The Sacramento Kings Risk In Bringing Back Beno Udri, Er, Marcus Thornton

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Come with me, into the mind of a maniac. Uh, I mean, sit down and let’s take a journey in my bad-ass time machine back to 2007. Strap on your rhinestone seat belt and let’s went.

Okay, we’re here. There’s a stench in the air. Smells like suck. Ah, that’s why! It’s 2007. Mike Bibby just suffered a significant thumb injury that requires surgery – he’s out at least 8 to 10 weeks and the Kings are in desperate need of a guard. There’s this young, unappreciated point guard from the South who’s available – let’s bring him in for about half of a season and see what he can do with a team riddled with injuries to their top players.

With a change of scenery, that undervalued guard promptly took the reigns and put up 14.5/5 assists/3.5 rebounds on 47% from the floor, 40% from the arc for the remainder of his 51 games that season in purple and black . Absolute money. Fans were going nuts – what a steal the Kings picked up. Geoff Petrie at his finest. The player, you ask? Beno Udrih.

Udrih’s high quality play caused a bit of a situation in the Kings front office the following offseason – do they take the somewhat unknown and small sample size and give him a financially rewarding contract? Or do they let him walk? $32.323 million dollars and at a length of five years, we knew the answer. And we know how it worked out…..

So let’s hop back in my Chevelle time machine and motor to 2011 where the Sacramento Kings now have a young, unappreciated guard from the South who played about a third of a season for an injury riddled Kings team and is up for a financially rewarding contract. Sounds familiar….but is it?

Honestly, bringing back Marcus Thornton is a risk to the Sacramento Kings – there’s no way to argue it’s not. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good risk, but, it’s still a risk. While we don’t know a specific number financially, we can expect Thornton to command upwards of 25-30 million dollars in a 4-5 year deal – and that’s no chump change, especially to a team who’s as financially desperate as the Kings. Giving that contract to any player who only played less than a third of a season in your uniform with only a few years of sporadic NBA history can’t come without significant risks.

Comparing Udrih and Thornton is difficult as they’re vastly different players – but both of their situations do seem eerily similar. I would love to have Marcus Thornton back and I do think the risk is worth the reward, but, the Kings do need to be careful with the contract they hand out – which hasn’t really seemed to be the case the last few seasons.

In no way am I saying that bringing back Thornton is the wrong move (and as I said yesterday, I fully expect the Kings to retain him) – if its within a reasonable financial scenario. It’s just that expectations need to be tempered and getting burned on the contract is a possibility. Paying a player for what they did in a small sample size of games usually doesn’t work out the best – and again, not saying that’ll be the case with Thornton (there are a handful of scenarios where this has worked out, i.e. C.J. Miles), but you do have to think about it if you’re Geoff Petrie.

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Tags: Beno Udrih C.J. Miles Geoff Petrie Marcus Thornton Mike Bibby Sacramento Kings Utah Jazz

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