Posted by: Kingsguru21 | January 12, 2010

Some more Hilton Armstrong thoughts

This isn’t going to be much. Yesterday, I wrote that Armstrong can’t be packaged with another player in a trade. I was actually wrong on that, and I’d like to credit JJham for making that point in a comment on StR.

That actually changes what the Kings can do significantly in any trade they could engineer with Armstrong being included. It also gives the Kings just over 13 million in expiring contracts (Armstrong, Sergio Rodriguez and Kenny Thomas).

As Amick wrote in this morning’s paper though, this was the real deal:

The Kings gave up a 2016 second-round draft pick in the deal, but they received cash in the trade that more than covers the remaining portion of Armstrong’s expiring contract ($1.8 million). While the exact amount is not known, one source with knowledge of the deal said it was “a good day for (the Kings).”

However, that wasn’t the only thing this accomplished. It also used up the Kings final roster spot, and they are currently at the maximum limit of 15 players after Udoka’s contract became guaranteed. (I didn’t write anything up about it as I didn’t think it was a big deal. Udoka’s play stands alone, and a minor point to me seems a waste of time that I didn’t have to write about.)

Just as important, however, this could mean the Kings won’t consider a player like Sammy Dalembert (if it was ever considered on any side that is) because of the cost factor to the Kings. Why? The cost factor is something this team won’t ignore.

Despite the recent spike in attendance due mostly to teams like the Lakers and Cavs, and the recent promotions that fans are now getting free tickets, I don’t think the Kings are exactly out of the clear right now.

I think the Armstrong deal is significant from the business side for 2 reasons. One, this team has made money saving trades that have added players since the trade deadline last season (Sam Cassell, Will Solomon, Sergio Rodriguez and now Hilton Armstrong). Two, were these trades about money than talent? Certainly in the case of Cassell & Solomon we knew that. No question that was the case there. But what about Rodriguez and Armstrong?

In both cases, I think they represented a smart, financial risk that the basketball side of operations agrees with. It’s clear that the Kings are not doing well at the box office despite whatever else the franchise would love you to believe about the finances.

On the other hand, these moves also represent a smarter, more diversified outlook that the Kings have had since Jason Levien came aboard. Very few teams can say that they make smart money/basketball moves. The Clippers, for instance, did this when they brought in Rasual Butler. He worked for the Clipps in terms of a basketball decision (helping fill a need for a deep shooting SF), but the Clipps also got 3 mill in cash from the Hornets in the deal too. I doubt the Clipps would have done that deal without that 3 mill in cash for 2 reasons. One, because Donald Sterling enjoys exercising whatever financial advantage he can, and Two, every NBA team usually asks for the same considerations in trades such as that.

So, knowing the financial outlook played a part, will this work for the Kings? My gut tells me no, and that’s mostly because big men are usually hurt, or they develop at a reasonable rate. Hilton Armstrong doesn’t have either as a feather in his cap at this point.

But, it also could work too. If for nothing else, it’s a free risk that at worst you say bye to at the end of the season by not offering a Qualifying Offer (this has the same effect as renouncing a Free Agent btw). It’s just that I’m not expect Hilton Armstrong to do anything spectacular at this point.
The Kings made a no risk money decision while getting a player in the rotation that could be what they are after. You can’t have a risk work out for you if you don’t take a risk for you. As far as low risk high reward goes, this is pretty much the name of the game. You keep searching the scrap pile until you find if someone works. Maybe Armstrong doesn’t fit the bill, which is okay IMO, but maybe he does and you have to stop searching for that ideal big in the front court (the likelihood of this is very minimal IMO).

All things told, given the circumstances of what other teams like the Sixers would have asked the Kings in return for Dalembert, the move for Armstrong makes all the sense given the financial and roster situation the Kings are currently in. With Dalembert, there is at least a small possibility that he doesn’t work and the money you have committed to Sammy hurts you for another season beyond this season. More importantly, the Kings have consistently made moves that allows this young core to develop, and not move any of them due to financial concerns. Any time a team can pull this off is always a good thing. The acquisition of Hilton Armstrong makes sense from a financial, basketball, and overall roster perspective. You could not necessarily make that argument about Emeka Okafor or Sammy Dalembert.

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