When Geoff Petrie took over as President of Basketball Operations for the Sacramento Kings in the 1995-96 season, he came in with gun’s blazing, taking over a sub .500 squad which just a few seasons later he molded into a playoff roster, soon there after challenging for an NBA title. He initially made minor (although still significant) moves to get his roster set to his liking, but one trend in Petrie’s moves was the risk factor. Drafting an unknown out of Serbia and Montenegro in Peja Stojakovic, fully knowing he wouldn’t play in the NBA for two plus seasons (not to mention the semi-complicated buyout process to a less than desired NBA destination). Gutsy. Trading away your franchise icon in Mitch Richmond for a disgruntled, although talented Chris Webber? I can’t begin to explain the amount of gourds that took. It’s difficult enough to trade away any franchise player, but to do so in Sacramento? Where fans universally bleed the team’s blood? For a perceived mal-content? Even Chuck Norris is envious of those balls. The bold moves continued – drafting a talented but highly questioned Jason Williams – signing Vlade Divac to a (at the time) hefty contract – trading away your second year player in Tariq Abdul-Wahad – trading away Corliss Williamson, etc, etc.
I bring this up because with the shortened season, the NBA trade deadline is less than seven weeks away and the Kings currently look, well, as awful as they ever have – and Geoff Petrie? Un-risky as ever.
Sure, Petrie has made sideways trades, moving players like Kevin Martin and Carl Landry, but nothing franchise altering like moves of years past and it’s showing in the Kings results. One thing we continue to hear is time – it takes time to build a team – it takes time for a team and players to develop. I certainly don’t disagree with that thought process, however, as a Kings fan you do have to question how long you’re going to have to be subjected to the annual “just a bit more time” excuse. There comes a period when you have to realize the puzzle pieces you put together simply don’t fit together – now am I saying that’s currently the case? No, not exactly – I’m simply bringing up the argument of it.
Value wise, the Kings lack big trade pieces outside of DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans. Sure, they have some very nice complimentary pieces in Marcus Thornton and to lesser extents, J.J. Hickson and Jason Thompson type players, but if you’re trying to alter the course of your franchise – lateral moves aren’t going to get the job done. Of course, the other nice piece the Kings have is cap space – but we’ve seen that hasn’t been as profitable in the trade market as many generally assume, especially again when you lack any significant trade pieces to pair with that cap space in a potential trade scenario. Not to say the Kings couldn’t walk into a perfect storm of a team needing to shed big money with high quality talent returning the Kings way, but, that almost seems too good to be true – mostly because it is.
Expecting a franchise savior to show up in free agency isn’t something you’re going to hold your breath for in Sacramento, so the Kings have to look at the trade market and the draft to improve their team – and despite their struggles, the Kings barring a lotto miracle, aren’t going to be in a position to draft a franchise stud (and even then you’re assuming there is one in this upcoming draft which, as of now, looks mildly weak for Tim Duncan‘s or Kevin Garnett‘s).
That leaves the trade market for Geoff Petrie. I’m certainly not advocating a trade for one of the Kings building blocks, but, I am questioning when you begin to look at it not working. For Petrie, he’d be selling low on any of his “larger” trade chips, which obviously isn’t ideal – but he has one more year of a “cheap” Tyreke Evans (two with the qualifying offer) and the last thing you want to do is get caught in a 4 or 5 year, expensive deal in a scenario that’s not working. Again, that’s not to say it can’t work – that’s essentially my question. Do you continue to ride this storm out and hope that calm seas and playoff visions are on the other end? Or do you pull another risky, Mitch Richmond type deal, changing the identity and course of the franchise? You can only wait to make this move so long before your time runs out.
For curiosity sake – how say you, King fans?