Posted by: Kingsguru21 | March 18, 2009

Joe Maloof talks to Ailene Voisin

On Friday Night, Ailene Voisin had an hour long conversation with Joe Maloof that was put in the Bee’s print edition today. It offered some interesting insight into the difference between Joe and Gavin Maloof, among other things. Mostly, if nothing else, it provided a thoughtful point that the Maloof’s are still interested in Sacramento as a market. If you’re a Kings fan in part because of the locale they are in (I definitely qualify in this department–I became a fan of the team because they’re in Sacramento and since I grew up there, you get the idea I hope–believe me I would have much rather become a Blazer fan instead–and almost did), then perhaps you would agree with me that when the Maloof’s are focused on seeing the team improve as the important thing, then that might make you happy.

“This is where we belong,” Joe Maloof said when pressed, “but I’d rather stay away from that because I don’t consider that the No. 1 issue anymore. Right now we have to get fans back in Arco Arena. Bring back the anticipation. Then we gain momentum for everything else.”

This is great if you’re a Kings fan. Regardless of what happens with Cal Expo, the Maloof’s are going to focus their energy on the team. I wonder if this means they’re going to pick the coach again. Positive thoughts. Positive Thoughts. Okay, back on topic.

The arena issue is out there – maybe way out there – but the family intends to persevere and would consider other local sites again if the Cal Expo proposal fails. And there are no plans to sell or move the Monarchs, either. (Colleen Maloof has a particular affinity for the 2005 WNBA champions.)

That was Voisin writing that, but I gather it was collected from the conversation. I don’t care if the quote was directly made, or indirectly inferred. Clay Bennett said he wasn’t moving the Sonics, and umm, how did that turn out? Lies are made, and dishonesty exists at every turn. If the Maloof’s want a better basketball team, they’re going to have to focus on how to get that team back. Because if they aren’t pushing Geoff Petrie to make this team better in the way he can, then, as owner’s of a basketball team they aren’t going to have the same effect.

This is the quote I would like to highlight however:

“But you can’t demand that they feel that way. You have to earn it. We earned that in the past. We lost our way. … But we haven’t given up. We’ve got some terrific young players in Spencer (Hawes), Jason (Thompson) and Kevin (Martin), two first-round draft picks, (Andres) Nocioni, and we’re going to have the cap room soon to get a good free agent or two. It will happen.”

Look, I don’t want to say I know everything about the NBA, because I don’t. When the Kings made the trade for Andres Nocioni, Cedric Simmons, Michael Ruffin and Drew Gooden, I made the hypothesis about whether the Kings would have cap room on Sactown Royalty. To recap myself, I basically said that it would be close depending on where the Kings are at with their draft picks at the start of Free Agency. However, that’s not the real issue.

The problem is that Joe says they will have enough cap space to sign one or two free agents. Now, maybe Joe was playing devil’s advocate, but Joe is smart enough to know the difference between saying they’ll have cap space to sign a free agent or two, or saying that we’re going to sign a few free agents in the off-season. The problem here is multiple fold. The Kings, as far as I can tell, will only have 8 players under contract next season. This doesn’t include the 2 million owed Mikki Moore (if you haven’t read the original breakdown by Ziller than you should), or that Shareef Abdur Rahim is not going to be paid by the Kings, but by insurance which will take his whole salary off the books.

Kevin Martin, Kenny Thomas, Andres Nocioni, Beno Udrih, Francisco Garcia, Spencer Hawes, Jason Thompson and Donte Greene are all under contract for next season. With just these 8, you have 43.2 million locked up between them. That’s without including the 3 draft picks (2 of the 1st rounders especially) that will be included in the team figure and that will cost the Kings somewhere in the realm of anywhere 6 to 7 million most likely. Lets say for the sake of argument the Kings finish with the worst record, and that Houston gets the 6th best record in the NBA. Let’s also say the Kings get awfully unlucky by losing out on the top 3 picks and ends up with the 4th pick. It’s common practice to pay a player 120% of the scale of the pick, which in this case would be 3,008,400 dollars. If you take this at 120% of scale, it ends up being just about 3.61 million dollars for the first season of that 4th overall pick. If you pay the 25th pick overall 120% of scale, which starts out at 896,200, that ends up being just under 1.08 million dollars for the season. We’re talking about 4.7 million GUARANTEED in the worst case scenario here for the Kings next season. And thats only if Houston finishes with the 6th best record in the NBA, and if the Kings end up getting the 4th overall pick. It actually increases from there if Houston drops a few spots, and if the Kings jump up a few spots (the increase in salary would be roughly in the million to two million dollar range).

The point is simple: You might sign a player or two through free agency, in fact it’s a guarantee because the Kings are going to have 11 players on their roster after 3 draft picks, and there is a minimum of 13 players as required by the CBA, but you’re not going to sign a guy to a big contract next off-season. The question is can the Maloof’s wait until 2010 when there is going to be more cap room, and more players available to pick one that would likely fit with the Kings needs? But umm, that’s not likely to happen either as there is likely to be less cap room available in 2010 than there is 2009 as costs are likely to go down by 2010 even more. So in a way, I think the Kings holding onto their pennies is wise, and making a smart move here and there (taking an expiring 2010 contract from a tax paying team and getting a good asset in return for instance) will likely be the smartest way to go about it. Joe was not talking about reality, as I’m sure he isn’t a salary cap expert. I’m just sure of 1 thing: He wanted to show Kings fans the Family does care about the team. The motive is right. The details just don’t support all of what he said.

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