Posted by: Kingsguru21 | February 18, 2010

Kevin Martin is traded to the Rockets (in principle)

Notice the in principle of course. But, here is the deal: That doesn’t mean shit nor should it. This deal is done. There is no way it would be all over ESPN, Yahoo, and being talked about on 1140 past midnight the night of the deal. This deal is big.

These are the players traded: Kevin Martin, Kenny Thomas, Hilton Armstrong, and Sergio Rodriguez for Tracy McGrady, Carl Landry and Joey Dorsey.

The quick cap is this: This deal is about some cap space for this summer, Carl Landry fitting in (and an easy test run to see if it will work long term), and a potential worthwhile throw-in in Joey Dorsey (not likely but silver linings are possible).

For Houston, this deal was about Kevin Martin and not much else. Also, assuming the 3 others that the Kings are getting, this deal will add roughly 7 million to next season’s salary. So, all in all, this is a good financial deal where the Rockets get a clear upgrade in Martin over McGrady where he was a consistent and constant pain in the ass. Plus, you have the added history of Kevin Martin with Rick Adelman. I didn’t see the Kings feed tonight, but Grant Napear went on 1140 and said that Kevin was smiling a lot on the bench. (Bob Fitzgerald, the Warriors PBP guy, did notice this.) So, rather than wasting time, let’s jump into this. (This is just an analysis post. My Kevin Martin tribute post will come later.)

I also think an underrated part of this trade for Houston is the relationship that Rick Adelman did have with Kenny Thomas toward the end of his time with Sacramento. If Rick needs minutes, he knows what Kenny can and can’t do. Rick never forgets stuff like that. That’s why he’s a Hall of Fame coach. (And a mile longer better than Don Nelson. At least. But I digress.) I don’t think Sergio Rodriguez or Hilton Armstrong will make a difference, but I’m sure the Rockets will try to get something done with them.

I suggest reading the Rockets blogs The Dream Shake and Red94 for opposing point of views. ClutchFans too.

Does Tracy McGrady have anything left?

If he does, it’s pointless. The Kings will buy him out and will do so in likely the same vein in which they waived Drew Gooden last year. If the franchise gets back money, he’s gone. If not, he can continue to sitting on his ass wherever he currently is. This deal, as I said up top, is mainly about cap space. That’s all McGrady’s contract is worth in terms of long term value. The reality is that McGrady, whose making 22.5 million roughly, this season isn’t worth anything short term to the Kings. I suspect that T-Mac will be willing to get out of his deal and will give money back (it’s not like he needs it) just to try and latch on somewhere else. It’s not like he’s giving up 20 million dollars or anything.

Is Carl Landry or Joey Dorsey good players?

Carl Landry is a good offensive player. If you heard my conversation with Carmichael Dave, you heard us mention that Landry is a great finisher inside, a great FT shooter for a big man (he’s automatically one of the 2 best FT shooters on the team now that Martin is gone) and is a worse defender rebounder than Spencer Hawes.

This is about getting a 3rd rotation big. No more no less.

Joey Dorsey is an athletic player who hasn’t found any consistent time on a team that doesn’t have Yao Ming. I wouldn’t expect much there.

Why was Kevin Martin traded from the Kings Point of View?

As I write this, I’m listening to Sam Amick on 1140 suggest that Kevin was unhappy here and was ready to leave. If this is the case, I agree with the trade. Sam, and I’ll give credit here to Grant Napear, is talking about things that Napear talked about a week and half ago on his radio show. Some of the things he said is true. (Still shouldn’t have been said. Believe that.)

If Kevin truly felt dis-enfranchised and didn’t feel part of the team, it was time for him to go. Those who were saying that Kevin was brittle, and didn’t play enough defense, this certainly was part of this deal. I think the trade now signals that the team felt it wouldn’t work and there wasn’t a possibility it would change. If Kevin felt he wouldn’t get the ball enough to be effective, I can understand that. Houston can find a way to integrate him better than maybe this young Kings team could. I don’t think Kevin was to blame for the recent struggles; I just think the recent losing was a symptom. I’m glad I wrote the recap of the Dubs game before writing this. It makes it easier to say this: Tonight had nothing to do with the trade. The Kings just played like shit.

That having been said, Kevin had it going early in the 1st qtr tonight and Tyreke froze him out some. If the Kings have natural chemistry between Tyreke, Omri and Donte, it makes sense that you would get cap room for Kevin Martin next year. Given the recent history of this league where the Wizards gave away Brendan Haywood to move Deshawn Stevenson along with Caron Butler, it would make sense that the Kings get cap room for Kevin’s contract. (More on the cap room in that section. Patience.)

I believe it could have worked. But I also believe that Kevin, Paul Westphal, and the other players on the Kings didn’t seem to have that natural chemistry. If that’s the case, it’s time to move Kevin. The Kings usually keep these things under wraps, and I’m glad. Kevin has endured enough abuse at the hands of Grant Napear, the fans, and the organization in blaming him for the problems.

If nothing else, if Kevin is happy with the trade, and Geoff Petrie pulled the trigger on this trade, I’m good with this. If the Maloof’s are behind this (I don’t think right now they are behind this deal), then I’m not okay with that. Again, right now I believe it’s totally Geoff Petrie and a basketball decision.

What about cap space?

The Kings, at the start of the day, had 40 million and change with cap room. Now they have less than that.

These are the players guaranteed to be under contract next season:

Spencer Hawes, Jason Thompson, Tyreke Evans, Omri Casspi, Francisco Garcia, Beno Udrih, Andres Nocioni, Donte Greene.

Carl Landry has a player option for 3 million dollars. Assuming Sergio Rodriguez is dealt, he has a qualifying offer. Jon Brockman also has a qualifying offer. (Although this may not matter with Landry around.)

Sean May and Ime Udoka would be unrestricted Free Agents. May is very unlikely to come back, but Udoka MIGHT come back. In the case of Udoka, it’s not likely to be more than the Veterans Minimum. I’m not holding my breath on this one.

Here is the money GUARANTEED (OR LIKELY TO BE THERE) for next season (according to ShamSports):

Andres Nocioni: 6,850,000
Beno Udrih: 6,478,600
Francisco Garcia: 5,500,000
Tyreke Evans: 3,880,920
Carl Landry: 3,000,000 (Team Option)
Spencer Hawes:2,332,800
Jason Thompson: 2,035,920
Omri Casspi: 1,254,480
Donte Greene: 870,000

This adds up to 30,047,020. That is plenty of potential cap room to entice a free agent next season. (I didn’t factor in the 1st round pick for the Kings. It won’t matter. There is still plenty of room.) The best thing? The biggest salaries on the roster all expire by 2013 (or in Garcia’s case a team option that likely has little money owed to him). So by the time the Kings may need to pay their young players it wouldn’t be an option. That is one thing that moving Kevin Martin did allow the Kings to do. It allowed them to get real cap space that the Salmons/Miller for Noc deal didn’t. Which, given the events of the past week, you shouldn’t be surprised. What the Kings got was fair value for Kevin. The question is how the Kings make that value work for them. And, we won’t know until the summer how this all works out.

Is this a bad or negative deal for Sacramento?

I think it’s unfortunate that the Kings weren’t able to make it work with Kevin Martin. Kayte Christensen, when she was on with Carmichael Dave, hinted at that the organization had lost faith somewhat in Kevin. That’s dis-heartening, but it happens. It clearly didn’t work very often against the opponents with Kevin in the game. I don’t know when Kevin found out about the trade, but it doesn’t matter. The comments K-Mart made in Amick’s blog entry sound about right. He’s moving on to a good situation for him, and the Kings are moving on too with their young core.

It hurts that a kid from Western Carolina, who had beaten the odds of becoming a quality player, did it with Sacramento and it ended badly with all concerned relieved it’s over. Kevin Martin, as it stands, is one of my favorite Kings ever (Mitch Richmond, Doug Christie, Vlade Divac and Tyreke Evans are the others as it stands now). That won’t change. Kevin did what he could in a shitty situation with too many people giving him the shaft. Sometimes things don’t work out. I applaud the organization for making a move despite the reasons why it wouldn’t make sense to move Kevin. Even though I’m not thrilled Geoff Petrie didn’t reach out to Kevin during the last month, I can live with it. Kevin’s not a youngin. But there are problems with this team, and if the remaining youngins think that taking Kevin out of the equation makes them better they have something else coming. A lot of something else. I don’t care what is said publicly, what whispers come out about this that or the other, when you take an efficient scorer out of the mix you’re not as good. Especially when that guy is your 2nd best player.

Unless the sum of the parts works like it did as well as it had earlier in the season, the internal finger pointing and frustration will continue. I’m not ecstatic this happened, but I understand why it happened. 2010 is around the corner, and a player like Chris Bosh (who would be incredible here in the EC) would be God. Paired with a lot talents, than it’s worth it. Up until now, I didn’t think the Kings have much of a chance of snaring any FA with Superstar level talents. I think it’s possible, however remote, that the Kings could snare Bosh because of Reke and Donte and Omri. If those guys are nearly as good as they think they are, than this deal makes the Kings better and Kevin moves on in Houston where he can be appreciated.

As I said up above, we won’t know how this deal works out until the summer. The draft (I don’t think any trade with New York is likely) will tell a lot about the direction of this team. I also think the Kings may end up moving Spencer Hawes or Jason Thompson at some point during the draft process or summertime to make things work.

I don’t think a New York trade is imminent if only because of the cap space issue, and the fact that the Kings only need to attract 1 superstar like Chris Bosh (he has to be the target). With Tyreke Evans and the rest of the roster in tow, the Kings, other than the New Jersey Nets, have the best young roster and a chance for a superstar to win sooner than later. Nobody else on the market (the Knicks, Clippers, Heat) can offer that. So that’s enlightening.

And even if the 2010 FA market doesn’t work out, there is still the draft. I don’t think the Kings are good enough to not push Omri or Donte for minutes and not see their improvement. I don’t think this takes the Kings out of play for any player at the 3 or 4 spot. The Kings need to get more athletic, and skilled at all of those spots than they are now. (With the exception of Donte. He’s as athletic as you’ll ever need to be.) If anything, moving Kevin Martin gives the Kings the roster flexibility to make this team better. If the price is Kevin Martin, especially when it isn’t working very well by the organization’s standards, than I’m glad a deal has been made. Jerry Reynolds had a great quote about the difference between good organizations and bad organizations:

As a franchise, back in the day, we hung on to our mistakes way too long. That was one of our real flaws. Rather than just admit a mistake, we’d beat a dead horse. We tried to find ways to make things work. Look at Joe Kleine — he was a high draft pick, but it was obvious he was not as good as LaSalle Thompson was. Well, that didn’t mean Joe couldn’t play, because he could, but LaSalle was better. At some point, we had to get past our mistaken expectations that Joe was going to be the savior at center and just figure out a way to get the things dont between the two of them. I was too young or inexperienced at the time to see all that. But as the years have gone by, you see other franchises and why they don’t succeed, and you realize that the higher-ups are making decisions about trying to pound a square peg into a round hole.

This was on Pages 63 and 64 of Jerry’s book. (Bottom of the page of 63 to start.)

Now, that’s pretty much the point. When it’s time to move on you sell high. The Kings got a quality backup PF in Landry and a lot of cap space with this deal. (Houston also gets under the luxury tax, but who cares?) That cap space, the potential draft pick and the current roster is the future. And clearly Kevin was a square peg trying to fit in a round hole. If he wanted out, he clearly got his wish. If he’s happy that’s how things turned out, fine. The fans who booed him at Arco over a bad couple of games should be ashamed. I’ll never be angry at Kevin Martin for anything. He’s one player who has done everything anybody could be asked. Quite frankly, Kings fans won’t appreciate how good Kevin was, and I suspect, the young players who think they are better. (Take that as a shot at Omri Casspi. His ego has always concerned me, and will always concern me. I’ve said that before. I’ll keep saying it. Until it works consistently, I’ll be concerned. Even then, it’s something that’s important to remember.) Veteran All-Stars have admitted things could have worked better had they settled things differently. Happens all the time. But, whatever. It’s not the point. It doesn’t change the likelihood of the trade or that Kevin Martin is going to a franchise with a fanbase that see’s him as the guy whose actually going to give everything he had within the team concept. If Kevin Martin can’t be appreciated properly in Sacramento, my hope is that Houston becomes that place. If for nothing else, because Kevin Martin shouldn’t be so badly disrespected in a town where he gave it his all.

I’m sad the Kings are moving on without a player I’ve grown to be extremely accustomed and fond of. It was like my baby growing up, and literally becoming spectacular doing it. It’s a sad day, but good for all involved. Well wishes to you Kevin. Welcome Carl Landry and Joey Dorsey. (Fuck you T-Mac. I hope you negotiate from whatever hole you’re in tomorrow. I’ll be disappointed if you ever step into a Kings uni. Seriously.)

So this is it. It’s a new day. It sucks, but it’s a new day. Time will only tell if this all works. Maybe it does or doesn’t. But whatever the case, this still sucks. Not because of the all acrimony recently surrounding Kevin, or all the bullshit arguments that folks have argued about him, but because it seemed like it was all there to work. It always seemed that the Kings felt that Tyreke and Kevin had a great future as the backcourt of the Sacramento Kings. And it’s over. That dream is over. After such little time.

Give me some time. I’ll have my Kevin Martin appreciation thread up in the next couple hours if I’m not crying too hard to finish it. (Seriously. I know I’m a bitch. Get over it.)

UPDATE: Zach Harper at Cowbell Kingdom has a great piece on the trade. Recommended reading. Also, Zach mentions the cash coming to the Kings which was likely given due to the Kings making a deal that put Houston under the tax line. (Assuming cash did come it’s most likely the 3 million–the maximum amount of cash a team can send in a single transaction.)



  1. […] the mechanics of the deal are the same, and that’s why I wrote the other version as in principle. I knew it might […]

  2. […] What I wrote last night about ego’s being a major problem in the locker room is true. I think it is. While I singled out Omri Casspi in particular, it’s not just Omri. There are other’s who were generally ticked off they were getting less shots with Kevin around. It didn’t matter whether it was true or not, it was the reality in their opinion. Anything that took the heat off them is what’s important. Personal accountability for those guys in the locker room is a major issue, and the addition of Carl Landry will help in some respects. Landry isn’t a kid, has played on some winning teams in Houston, and is the type of guy who does what he says. He’ll come out play hard (not well defensively), and score the ball. He won’t complain about it. He won’t be a whiny primmadonna like Jason Thompson or Omri Casspi. His attitude, as much as his skills, is needed in the locker room. […]

  3. […] Here is my trade deadline stuff in case you missed that. […]

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