About a week and half ago, TZ had a ranking of Kings assets. Since much has changed (and because it’s a good idea), I’d like to start my own ranking for different reasons.
First, this isn’t a re-ranking of Kings assets of what TZ did 10 days ago. This is simply my ranking of what I consider to be the most valuable assets, and rather than use a number ranking, use the asset in value relation to the team (in this case the Kings) as opposed to the rest of the league.
1) Tyreke Evans: He’s a franchise level player. I won’t say that he’s untouchable because I suppose he could be traded for someone. I’m just struggling what that someone or something would be.
2) 2010 draft pick: By virtue of Martin being traded, there isn’t a clear choice here other than the draft pick.
Conditional value that any team would be happy with for the right price
3) Omri Casspi: When you look up his stats, and ignore that his 3pt% has dropped 10 points since early January (I know), one thing does amaze me: Omri is averaging 4.1 Defensive Boards. That is extremely valuable for a team that struggles on the D-Boards. The area where Omri can improve (and will) is his passing and ball handling. The better he gets at facilitation makes him extremely value when this team will be looking for the ideal compliment to Tyreke Evans. That is why Omri is so high. He could be the ideal 3 on an Evans led team.
4) Cap Space this summer: Simply put, this could yield a player that makes the Kings a significantly better team for the 10-11 season as well as beyond. Since it can be argued that the Kings don’t have cap space until July, I’m really talking about assets come the end of the regular season. (Which is the first time the Kings could make a trade. The problem? Their cap space won’t exist yet.) However, it also makes it possible that the team could simply arrange deals in advance around draft time (which is when most deals are made between the end of the regular season and draft day) to take advantage of their cap space. While their cap space might not used to acquire a max FA player like a Chris Bosh, it can be taken advantage of. One potential swap: Jason Thompson for Troy Murphy. If the Kings were to get a player of their liking in the draft who was also big, this could make JT far more expendable in any deal. Murphy would help the team in the short term while not being a long term drain on the cap as his contract expires in the Summer of ’11. That woudl give the Kings another shot at being players in the 2011 Free Agent market with potentially drastically different rules.
The last reason I put the cap space here is that said space is the biggest reason the Kings were dealing Kevin Martin. Having flexibility for this summer (and summers beyond potentially) is a huge bonus for a team struggling at the box office right now. Using cap space to make a major home run trade is another way of attracting fans back to the team in the short run.
5) 2011 Draft Pick: I’m not sure that I would put it higher or lower than this simply because how competitive the Kings are determines the value of this pick. The higher it gets the higher value it has. The closer to the lower end of the lottery or the high playoff team picks means the Kings are going to be doing different things with it’s picks as time drags on. It also means that the other players on this team haven’t improved as much as we thought they would. This is definitely a looming hazard for the Kings if there is another high pick.
Tied for 6th) Donte Greene, Spencer Hawes and Jason Thompson: For a variety of reasons, I have them all tied because of the unusual abilities all bring. I think all could improve and make the All-Star team at some point in all their careers. I also think all 3 are also inconsistent enough that I wouldn’t necessarily put one higher than the other. All 3 have shown they bring something to the table, but all 3 also show consistent holes in their games. Unlike Omri Casspi (who I’d be very willing to drop down by the end of the season) I think this is a fluid situation simply put because all 3 aren’t rookies. In JT’s case, he hasn’t found the consistency he had earlier this season. I don’t think Spencer Hawes has ever found 10 games of consistent play that hasn’t been supremely maddening. Donte Greene has so much upside, but how much of it can be realized? Only time knows the answer to this question. Hence the basic push of all 3 guys. I will note that any 1 of these 3 guys can value the 2011 pick by becoming consistent to their high end play more often than not.
7) Carl Landry: He’s cheap (makes 3 mill this year and next) plus he’s providing this team sorely needed post play. His weaknesses are the only reason he’s this low, but if he was a better defender/rebounder the Rockets would have never traded him. Such is life.
Very limited value regardless of what happens during a specific game
8 ) Beno Udrih: By virtue of his ability to shoot and play with Evans, that gives the Kings an opportunity to have an overpaid SG/PG hybrid player behind Tyreke Evans whose contract just happens to expire the same time any extension for Evans would kick in. The real blessing is that while Beno has little value elsewhere around the league, it does mean that Beno’s quality play with the Kings means that they have a backup PG that is worth it if for nothing else because having to acquire one and not play Beno means there is no double whammy. The NBA is full of players who bring something to the table but don’t bring as much value on the court in relation to their contract.
9) Francisco Garcia: This may change if Cisco comes back healthy and has a quality string of games for the Kings in the future. However, like Beno to a large degree, his contract isn’t a great burden where the most expensive contract (before any trades or a Free Agent signing) would be Andres Nocioni’s. The truth is that the Kings can afford Garcia’s bloated (now) contract if he recovers and plays well next to Evans and others on the team. They can’t if Paul Westphal can’t figure out, and if Cisco can’t show that he’s earned it, PT that benefits Cisco and the team ultimately. The rub here is that Cisco’s skills (ball handling and shooting) seem to be a good fit with Tyreke and that matters a great deal. That is the only reason Cisco is not in the non-asset column yet.
10) The 2010 2nd round pick: This pick has value because it could net a viable player for the Kings in the future. The Kings currently would have the 34th pick if the season ended today.
11 & 12) Jon Brockman and Joey Dorsey: In my opinion, Brockman has done nothing to guarantee himself a roster spot in the future if the Kings improve by picking up better defensive talent on the front line. By being out for 2-4 weeks, I think Joey Dorsey has a great chance to pick up the roster spot the Kings might be otherwise willing to give to Nessie. It’s not like Arco is filling up to come out to see Jon Brockman play. (Which is not to say that Brockman has value.)
13) Ime Udoka: I like Ime Udoka as a person, and admire his perseverance as a guy trying to hang on to his career. However, in terms of NBA talent, Udoka has no value and as such is a non-asset for Geoff Petrie in a deal. He is a throw in, and any team can have him next year for a minimum contract. Still, I respect Udoka’s intangibles and what he means to the team. That doesn’t mean other teams give a shit. (Don’t hate me. Hate the truth.)
14) Andres Nocioni: The only difference between Udoka and Noc is the contract and that Noc doesn’t seem to pass as often as Ime does. Also, in terms of smart veteran presence, it’s impossible for me to think Noc’s DUI matters a lot. But in terms of leadership there isn’t any qualifier there, and I don’t think Noc really provides that. I don’t think the poor decision that Noc made on the DUI matters on the court. I really don’t. On the other hand, the DUI is symptomatic of the other problems that Noc DOES display on the court.
The saving grace for Noc (and the Kings) is that players like him are rare (physically tough, can hit the 3) and another team looking for a short fix could use a guy like Noc for the short term. His contract, while the next 2 years (before a team option–that might have some guaranteed money on the option year) is not greatly excessive even though it’s well above the production Noc gives. The good news is that the Kings could possibly package Noc with a player like Landry (It would have to be a very good player for me to agree to that) and that’s one possible way that Noc becomes more attractive to the Kings. With a cheap valuable asset like Landry, it’s nice that you have expensive assets like Noc & Cisco that you can package to make a deal worth doing for the Kings. Teams quite often value bad contracts in the ability to make cheap assets (like Landry) harder to trade. If a team really wanted Landry, I would suspect that it would take a great deal to get the Kings to bite on it. (Sort of like what happened with the Kevin Martin-Carl Landry deal only the financial relief is taking away the contract of a Noc as opposed to getting a quality player and the cap relief in return for a quality player like Kevin Martin.)
15) Dominic McGuire: Acquired at the trade deadline, I don’t see much hope for him in the way I didn’t see much hope for Sergio Rodriguez. I wouldn’t mind if McGuire actually played some minutes.
16) Larry Hughes: You’re kidding right?
Note on waived players: Their salary only counts against team salary, and thus they provide nothing in assets terminology. A team only waives a player when they think they can get something useful in return. The Kings got 500K for taking Dominic McGuire’s contract from the Wizards, and thus had to waive Kenny Thomas in order to add McGuire to the roster. That was worth waiving K9 because he wasn’t playing anyway and his contract expired this season.
On the other hand, Hughes is the only expiring contract of major value, and can’t be traded once the season has ended. This won’t matter because the only way Hughes could bring back value is in a sign & trade, and why would the Kings sign & trade Hughes? (Why would any team want to pay Hughes that much at this point?) I don’t think it matters anyway, but with regards to Joey Dorsey or Jon Brockman it could. The Kings have early bird rights to both players and could match a potential offer to either player if they were to offer a qualifying offer. Still, we’re not talking major money, and qualifying offers eat into cap space. I suspect that for awhile the Kings will be more intent in keeping maximum flexibility rather than worry about re-signing guys/extending contracts like Dorsey or Brockman.
Udoka, McGuire, Hughes, Brockman and Dorsey all will likely be Free Agents this summer. Only Dorsey has an option that the Kings can pick up. In addition, Carl Landry has a team option that the Kings are most likely to 99.999999999% pick up simply because you can’t pick up his type of production for 3 million a season.
So, there you have it. Go nuts at my list. I dare ya.