Kings should opt not to extend Spencer Hawes this summer

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In many ways, Spencer Hawes is treated as a scapegoat for many of the Sacramento Kings’ shortcomings, which isn’t very fair. It’s easy to forget that Hawes is just 21 years old, a year younger than Andrew Bynum and Greg Oden, to put things in context. He has plenty of holes in his game, but plenty of time in order to turn them into strengths, fix them, or at the very least, hedge their negative impact.

The problem is that Hawes may never be the textbook low-post center, and that’s fine. It’s not a reason to discount his strengths, ignore his production, or deny his improvement. He’s still a capable player in the league and a young one at that, playing an incredibly difficult position for a pretty young team. 

The effervescent Tom Ziller of Sactown Royalty has somewhat begrudgingly compiled several compelling reasons why the Kings should elect to wait on locking Hawes up long-term. The argument is sound, and less an indictment of Hawes and his game than it is a cautious warning to NBA teams everywhere. Put succinctly by Ziller:

The Kings’ experience in this realm fits with the NBA standard: some
early extensions, particularly for really good players, works out,
while some early extensions, particularly those for mid-level talent,
don’t work out.

Hawes is good, but not great. His extension isn’t a no-brainer, and should very much depend on his development over the next year or so. That strategy is even more important with the new collective bargaining agreement looming in 2011, and with a player of Hawes’ age and his developmental track, the most important facet of the Kings’ negotiations with Hawes could be their patience.

Mike Budenholzer smirks at lawyer calling Thabo Sefolosha ‘NBA superstar’

Mike Budenholzer, Thabo Sefolosha
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The funny part, via Robert Silverman:

The substantive part:

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA player Thabo Sefolosha, who was arrested outside a New York City nightclub in April following a confrontation with police officer, has a character “of the highest order,” his head coach, Mike Budenholzer, testified Thursday.

Taking the stand as the final defense witness in Sefolosha’s trial, Budenholzer described the Atlanta Hawks guard-forward as “highly intelligent” and a “hard worker.”

When asked by defense attorney Alex Spiro to describe his character, he said it was, “of the highest order.”

“Thabo is of the highest character,” he said during brief testimony in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The Swiss national is charged with misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges stemming from a confrontation with officers outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub early in the morning on April 8. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officers testified this week that Sefolosha and former teammate Pero Antic repeatedly disobeyed their orders to move off the block and away from a crime scene that had been established following the earlier stabbing of another NBA player, Chris Copeland, and two women.

One of the officers also said Sefolosha lunged at an officer with his arm extended but was intercepted before making contact, eventually taken to the ground and arrested.

Sefolosha has testified that he was complying with orders and moving up the block as a particularly aggressive officer screamed profanities at him.

His attorney has argued that his client was singled out by the officer, who is white, because Sefolosha is black.

Sefolosha testified Thursday that he was trying to give money to a panhandler before entering an awaiting car when he was grabbed by police. He said his leg was kicked in the scuffle and he was taken to the ground, handcuffed and hauled to a police precinct. He suffered a fractured right leg, which forced him to miss the playoffs.

The case is the second one involving high-profile athletes accusing New York Police Department officers of wrongdoing this year. On Wednesday, the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct substantiated claims by former tennis star James Blake that an officer used excessive force when he took him to the ground last month after mistkaing Blake for a fraud suspect.

As expected, Jimmy Butler says no issue between him, Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler
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Is the Derrick Rose/Jimmy Butler relationship nothing but puppy dogs and rainbows? No. There will be sparks between two intense competitors.

Have those sparks started a fire Bulls fans should be concerned about? A report on Wednesday said the core problem was Butler doesn’t respect Rose’s work ethic, which provided some kindling for that spark to catch.

However, as you would expect, Butler said this was all much ado about nothing, that he and Rose are all good. Via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

Spin this however you wish: Their relationship is fine and someone in the media is making this up; or their relationship has been rough, and this is all just leaking out now.

This is a Bulls team in a bit of a transition as Rose declines some and Butler has grown into a top-flight player. Clearly that dynamic has some people around the team — likely the people in one of one of the players’ camps doesn’t like the power struggle or where it leaves his buddy — talking out of school to the press.

But as Butler noted, winning cures all ills. If Chicago can get off to a fast start, nobody will be asking chemistry questions.

For now, however, tounges are wagging.