Posted by: Kingsguru21 | September 9, 2009

Andres Nocioni: Does being an Argentinian Cowboy mean anything?

When I wrote this lil piece of pie about the Noc for Miller/Salmons trade, a few people said that the trade didn’t accomplish the goal of utilizing Miller’s expiring contract (particularly with Kenny Thomas) that would have netted the Kings something valuable.

I ask this: Like who? Richard Jefferson? Amir Johnson? Ramon Sessions?

No thanks.

In otherwords, using expiring contracts usually works one of several ways.

One is in conjunction with other asset’s (like draft picks) to get a superstar who is aging in an attempt to win now. Like, for instance, what Denver did with Allen Iverson in 2007.

But, what would the purpose have been in doing something like that? (Especially since the Kings value their own draft picks so much.)

The second is that you could net a young player along with taking a big contract that would end up getting you a more talented group of players than what you had before. (This is what Portland tried to do with Ramon Sessions. Milwaukee wouldn’t give in, and gave up giving up Richard Jefferson for Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas and Fabricio Oberto. I think the Bucks won. Especially if they find a way to retain Ramon Sessions.)

I don’t think so. (No thanks.)

At the time, the essence of the argument against the Kings trading for Nocioni meant they would be hurting themselves in the 2010 FA game. The other argument was that by moving Miller & Salmons at the same time, they lost the power of 2 expiring contracts that would be valuable to other teams dumping salary.

However, if the Kings were losing money, what difference would it make if the Maloof’s weren’t willing to foot that bill? Especially given that at the time of the trade, the Kings were 11-43 at the time of the trade’s that changed this franchise dramatically, the Kings weren’t winning anyway. Unless the Kings saw a miraculous turnaround from Miller, there was no way the Kings were going to benefit from keeping Miller around. The Kings also had Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes needing minutes.

So, what was the poisin pill? Andres Nocioni, his 3 years remaining (starting this year) and 21 million plus a team option (depending on how much money waiving Noc’s team option is worth).

******

In case you’re wondering why I wasted 500 words talking about a bunch of stuff that didn’t really include Andres Nocioni, you’ve missed the point. Unlike the Webber deal that brought back Kenny Thomas, Andres Nocioni is far more tradeable. Unlike Kenny Thomas, who saw the Kings sign Shareef Abdur-Rahim the next off-season, Nocioni knew that it was possible he would be traded again when the Kings saw an opportunity.

In fact, that’s what they should do even if this includes progress be damned by Donte Greene or Omri Casspi. Make no mistake, Andres Nocioni is a tough Argentinian Cowboy who can hit the 3, jaw with the ref’s, and is probably the best thing, since Bill Laimbeer, for being able to despise a player.

The reality? Nothing else matters. Nocioni’s career from 3 has been, since he entered the league, looked like this: 25.8% (2004-05), 39.1% (05-06), 38.3% (06-07), 36.4% (07-08), and 39.9% (08-09).

John Salmons peaked last season playing for the Kings, and hence the Kings were able to get back the “luxury” of Andres Nocioni.

Nocioni isn’t a particular great rebounder as his rebound rate would suggest. But, there are teams out there that could use a guy like Nocioni. He’s a veteran, he’s out-spoken, and he will do what it takes to win. That is something the Kings absolutely need, but for a team likely to lose 55-65 games again, it’s not going to be that useful.

So, let me use this quasi introduction to player column to suggest a potential trade destination for the Kings and Nocioni.

******

Before you recoil, and I mean recoil, the Kings may be able to dump Noc for an expiring contract. I don’t mean a contract worth 7 million dollars, but there are bigger fish to fry. Think 7 million times 3. Making over 21 million this season is one Jermaine O’Neal.

Last season Miami at times wanted to talk about Brad Miller, and they instead settled on Jermaine O’Neal. But in doing so, and partly because of other moves and salary obligations, Miami is now paying the luxury tax this season. In fact, given the tax limit is at 69.92 million, they are exactly over 2,296,178 dollars over the luxury tax limit.

The Kings right now are plenty under the tax limit. Now, I don’t know whether the Kings will be able to make this move. There are other teams out there, like OKC, that may be able to get Miami to take a contract. Here’s the difference between a team like OKC, and a team like Sacramento: If OKC trades Nick Collison, they still would have to come up with the difference between O’Neal’s contract, and Collison’s. There is no way they have enough cap room to do that. Even when acknowledging that the Thunder have Etan Thomas to trade (and if this happens at the deadline there won’t be a restriction on moving Thomas with another player), the Thunder would still have to be willing to give up something. Exactly what reason do they have to move Collison right now?

That means it’s going to take creative financing for them to get a deal done, another asset to make Miami’s financial constraint worth it, or not getting a deal done.

There aren’t many teams that wouldn have love to have O’Neal’s expiring contract and give Miami the following: A player who can fit on their front line with Michael Beasley (Noc), cap relief (Kenny Thomas + another component I’ll discuss in a moment), and save Miami the luxury tax all at the same time.

Simple. Easy.

Unlike the Keith Van Horn inclusion into the Nets-Mavericks deal that cost Mark Cuban money, it costs the Kings nothing to add Corliss Williamson (who as of this writing hasn’t retired yet), Bobby Jackson or Calvin Booth in a deal that would essentially net them money for this season, and make them an expiring contract.

Yes, the Kings would be saving Miami some luxury tax dollars, or 2,296,178 dollars to be exact doing this deal. But, how does this effect the Kings share of the luxury tax? Well, every team already is slated to get 1/30th of the NBA’s luxury tax collected each other. 1/30th of the dollar amount above is about 76,540 dollars. (It’s a few cents less. I rounded up for easier understanding. The actual figure is 76,539.66.) But, by dumping Noc’s contract, and the 13 1/2 million on it, that’s what the Kings are balancing. You lose some luxury tax by adding Miami as the list of the tax payment collectee’s, and instead of being payer’s, they also reduce the luxury tax payment.

But that hit doesn’t mean anything to the Kings except to the reduction of the pool by almost 77 thousand dollars. 77 thousand dollars versus 13.5 million dollars. I’m just an engineering student, but I don’t think it takes much math to figure out which is more money. (77000 < 13,500,000–See more Zero's!?! See Uncle Sam: Money well spent!)

I don't know why Miami would do this, exactly, other than it would save them money and they could get a talented player in Nocioni who could help fill SOME of the needs they have. Now Miami fans won't like it (I have found no opposing fans like what I propose because it doesn't give them enough rosterbation to work with) and I understand why. Nocioni is no sexy proponent of any fanbase’s dreams, but frankly, very little will come the Miami Heat’s way this season for Jermaine O’Neal. Unless, it’s a player like Eddy Curry, and I can’t imagine why any team would really want Curry for 11+ million dollars. (Which further explains Isiah Thomas’ ineptitude.)

******

At the end of the day, most of this column is not really about Nocioni. We know what he brings. He’s a veteran (29 years old making him the oldest player on the active roster at the moment), he’s tough and hates to lose (just see his complaining to Barca about his treatment by Kenny Natt), hits his 3’s at a high clip, wait a minute he hit’s 3’s?

That is the last reason Miami might find Nocioni valuable. Last I checked, they have this player who is pretty good named Dwyane Wade. Like, legendary first ballot of fame good.

Of the players on Miami’s roster who had Noc’s 3 point% last season, Mark Blount is now on the T-Wolves. (In fairness, Quentin Richardson is now on the roster and replaced Blount, but he, too, had a worse 3pt% than Noc.)

Chris Quinn is one player who is still on Miami’s roster, and is still available to them as well, hit 3 balls at a near 41% clip. Michael Beasley, and Blount, both had a slightly smaller percentage but on far less attempts.

And, that’s the point. Beasley and Nocioni can play together, can give Wade the room he needs to operate, and it saves Miami money. Hell, Miami can even take Thomas and X-Player on their roster without needing to cut anyone.

Miami probably would prefer to save money, and they won’t have many teams offering what Sacramento can offer. It wouldn’t surprise me if Miami finds a better offer for O’Neal, decides to hang onto him, or simply feels that whatever happens it isn’t worth taking on a poison pill like Noc (as if his contract is a true poisin pill).

I do know that if O’Neal gets hurt, the rumors will rampage out of control, and I’ll still be shocked if the Kings aren’t a team that’s on the other end of the deal. O’Neal makes so much money, so many teams are up against the tax themselves and won’t be able to save Miami considerable money the way Sacramento will, and the best part is that won’t matter that the Kings are over the cap. All this can be accomplished using the 125% + 100K rule.

There will be plenty of people who will say that trading Beno Udrih is a must, but trading him will probably next to impossible given the amount of money he makes and the amount of teams that will likely covet him. He just costs too much for what he does.

The good news is that Nocioni is dumpable because of Kenny Thomas’ (finally) expiring contract (or KTEC) and the fact the Kings have several veterans who haven’t signed anywhere that could be included in the deal. That makes them the best possible trade partner for Miami given they don’t have to do much except save money for Miami.

As a player I suppose, the biggest interest with Nocioni, in regards to the Kings, is how much Noc will block Casspi and Greene. If the Kings feel by December that he’s dumpable, they may try to get Miami to do this deal sooner than later. After all, it doesn’t really matter to Miami exactly if O’Neal is hurt and doesn’t have anything left in the tank. There is nothing keeping the Kings from dealing for O’Neal if his career is over. But, Miami will need talent and few teams have talent like the Kings do with Nocioni and Kenny Thomas.

Beyond any of that, I suppose if a deal like O’Neal materializes for the Kings, and it could happen, than this also changes the Miller-Salmons trade dramatically. Yes, it cost the Kings Kenny Thomas, but unless they get a major upgrade (and saving 13 million is a major upgrade) in doing so, they won’t trade him.

That is why unless anything else that happens, and I can promise you I won’t preview Kenny Thomas’ season, you’ll see the Kings attach Nocioni to any deal that includes Kenny Thomas. There is more than one way to skin a cat, and saving money by dumping a contract a year later is one way.

In Nocioni’s case, I think I found the answer to whether being an Argentinian Cowboy means something. Besides the self-satisfaction (or delusion) of being an Argentinian Cowboy , the Argentinian Cowboy may be the best way to clean a K-9 from it’s doghouse.

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Responses

  1. […] might be traded at some point this season. Kenny Natt is already […]

  2. […] It could be Miami is looking to push Jermaine O’Neal out the door and reduce his salary commitment this season earlier than I originally expected. […]


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