I've been looking forward to this post for awhile. (Not really.) Where do the Kings go from here? With the news of Michael Malone being hired yesterday (or presumed to start the process of Malone being hired within the next few days), and with the news of the sale officially closing, and with the news of Vivek Ranadive purchasing the 7% stake that Chris Hansen declined to follow through with purchasing after being denied the 65% stake, well, today's a good day.
That's the good news. The bad news is everything else.
What is this roster looking like moving forward?
The bad news is that the real reality of this roster is a pretty ugly one right now. You have a bunch of mis-matched parts, no real superstar or franchise player to build around, one player who has the talent but lacking the personality to push the team over the top, a player with the personality with fairly atrocious production to match, and a various assortment of players who more or less fit in some ways but do not always fit well together.
Yeah. This is nothing new. But the situation has not changed, and while I don't think everything gets settled this month, I do think the decisions that the new GM (whoever it may be) has some colossally difficult decisions to make. That's why GM's get paid to do the job they do, no doubt, but this is a rather difficult degree of difficulty. (Then again, if it were simple, anybody could do it, right?)
The best asset the Kings may have right now is either A) DeMarcus Cousins or B) Tyreke Evans or C) The 2014 pick depending on where it ends up. That's not much of a consensus.
That's a bit of a problem if you can't realistically get a clear consensus from a lot of smart fans on what the best asset's the organization currently has.
(Note: I know a lot of fans think that Cousins is the best asset the Kings organization has, but it's pretty clear there are plenty of fans who do not agree. Fans who do not walk anyone's line, and do not tolerate either bullshit or rhetoric to dominate the conversation. People who watch this team day in day out and know how this team got there. These people don't just say this stuff for the hell of it. There's a reason.)
If I were to guess right now, I'd have to say Cousins is the best asset the Kings have for a couple of reasons. 1) He's tradeable right now. Literally. The Kings can't trade their 2014 pick at all due to the Stepien Rule and the pick that was part of the JJ Hickson trade. Note: The Kings also can't trade their 2013 1st round pick due to the Stepien Rule, too, but you can get around this because once you make a pick the pick is no longer seen as a future pick.
Tyreke Evans can't be traded at any point, as his contract is up on June 30th, and until the Kings either A) offer Tyreke the Qualifying Offer or B) the Maximum Qualifying Offer, there's no contract decision to be made and no trade can happen with a potential free agent to be. The only thing left with Tyreke is to either A) offer the QO, B) offer the Max QO, C) offer Tyreke the QO and let him field offers from other teams with the possibility to match, D) re-sign Tyreke outright or E) facilitate a sign & trade for Tyreke.
Thus, literally until the draft, DeMarcus Cousins, quite literally by default, is the only actual trade asset the Kings have among the 2014 pick (assuming they get it), Evans and Cousins.
That isn't exactly a ringing endorsement of DeMarcus Cousins is it? I thought not.
Which, again, is a problem. This franchise does not have a "franchise" player in any way shape or form. That's a problem, too.
So, again, where to go?
I would love to have a clear answer here, but whatever answer Vivek Ranadive, his new GM and Malone come up with, it's going to be wrong. Or most likely will be wrong anyway.
Let's say for a moment that Ranadive and his group of merry bandits get together and decide to keep the band together as many are advocating right now. Let's say Tyreke gets a max contract, Cousins doesn't get a contract extension at all (I wouldn't hesitate to do it that way).
Which way do you move moving forward? Having a clear vision is helpful, and well, I think we know that starts with ownership.
Is Free Agency a way to go?
I've said as recently as March that I doubt Free Agency could be a real factor in the process moving ahead. But I might be wrong with that depending on how creative the new GM and ownership are in crafting deals. Also, what assets they are willing to give up to make a deal work. (Easier said than done.)
Right now, with cap holds and committed salary, the Kings have about 72 million according to Sham Sports. (Looks right to me.) Additiionally, Storytellers has Aaron Brooks cap hit for the upcoming season at 686,419 which seems right, too. (At the time, Brooks was believed to get the rest of his guaranteed salary, and the rule is the buyout will effect the remaining years of the contract with the buyout taking place of the salary as far as the cap hit for the remaining years of the contract. However it's possible that set-off, especially if Brooks new contract with the Rockets ends up being guaranteed for next season, that the Kings are able to get a full amount of set-off that exceeds what the current cap hit is. If nothing else, that makes it easier on the Kings moving forward in terms of flexibility but little else. 650K means little in overall cap room, but it's one minor hurdle you no longer have to clear.
On the other hand, set-off is also clearly for actual salary paid, and it's not clear how it effects buy-outs. So I'm assuming that Brooks' salary remains on the cap as a result.)
So right now, this is the cap picture as I see it (with a great assist from Sham Sports especially and Storytellers too–as always thank you gentleman).
|Aaron Brooks *||$2,575,806||686,419||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||$2,575,806|
|Total w/o options||$53,576,042||$42,032,078||$30,571,250||$6,431,250||$6,825,000||$0|