Author: Matt Moore

thomas robinson

Thomas Robinson could get time at small forward for the Kings


The Kings are apparently thinking about going with a super-big lineup. From the Sacramento Bee:

Don’t rule out Thomas Robinson seeing time at small forward during the preseason. During one 5-on-5 session, Robinson was the small forward with Chuck Hayes and DeMarcus Cousins the other frontcourt players. Jimmer Fredette and Marcus Thornton were the other players on the squad. That squad beat a team of Isaiah Thomas, John Salmons, Willie Reed, Francisco Garcia and Cyril Awere. The final score was 7-2.

Robinson was also at small forward during the session open to the media Tuesday in Sacramento.

via Kings Blog and Q&A: Thomas Robinson at small forward and other practice notes.

The question there is whether Robinson has the lateral speed to keep up with small forwards. He’d have to be matched up against similar big lineups. Basically, if it’s against the Hornets, that could work. But it’s a weird lineup because it’s essentially three non-tall-for-their-position players in one lineup. If Robinson has some range, though, that would help tremendously.

Additionally, that lineup would have all of the rebounds, ever. Maybe that’s the plan. Get all of the rebounds, and then just let Thomas and Thornton shoot over and over again.

Can the Bobcats afford to improve?

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Just a reminder, from Hoopsworld:

Chicago Bulls: Receives 2013 first-round pick (top-12 protected in 2013, top-10 in 2014, top-8 in 2015, unprotected in 2016) from the Charlotte Bobcats via the Tyrus Thomas trade on 2/18/10.

via Draft Pick Debt | HOOPSWORLD | Basketball News & NBA Rumors.

The rare trade that was bad at the outset, worse a year later, worse two years later and continues to be worse.

Now, let’s be clear, there is no threat of the Bobcats improving to 13-plus this year. That thing could be top-three protected and Charlotte should feel safe. But top ten in 2014 could be a trick. If the Cats were to get an impact player in 2013 (in an admittedly weak draft from where we’re at right now), manage any good trade or player addition, with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist giving them anything, there’s not a lot of reasons to think the Cats are absolutely out. But losing that draft pick would set them back. They honestly need to be terrible until 2015. Not going to be a problem, I hear you joking. But even terrible teams go on bursts where they improve to mid-lottery for a year and then regress.

That trade continues to severely hurt the outlook of the team. They’ve got a lotto-protected-through 2014 pick from the Blazers, so that’s not going to cover them. They need to find a way to take on salary to get a draft pick, in all honesty. But that’s going to be problematic for the team and ownership. The Cats are in a bind for talent and improvement, and fan support. And worst of all, they have to pace their improvement so they don’t get buried in the long-term.

The self-defeating prophecy in Sacramento

Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento Kings
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In a pair of articles this week, Tom Ziller of elucidated the conditions of fandom in Sacramento as the Kings’ season approaches. What could be the last Kings season in Sacramento. To catch you up….(big breath):

The Maloofs were great owners and then the economy tanked and they became bad owners and then they started making noise about wanting a new arena and then threatened to leave and then they actually started having talks with Anaheim and thought they were home free but the NBA was like “Woah” and then Mayor Kevin Johnson presented to the NBA and knocked their socks off while the Maloofs basically presented a slide of “But we want to!” and the NBA was like “No way” and then they figured out a solution and it was awesome and a new arena would be built and then the Maloofs bailed on the agreement because of stuff people think is really piddly that should in no way hold up a deal and the league is in an impossible position and the Maloofs held an aggressive, spikey press conference and the city’s holding firm and it looks like the Kings are going to file for relocation in the spring.


So Ziller presents the case for why this season is an absolute no-win for Sacramento and its fans.

And now, we’re supposed to buy tickets, get our gear and root for the Kings. It’s a bizarre situation.

No one knows if fans will show up this season. The team claims that 80 percent of season ticket holders have renewed, but that doesn’t mean much: the season ticket levels seem to be fairly low, and as all keen NBA observers know, a substantial portion of season tickets go unused, especially for bad teams. Some fans have instituted one-man boycotts. Others are vowing to go as cheaply as possible. (SB Nation’s Kings blog is holding FTM Night, a sarcastic rendition of Maloof Appreciation Night. Our decision to ask fans to attend as cheaply as possible has gotten our credentials revoked, probably fairly.) We all saw what happened to Seattle, and how the shell-shocked fans largely avoided KeyArena when it was clear that the Sonics were gone. We don’t want to follow that same path … but who wants to line the pockets of traitors? Who wants to toss cash at the moving van driver?

via Sacramento Kings preview: Where the games are only subplots –

A developer who lost all but 2 percent of the family’s ownership in The Palms. A developer whose mistakes forced the family to sell their patriarch’s cornerstone business, the New Mexico beer and spirits distributorship. “Trust me, I’m a developer.” When I look at George Maloof’s face, trust is the last thing I want to offer. (By a country mile.) He preceded to tell Sacramento that the Maloofs are committed to staying here. To renovating ARCO. (They have not moved an inch on that idea, according to reports.) Committed to Sacramento. So committed that it’s ridiculous to ask them to actually commit on paper. So committed that you might as well stop asking if they’re committed, because dammit they have said they are committed. Trust them.

I don’t trust that because I remember what the Maloofs didn’t do on April 13, 2011, and I don’t trust that because I remember what the Maloofs did do on April 13, 2012. I don’t believe a word George said about the Sacramento market — we know what he said about Sacramento is wrong. Not a word he said about the arena plan, because if he felt how he did about the arena’s viability all along, he never would have shook hands on the blueprint. The trust I had in the Maloof family and its intentions cracked for good when they forgot about their customers on April 13, 2011, and it shattered forever when they tore down their customers on April 13, 2012.

via When I trusted the Maloofs* – Sactown Royalty.

If you were a Sacramento fan, being treated this way, why would you want to put a single dollar in the Maloofs’ pockets? Why would you want a single opportunity to give them financial relief? Fans are always more attached to teams than owners, owners come and go, something they never talk about when they talk about their rights as owners. And generally, that relationship should remain as such. It’s nasty business to try linking your favorite team to the guy who pays the bills. Or even the athletes who wear the jerseys, a lot of the time. But this has become personal.

Sacramento has a personal relationship with the Maloofs. More than Heisley and Memphis, Bennett and OKC, even Holt and San Antonio. There’s a personal relationship between the Maloofs and the city of Sacramento, and it not a good one. It is bitter and personal and filled with resentment and anger. The Maloofs have openly pushed stories about how they’re being treated by Sacramento, as if they randomly were being bombarded. This is not to justify the abuse they’ve suffered, which is going to be extreme in some cases, because, let’s be honest, some people are terrible. And there’s no excuse for that. None. It doesn’t change the fact that this relationship was poisoned from both sides.

And the worst part is that the more they do to poison the relationship, the more it helps them. The league will not consider what the Maloofs have done to poison the well for ticket sales or revenue this season. They expect the fans to support them, no matter what. That’s their strength as a sports league. They can demand unreasonable things in exchange for the game they provide. And while David Stern in particular needs serious commendation for his protection of Sacramento in this instance, there’s only so far he can go.

So the more the Maloofs do to prove they should not own an NBA franchise, the more they will gain support of the league and its owners. Because very little in sports business makes sense.

That’s really the incredible part of this story. There’s nothing the fans, the citizens can do at this point. If the Maloofs decide to keep the team there, it will be of their own initiative. If they decide to file, nothing will change their mind. The fans can show up in droves and carry the team to the playoffs, and it likely won’t generate enough revenue to change the Maloofs mind, because the arena dictates so much of that. They can pressure the mayor’s office to cave and the city may simply not be able to afford it. They can not go and validate the Maloofs talk of the support.

The Maloofs have a right to protect their interests as businessmen. They’re not legally obligated to take care of Sacramento. Morally is another question, but as always that matters little in business.

If you were a Kings fan, would you want to go games? To buy jerseys, coozies, stickers? Would you want to support the team that’s yours?

Stephen Jackson wants a contract extension. In related news, sky is blue, water wet, gravity works.

Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Stephen Jackson, Gary Neal

Stephen Jackson’s last contract with Golden State was a killer. They were forced to dump it to Charlotte, who was desperate for anyone who could play (and that decision helped lead them to, you know, last year). Then Charlotte had to get rid of it by dropping it to Milwaukee. Milwaukee was able to handle the money, but he and Skiles clashed so back to Golden State he went! For like an hour. Then the Spurs gambled on him and it worked out well.

Now, he wants another one. Jackson made a huge deal about being traded to San Antonio, essentially likening it to being saved. He publicly made a lot of noise about his relationship with Popovich and Tim Duncan. But of course, his contract, at $10 million a year for an aging bench shooter and defensive presence, is expiring. And naturally, Jackson is shopping for that extension. And he’s not doing it quietly. From the San Antonio Express-News:

Only one thing could make Jackson’s professional life better: An extension of his contract, worth $10 million in its final season.

“I want it, but I can’t control it,” Jackson said, toweling sweat off his face after Tuesday’s practice. “Every day when I walk in here I’m hoping they’ll call me in and say, ‘Jack, here’s your extension.’

“I think I deserve it, but at the end of the day I’m still happy to be here and all I can worry about is what I can control, and that’s my play.”

via Spurs Nation » ‘Jack’ happy with role, wishing for new deal.

Jackson’s probably not shopping for huge money, but make no mistake. Jackson is as real about his background as it gets, and in the article linked above is publicly promoting his rap album out October 30th. He makes no apologies for who he is or how he lives his life. But part of that honesty is that he’s going to look out for himself financially. This isn’t anything new, players do it all the time, but often they let their agent handle most of that. Jackson  will publicly feed this fire, while never allowing it to disrupt his commitment to the team or his play. He’s authentic, and the guy you want on your side in a game, a fight, in life. He’s a mentor for young players and never tries to get in the way of his teammates’ success. But he wants his reward for his play and loyalty.

The Spurs, however, are no the sentimental type of organization. They’ll get the deal they want, or they’ll let him walk. It’s going to come down to whether or not Jackson is able to keep a realistic view of what he’s worth to a winning organization.

Doc Rivers is pretty much treating Darko like Robin Williams treated Matt Damon in “Good Will Hunting”

Darko Milicic

I think one of the worst things that can happen to a writer is when his references become outdated.

So naturally I elected to go with the “Good Will Hunting” reference, here. Anyway, Doc Rivers was talking about Darko Milicic, and the conversation comes across like a horse whisperer or some sort of counselor. He’s trying to make the bad men in Darko’s basketball past go away. From the Boston Globe:

“You can see that he gets frustrated easy,” Rivers said. “So we’re trying to eliminate those episodes. Our thing right now with Darko is to play forward. From being around for a short time, as a coach I can probably feel he’s played his career backwards. He lives in the past a lot and we’re trying to get him to live in the future. I told him (Friday), the only time I’ll take you out is if you make a mistake and make another mistake because you’re thinking about the last mistake. I won’t take you out for making a mistake. So hopefully that works.”

via Doc Rivers promises to take mental approach with Darko, Rondo -Celtics blog – Boston Globe basketball news.

Seriously, I get that the movie’s old, but can’t you see Rivers hugging Milicic awkwardly, while telling him “It’s not your fault. Brown/Saunders/Iavaroni/Adelman never trusted you” over and over again?

The reality is that Milicic has struggled for a variety of reasons. And maybe if the NBA had a legitimate minor league system so he could have been brought along slowly, he would have made it. Maybe if he’d just found the right coach. But Milicic has had opportunities with quality coaches and still struggled. Again, Rick Adelman wanted Darko gone before Michael Beasley. Think about that.

He wouldn’t be the first guy to find success with the Celtics where he had failed elsewhere. And they need a legitimate center in the worst way. But it’s one thing to talk about the mistakes in preseason. It’s another to live with them in the regular season, and Rivers isn’t in a position to allow a whole lot of growth and development. A standard’s still set for the Celtics’ season.

We’ll see if Milicic can take this newfound support to establish himself, or just how far Rivers’ patience goes.