Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sacramento fire sale

It appears this particular championship window for the Sacramento Kings has closed.
In the past two years, they have lost Vlade Divac (free agency and subsequent retirement), Chris Webber (traded to Philadelphia) and now Peja Stojakovic (traded to Indiana).
Even with Ron Artest, finally received in exchange for Stojakovic Wednesday, it looks like the Kings aren't going to sniff contention for at least a few seasons. Right now, they are glued to the bottom of the Pacific Division with a 17-24 record.
So let's get while the gettin' is good.
If you're Cavaliers GM Danny Ferry, you have to know that an elite point guard could cure a lot of the backcourt impotence since Larry Hughes went down with hand surgery at the start of the month.
If the Kings are in a dealing mood, let's talk Mike Bibby. He's averaging 20 points per game as one of the few remaining offensive options for the Kings. He is among the league leaders in three-point field goal percentage. He can quarterback an offense with the best of them.
And, man, would he look good in a Cavs uniform, starting right in bewteen Hughes and LeBron James.
Of course, to get something, you have to give up something in return. Contrary to what a Plain Delaer reader wrote to Cavs beat reporter Branson Wright last weekend, Alan Henderson, Sasha Pavlovic and Damon Jones would not be enough to get Bibby. If it was, it would rain Guiness Draught in Cleveland every St. Patrick's Day.
Any deal to get Bibby or any other meaningful player would likely force the Cavs to part with Drew Gooden, who in addition to rebounding and double-digit points, also brings the added salary-cap attraction of being a restricted free agent this offseason.
Of course, that would leave a pretty large hole to plug in the frontcourt. And before you blurt out "Anderson Varejao," remember he has been back for two weeks after missing two and a half months recovering from shoulder surgery. He brings energy, but little in the way of skill. He hasn't been able to work on his game since July.
There's Alan Henderson and Donyell Marshall, but both have shortcomings. Henderson is a decent bench player, but if he was a starter being relied on for 10 points and 10 rebounds a night, it might be a different story.
Marshall is 32 years old with deteriorating legs. His perimeter shooting is so important to the Cavs, I'd be afraid to start him for fear he'd break down physically and get injured.
So, if Gooden is too hard to replace, who is trade bait then?
The good news is the Kings are probably interested in low-cost, younger players. The Cavs have first-round draft picks Pavlovic and Luke Jackson to market. Pavlovic's tradeability is in an upswing since he has been starting and producing.
Other than that, the Cavs' tradeables are limited too the too costly (Eric Snow, Damon Jones) and bit players (Ira Newble).
The end result might be aiming for a talent like Bibby, but having to compromise for something less.

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