Kings co-owners) Joe (Maloof) and Gavin (Maloof) and I, and at some point we'll decide what direction we're going to go, whatever that is. It's still open-ended I'd say at this point. We're going to talk some more and decide where we're going to go from there."

On whether he had much of a prior relationship with Westphal...

"I haven't had any personal experiences (with him), other than that I competed against him and at a distance, as a player to some extent."

Gotta go... - Sam Amick

May 13, 2009
Joe Maloof says Kings won't rush to coaching judgment

LAS VEGAS - Round One of the Kings coaching interviews is over, with no sign yet as to whether there will be a Round Two.

But after Eddie Jordan made his pitch on Tuesday and Paul Westphal followed suit today, Kings co-owner Joe Maloof indicated that there won't be a quick resolution to this process no matter the extenuating circumstances.

"I think what's next now is that we've had two wonderful interviews with two very successful guys that have had great success in the NBA, and I think the next step is that (Kings basketball president) Geoff (Petrie) is going to go to Europe (Spain) to see (Ricky) Rubio play in the next couple of days (on Thursday)," Maloof said by phone. "And when he gets back I'm sure we'll get together again - Geoff Petrie and Gavin (Maloof) and I - and discuss what our next step is going to be."

Specifically, Maloof said the fact that Jordan is scheduled to interview with Philadelphia on Friday won't impact what happens from here on the Kings end.

"No, I think that's great that Eddie is getting another interview," Joe Maloof said. "That's a tribute to him, but I don't think that's going to affect us one way or another."

We'll have more coverage in tomorrow's paper about Westphal's interview... - Sam Amick

May 13, 2009
Jordan interview with Philadelphia on Friday

As a follow-up to the previous post, I've been informed that the Eddie Jordan interview with Philadelphia is on Friday. - Sam Amick

May 13, 2009
Jordan leaves company of Kings, but will he return?

LAS VEGAS - Eddie Jordan is gone from the Palms, heading East again and scheduled to repeat this interview process again with another team in the coming days.

Unless, of course, the Kings bring the whole courting process to a halt with the right kind of offer. And rest assured, they aren't alone in the Jordan sweepstakes.

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Philadelphia has scheduled an interview with Jordan for later this week. While the exact day is not known, the fact that there has been contact makes Jordan different from fellow rumored candidate Doug Collins. When Jordan and I spoke last night, it certainly sounded as if he expected to talk with the Sixers folks in the coming days unless the Kings made up his mind for him.

Paul Westphal is in today for his interview, so be sure to check back in for updates. - Sam Amick

May 13, 2009
Jordan makes his case

LAS VEGAS - Eddie Jordan had a few minutes to chat before heading off to a late-night dinner with Geoff Petrie, and that alone should be a reminder that he's in a class all his own in this Kings search.

Having just missed catching up with him on the casino floor, I caught Jordan by phone and he was more than willing to talk about the interview that had just gone down with the team's basketball president and Kings co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof. Here are his thoughts that didn't make today's story, followed by the extensive thoughts of Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof. To review, the interview took place inside a room in the Palms Tower of the hotel. Jordan's case has been made and is over with, while Paul Westphal is up tomorrow.

Below is the extra material that is not in the story. Also be sure to read Ailene Voisin's column on the situation. Lastly, the early opinion from the fans is looking good for Jordan.


On the Kings' unofficial mantra of "nowhere to go but up" and whether the reality of almost-certain improvement makes this an appealing job...

"No. 1, there's no guarantee that things are going to get better. There are no guarantees in the NBA. The NBA is a tough league to win in. You've got to have the main guys developing. You've got to have the main guys healthy. You've got to get through an 82-game schedule. There's no guarantee. As soon as you think that things can get better, sometimes they don't. You just have to put in the hard work, have a lot of trust, and you know sometimes you have to have good luck.

"It's going to be exciting to see the lottery next week. Let's see where everybody is going to be as far as picking. That'll be exciting. And I just want to take it step by step. Go through the process, get to know Joe and Gavin and the roster. They had good ideas, we had great discussion, great dialogue. We'll see if there's an offer, if they're going to interview other people. That sort of thing."

On whether Jordan's firing in 1998 plays any part in his desire to return to Sacramento...

"I told Geoff and the Maloofs this, I said, 'It worked out for the best for everybody.' Rick Adelman was a terrific coach, they were a terrific team, they did some exciting things in the NBA. I went on to help (then New Jersey head coach) Byron (Scott). Byron and I were part of the Nets (NBA) finals team two years in a row (2002 and 2003) and I got a head job (in Washington) and got to the playoffs four years in a row, did some things in Washington they hadn't done in 20 some-odd years, so it was the right decision. Pat Riley told me when I was let go (from Sacramento) that it was just a bump in the road. He said, 'You're a terrific coach, a lot of good things are going to happen. It's just a part of the journey, just a bump in the road. That's exactly what it was."


On how he perceived Jordan before meeting him for the first time and how the interview changed his perception...

"I knew his playoff record, four out of five years (qualifying for the) playoffs in Washington. I knew he was well liked in Sacramento, and the people in the organization all liked him personally. And I think Geoff has a fondness for him as well. That's kind of what I knew. And what I found out was that it's probably all true (laughs)....It was a good interview, and I really haven't heard a negative comment about him to be honest with you."

On what Jordan said about the current Kings...

"He likes our players, likes all the young guys that we have, thinks they could be very coachable. He's very impressed with Spencer (Hawes), Jason (Thompson) and of course Kevin (Martin) as well. He showed us defensive sets and what he did, offensive philosophies, spacing and all that.

On the topic of defense and the perception that teaching it is a weakness for Jordan...

"(The Wizards) had a really good defensive team two years ago. They played (well) against Detroit (in the playoffs). I think that's kind of the misnomer, that he was just offensive. You see what's happened (Denver coach) George Karl, that was the big knock on him that he was all offense and you just saw what they've done. They play some defense."

At this point, I mentioned that the coach the Kings let go back in 2006, Rick Adelman, could fall in the same category with his current team in Houston...

"Yeah, he's done a good job in the playoffs. Yeah, true, you're right. He has done a good job, no question."

On what's next...

"We're just following Geoff's lead, really. We don't have a timetable. We don't have any preconceived ideas. We're just following his lead. When he's comfortable and he's ready to act, then we'll probably be on the same path." - Sam Amick

May 13, 2009
Kings lose out as 'Koz' gets cut

LAS VEGAS - I'll be moving on to the Kings coaching search in Las Vegas with another blog post in mere moments here, but wanted to take a moment to lament the unfortunate layoff of Jim Kozimor today as part of the Kings' cuts.

The talented radio and TV man was always the finest of colleagues with me, eager to engage on all things Kings and always willing to compliment or criticize about the state of affairs in Kings land. He has always been intriguing on the air, a top-notch interviewer who mixes humor and substance with a light-hearted style. On TV, Kozimor, Kayte Christensen and Henry Turner were a goofy, yet informative, trio on the show which Kozimor says will no longer exist.

Having already left his evening radio show, Kozimor was admittedly stunned by the news. He opted to write out his thoughts instead of running the risk of saying more than he truly wanted to.

"It came as a huge shock and I am numb," he wrote in an e-mail. "I had a wonderful 11 season run and want to thank the Maloofs for this chance. I especially want to thank the fans, viewers and listeners and friends I made in the media. They made this a special time for me and my family. We will miss them." - Sam Amick

May 11, 2009
Westphal interview on Wednesday

As a quick follow-up to the word of the Kings' initial interviews, a league source tells me that Paul Westphal will be interviewed on Wednesday in Las Vegas.

He will, of course, take the baton from Eddie Jordan and do his best to run off with the vacant coaching spot. - Sam Amick

May 11, 2009
Jordan to interview Tuesday, Wednesday in Las Vegas

Michael Lee of The Washington Post caught up with Eddie Jordan, who reports that he will interview with Kings co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof and Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie in Las Vegas on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Considering the Philadelphia job opened up today and Jordan is expected to be pursued for that post, this is a wise move to start the courting sooner rather than (before it's too) later. - Sam Amick

May 11, 2009
Kings: Westphal to be interviewed this week

The Kings announced today that they plan to schedule an interview with Paul Westphal for their head coaching vacancy this week.

Westphal joins Eddie Jordan as the first two candidates to be targeted for interviews, and the former Phoenix and Seattle head coach is relevant beyond the obvious. While Jordan appears to be in a class all his own in this race, there are signs from his camp that he would strongly consider the Philadelphia job that - oh by the way - just became open.

The 76ers today announced that interim coach Tony DiLeo will return to the team's front office. And considering that every coach I've spoken with sees the Sixers' situation as more appealing on almost every front, not to mention Jordan's more recent familiarity with the Eastern Conference and the reality that it's easier to win on that side, that's something to watch. What's more, the possibility of a bidding war wouldn't likely go well for the Kings considering the Maloofs' desire to keep costs of all kinds down. The negotiating bar was raised a bit today also, as Toronto's Jay Triano was given a three-year deal (although I haven't seen any story indicating how many of the years are guaranteed or how much he was given).

If the Kings eventually lost out on Jordan's services, Westphal's stock would rise and he could have a stronger standing in his attempt to be a head coach for the first time since 2000. Since leaving the Sonics that year, Westphal was the coach at Pepperdine from 2001 until 2006 and is currently Dallas' executive vice president of basketball operations.

So long as Petrie is dictating the direction of the coaching search as Kings co-owner Joe Maloof said he would, it bodes well for Westphal that he is the second name to be officially acknowledged. Jordan has not yet been interviewed, but both are expected to be seen before Petrie leaves for Spain after this week. The Nuggets are currently up 3-0 in their series with Dallas and Game 4 is tonight in Dallas, meaning scheduling could become a little more simple if Denver can pull off the sweep. - Sam Amick

May 8, 2009
Kings: Jordan to be interviewed next week

A late-night post on the Kings' own blog reveals tonight that Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie intends to interview Eddie Jordan for their coaching vacancy next week (no date scheduled).

The word comes from Troy Hanson, the team's VP of media relations who is sharing insights and updates in his new forum. It should shock no one that Jordan is first on the list, just as I continue to be told that it should shock no one if this search winds up looking like a whole lot of dust that settles and finds Jordan all alone at the end as well.

Jordan, who was the Kings coach from late in the 1996-97 season until he was fired after the 1997-98, was Washington's head coach from 2003 until he was fired after the Wizards' 1-10 start last season. He has long been seen as a frontrunner, largely because of the element of familiarity on almost every level. There's his proficiency with the very Princeton offense that Petrie holds so dear, not to mention the well-known fact that Petrie never approved of the way in which Jordan's tenure in Sacramento ended. The decision to fire him was that of former owner Jim Thomas. - Sam Amick

May 8, 2009
The possibility of Pitino

Adrian Wojnarowski obviously took the ball and ran with it, but it now appears to be rolling around in the gutter.

There was a reason Rick Pitino's name entered the fray in Wednesday's paper, but his decision to gauge the Maloof's interest in him as a coaching candidate raises one all-important question about his resume'. Does he use Reggie Theus as a reference? Just wondering...

As for the viability of the situation regarding Pitino, there have been rumblings for some time now that he was looking for a way out for reasons of both the personal and professional nature. In fact, our own Ailene Voisin asked Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie about Pitino in an indirect way on the day Kenny Natt was let go. I dug into the voice recorder to get his response, which was...

Q (from Voisin): "Would you look at the college ranks, at coaches who had coached in the NBA, are you open to that?"

A (from Petrie): "Ummm (followed by a legitimate five-second pause)...I think that you have to have somebody that has had some level of success in the NBA at this point."

While my sources had indicated that the Maloofs are intrigued by the possibility of Pitino running the show, the other factors involved - from his current contract to his potential expectations on a possible new deal with the Kings - qualify this as a longshot (yes, I realize Louisville has said Pitino isn't going anywhere but what else can they say right now?). Truth be told, I continue to hear that Eddie Jordan is the frontrunner that for some reason hasn't been brought in yet, even if every passing day means the increased likelihood that Philadelphia puts interim coach Tony DiLeo in the front office and swoops in and picks Jordan up.

As for the notion that they're waiting for someone to fall out of the sky from the postseason, the only new possibility to keep an eye on would be Mike Woodson. The Atlanta coach and former Kings player is down 0-2 in his second-round series against Cleveland, so who knows if he comes under fire if the Hawks get swept. Woodson has one more season guaranteed on his contract, though, so that situation wouldn't be simple to navigate through either. - Sam Amick

May 7, 2009
Morning musings (from Ron-Ron to Byron)

Great hoops entertainment last night in Lakers-Rockets, and reminders during the game and certainly afterward as to how Ron Artest's departure from Sacramento meant things would be far less interesting without him.

There was the latest dust-up with Kobe Bryant (see it here) that led to a locker room explanation that started so light and logical and ended as heavy and harrowing.

It's a must-see session that is best viewed here.

BLOG UPDATE: Anyone questioning Ron-Ron's death-by-table-leg story should read about it here.

On the Byron Scott front, I chatted with The Rise Guys about the situation yesterday (after discussing our own hoops exploits) yet have since learned a bit more. While the news conference is still expected today in which the Hornets will say that Scott will return next season, don't think for a minute that means the situation is smoothed over out there. It's not.

Hornets owner George Shinn has passed up numerous opportunities to give Scott a vote of confidence with the local media, and he's sending his son, Chad (the team's executive officer of the board) and brother-in-law Hugh Weber (the team's president) to handle the media today.

BLOG UPDATE: As expected, it was announced today that Scott will return to New Orleans for next season.

If Scott returns to New Orleans next season as it appears he will, it will be because Shinn couldn't find a way to get rid of him without taking a huge hit in the already-hurting checkbook. Thus, where the Kings could come in (even if it appears they won't).

It's not quite as complicated as some folks are making it out to be. He's owed $5.5 million, meaning the Kings and Shinn could crunch the numbers and find a way to save the Hornets' owner money while getting the Kings a well-respected coach for the next few years who most believe would be a good fit with Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie. Hypothetically, you could tell Scott to give $3 million back and agree to pay him $2.5 million in the first year of the deal, meaning he would lose $500K in the first year but gain job security in a location he has longed for for years.

Shinn, who is hurting on the money front by all accounts, could find a bargain-basement coach for $1 million and still save $2 million. Considering nobody close to the situation sees Scott staying in New Orleans beyond next season, there could certainly be incentive to make that happen. And for anyone who wants to tell me that Scott wouldn't do it because of the money loss, I'm not buying it. Head coaching jobs are precious commodities, let alone jobs that just so happen to be on your short list of destination spots (Scott has always said he wants the Kings or Lakers jobs above all else).

What's more, there is no mistaking that the soon-to-be-lame-duck Scott sees the writing on the wall in his current gig and isn't real excited about possibly becoming the fall guy in the situation (whether now or midseason). And anyone questioning whether all this chatter is newsworthy, Scott's wandering eye and undeniable desire to become the Kings next coach is the driving force behind it all.

On the other hand...

If Shinn doesn't have another team telling him that they'll pick up part of the bill, then he likely doesn't get fired because then the money math just doesn't add up. Pay Scott $5.5 million, then pay a new coach for a team that has major injury problems with core players and is likely on the decline? That's not happening. Then again, Shinn is known as impulsive, so who knows how this ends up. - Sam Amick

May 6, 2009
Hitting the Internet airwaves

Slow day at the office?

Well put those earbuds in and escape to the world of Internet radio. From talking playoffs to breaking down the Kings and their pivotal offseason, we're here to provide some digital distraction. Be sure to read the latest on Byron Scott first, then delve into the hoops chatter.

Whitey, Phantom and super-producer Little Joe of KHTK's Rise Guys show have been high-tech for some time, uploading some of their best interviews to this site . Here's some recent material worth listening to...

* With Rick Adelman looking to exorcise his Phil Jackson demons in the Houston-Lakers series, the Rise Guys had former Kings assistant and current Rockets assistant Elston Turner on for a lengthy and entertaining chat the morning after the Rockets' Game 1 win.

* Bee sports editor Bill Bradley joined the show to talk about a variety of topics, from the Scott situation to Alex Rodriguez.

* Rick Barry talks NBA playoffs and Kings coaching search.

* Celtics broadcaster and former player Cedric Maxwell talks playoffs and gets huge laughs with some unexpected Beno Udrih references.

* Former Bee writer and current contributor Scott Howard-Cooper joined the Rise Guys to discuss why Portland should be feared even though it fell in the first round. His written words leading up to the segment are here.

* The boys and I discussed our plans to hit the court together, and eventually chatted Kings of course a few weeks back.

* Carmichael Dave caught up with Ron Artest on April 20. And while the material is a bit outdated by now, the ebony and ivory duo is funny as always and definitely worthy of your time.

* Despite some challenging technical difficulties, I had a long segment with the boys from Rotoradio. The show is an hour long, featuring hosts Tamer and Tom, myself and Philadelphia 76ers beat writer Kate Fagan of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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