20Q | Articles | Commentary

20Q: What if Monte McNair’s lackluster offseason is part of a much larger plan?

An oddly unaggressive offseason may signal the start of a quick reset around De'Aaron Fox.

Welcome to 20Q, a variation on our usual 30Q series. With the abbreviated time until the season begins, we'll just do 20 questions this season finishing up right before the season begins on December 22nd.

After five years of watching Vlade Divac scramble to overpay middling veterans as soon as free agency opened, Monte McNair's first offseason in Sacramento has felt oddly docile. While De'Aaron Fox's five-year max rookie-scale extension has been universally praised, McNair's other priorities and motivations have felt rather tepid, or even shortsighted.

The first controversial call was allowing Bogdan Bogdanovic, the team's most versatile player, to join the Atlanta Hawks for no compensation after the Donte DiVincenzo trade fell through. Instead of matching Bogi's offer and dealing him in a year or two for some sort of value, the Kings cited one of Vlade Divac's favorite catchphrases when justifying the decision: financial flexibility - not exactly the most inspiring game plan for a fan base wallowing in a 14-year playoff drought.

From there, the only new players who have been brought into the fold have been draft picks and low-level veterans, despite the team having access to the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, a spending tool worth about $9.3 million. Last year, the Kings snagged Richaun Holmes with a similar exception. In 2020, they've refrained from using the MLE. Outside of re-signing DaQuan Jeffries, the team hasn't exactly gotten younger either, bringing in the 31-year old Hassan Whiteside, 27-year old Frank Kaminsky, about to be 27-year old Glenn Robinson III, and a project big in the 23-year old Chimezie Metu. For a team that's unlikely to battle for a playoff spot, bringing in a coterie of in-prime players has been a bit head-scratching.

Despite the discomfort of some of these moves, they begin to make some sense when viewed through the lens of a quick reset around De'Aaron Fox. If the Kings are actually going to try to win games and push for the playoffs this year, they likely wouldn't have let Bogdanovic walk. At $18 million per year, his production would have been well worth the price, especially when considering the Kings wouldn't be over the luxury tax, and Bogi would be a tradeable asset down the line. However, if Sacramento is planning on shedding overpaid veterans, acquiring young players, and earning a high draft pick in the stacked 2021 class, moving on from Bogdanovic begins to click. Not only would Bogdan make the team a little too good on the court for a top-5 selection, but taking on his salary would also force Monte McNair to try and move three highly paid contracts in a few short months. Bogdan Bogdanovic, Harrison Barnes, and Buddy Hield would have combined to make over $65 million, and that's not even considering the additional $25 million in salary for Cory Joseph, Nemanja Bjelica, and Richaun Holmes. No matter what sort of value some of those players carried, moving $90 million worth of contracts in a year or two would have been almost impossible.

Following the same train of thought, if McNair is planning on ditching a failed playoff run for a quick roster turnaround, his offseason signings also begin to transform from frustrating to potentially intelligent. Each of the players who were brought into the fold can replace more highly paid, valuable guys in front of them. Glen Robinson III, a wing who can defend and reliably knock down shots from beyond the arc, can slot in for Harrison Barnes. Frank Kaminsky, a stretch-big (okay, a sorta, kinda stretch big), can try to take on Nemanja Bjelica's role if the Serbian sharpshooter is moved. Hassan Whiteside, a rim protector and rebounding machine, is a potential substitute for Richaun Holmes. Some may be frustrated by giving theoretical future minutes to unexciting veterans rather than throwing a bunch of young projects on the floor at the same time, but bringing in competent if unimpressive contributors will help to bridge the development gap for De'Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, and Marvin Bagley. Haliburton throwing lobs to Hassan Whiteside is a much more sure bet for his development than throwing them to Thon Maker or Justin Patton. Complete chaos and fringe or non-NBA talent wouldn't provide nearly the same on-court education.

Even the terms of the free agent deals handed out by Sacramento point toward a mini-rebuild. Every contract is either for one year or has some sort of non-guarantee in future seasons. Furthermore, Kaminsky, Metu, and Robinson are all non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed for the coming season, providing the Kings both flexibility during the 2020 campaign and a potential, small trade chip for teams looking to shed salary when the deadline rolls around. Looking to future seasons, Sacramento currently holds more than $40 million in expiring contracts, and if McNair is able to move Barnes and Hield by next summer, the only guaranteed contracts for the Kings in 2021 will be De'Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley, Tyrese Haliburton, and Robert Woodard. That's about as complete and quick of a reset as a team can hope to obtain in a single season.

Of course, it's entirely possible that these moves have been nothing more than the sum of another crappy offseason in Sacramento. The Kings may have looked at the raw numbers of Hassan Whiteside, who also registers well in most defensive analytics, and believed he was the solution at center as a rim protector. Glen Robinson III may be viewed as a younger, cheaper upgrade to Kent Bazemore. Maybe the Kings let Bogdanovic walk because they wanted to give all of his minutes to Tyrese Haliburton anyway and refused to pay big money for another wing. All things are possible when it comes to the Sacramento Kings. These next few months will prove whether Monte McNair has a grand plan to reset around De'Aaron Fox, or if Kings fans are in for another disappointing, failed push for the last playoff spot, followed by a late lottery pick.

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AirmaxPG
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December 3, 2020 7:58 am

Seems like a team that not built to legitimately compete (either now or in the next few years). And also not a team that will likely secure a very high draft pick in the next couple of stacked drafts.

It’s a bold strategy. Let’s see if it pays off.

RikSmits
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December 3, 2020 8:31 am
Reply to  AirmaxPG

Yeah, it smells of a compromise (with Vivek?) or a straddling the fence direction. If the quick reset is the plan I have my doubts.

In principle I am happy with not throwing money at underperforming vets, if that is indeed the plan. If it’s lack of money, i am less happy.

It’s a nice vision that Haliburton would improve from throwing lobs to Whiteside, but would not be halted in his development by the low effort, low BBIQ and me-first approach of Whiteside.

My hope is that the right deals didn’t materialize, Monte stays patient but rids the team of non-core players (to me, Fox and the rookies) for a decent return at the trade deadline.

Last edited 1 year ago by RikSmits
andy_sims
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December 3, 2020 10:50 am
Reply to  RikSmits

I don’t see the moves as some effort to save money. McNair is proceeding as one would when directing a rebuild, and tying your cap sheet into knots to acquire players that aren’t likely to be a part of the long-term goal would be imprudent. Of course, the result is that the payroll is likely to be lower, but it’s justified.

As a fan, throwing piles of money at players that aren’t likely to be key guys going forward doesn’t make sense. The time to spend will come, and when it does, I don’t think McNair will be wearing handcuffs.

NorCalKingsFan
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December 3, 2020 6:35 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

The time to spend will come, and when it does, I don’t think McNair will be wearing handcuffs.

I don’t believe we are ever going to sign a top tier FA, not anytime, not ever – McNair is undoubtedly better at this job than Vlade but IMO he has not been good so far as the Kings GM. He hasn’t sucked either which is probably makes him the best GM since Petrie.

He made a gamble with letting BB8 go for nothing and if he doesn’t use that cap space for something tangible over the next 2 years, it becomes a super stupid move instead of just a bad one. If he manages to pull something out of the hat with the available space, he can redeem himself and put the rebuild back on track.

I do feel better about the direction of the franchise for no other reason than we have a competent GM, but it still feels direction-less and so far his moves have been…um, okay??

Last edited 1 year ago by NorCalKingsFan
RORDOG
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December 3, 2020 6:41 pm
Reply to  NorCalKingsFan

I don’t really get the redeem himself part. He said he didn’t retain Bogi to have the flexibility to make future moves. If he makes future moves then that’s not redemption. It’s just following the plan you had all along.

NorCalKingsFan
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December 3, 2020 9:01 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Letting Bogi go without compensation is a ridiculous fail if nothing else happens with the space that would’ve been used to retain him. Even if Bogi is not in the long term plans, you simply cannot waste assets in the NBA.

Maybe you don’t understand my redemption comment because you believe that not retaining Bogi for financial flexibility was fine. I know you said you’d have retained him if it were up to you, but you also supported MMc’s decision if that is what he thinks is best for his plan…I don’t think it was okay at all. I think he clammed up when plan A fell through.

IMO, he is on the negative side of the ledger for the Bogi decision. I hate the idea of letting go of a valuable player “to keep your powder dry” for some hypothetical potential maybe opportunity when Bogi was a bird in the hand.

If MMc uses the space for something equal or better, then he is has redeemed himself in my eyes because his plan worked. If he doesn’t use the space, then he simply wasted assets and made it more difficult for the team to become a contender and his plan failed.

At this point in time, the only tangible outcome we can point to from the Bogi decision is that the Kings lost their 2nd best player in exchange for literally nothing [space].

Last edited 1 year ago by NorCalKingsFan
RORDOG
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December 3, 2020 11:01 pm
Reply to  NorCalKingsFan

I think justifying my opinion on the Bogi thing would probably require complex spreadsheets and math skills I simply don’t have. Really what it boils down to is that I just don’t think it’s a good idea to pay $72 million for an asset that will most likely provide less than $72 million in on-court value over the next 4 years.

02kingsfan
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December 4, 2020 4:07 am
Reply to  RORDOG

And you have to think McNair has considered all the risks and rewards with Bogi-it’s not like he’s so durable over his career. If he gets injured next season then you really dig a hole for yourself to climb out. Risky moves like this for small market teams like us just don’t make sense.

RORDOG
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December 3, 2020 9:01 am
Reply to  AirmaxPG

I think you would look at his plan differently if you believed Fox is the level of talent that is worthy of building around. You don’t believe the basic premise, so the moves made in an attempt to build Fox-centric team will always be wrong.

To be clear, I have some concerns about Fox, primarily his shooting and not really being an alpha dog, but I still think the plan could work with a little luck. They already got lucky (or made their own luck) by landing Haliburton. I think he’s as close to a perfect complimentary player for Fox as you can get. Now they need to get a little ping pong ball luck in next year’s draft, and wait until an opportunity presents itself to trade for a second star.

Obviously, this plan may not actually work, but you could say the same about tanking for high draft picks since each plan requires a bit of luck to succeed. My point is just that if you don’t think step 1 is the correct first step, then it makes sense that you would oppose each subsequent step along the way.

AirmaxPG
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December 3, 2020 10:49 am
Reply to  RORDOG

That’s fair. I think Fox is fine, although not on the same level as other players from his draft that were given max contracts such as Mitchell and Tatum.

But even if he is, I just don’t see any way to become relevant without a legit star alongside him. We already know free agency is not an option. And what trades with our limited assets would return anything remotely approaching an all-star player (or a high draft pick for that matter). If you trade for bad contracts, you might get a late lottery pick… but then you have a horrendous contract on your books.

Which means the only likely way we can have a player that can match or hopefully exceed Fox’s talent is by getting a top 4 pick in the next two drafts.

And this might be another fundamental point of disagreement… I don’t think McNair has done enough to either make the team better, or to drop significantly in the lottery. Sure other teams have gotten better… but we should be about the same as our 11th or 12th worst record last year.

So that was the original point of my comment. We’re not built to contend anytime soon, and we’re not built to bank very good odds in the lottery.

So I feel like our ceiling right now is mediocrity.

BeTheBall
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December 3, 2020 10:59 am
Reply to  AirmaxPG

If we can move Buddy, Barnes, Holmes, and Bjelica for whatever pick/overpriced close to expiring bad players value we can get, we can significantly lower the ceiling for this roster. I think we’re much closer to being a bottom 5 team than we realize.

Otis
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December 3, 2020 11:03 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

Depends on how close to the deadline we’re talking when he makes these deals.

BeTheBall
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December 3, 2020 11:10 am
Reply to  Otis

For me, I’d say either way. I don’t see this roster, paired with this coaching staff, being much better than a 7th or 8th spot. Drop those 4 and it should fall off a cliff from there, because then you’re sitting with Fox as being your only halfway decent player.

Otis
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December 3, 2020 11:02 am
Reply to  AirmaxPG

I think McNair has been ok so far, but there’s nothing he’s done here that’s really earthshattering.

Maxing Fox? Sure. Drafting Haliburton? Of course. Taking the option on Nemanja’s deal? No brainer. These smaller FA deals are fine, but there’s really nothing that stands out to me. The second round picks are fine, but as with all second rounders, the players may well be gone in a year or two.

Additionally, there were some similarities to the Divac free agency era – plenty of business being done around the league during the offseason, and instead of involving himself, he filled up the saved cap space with odds and ends. I remember one of the annual rites of passage at StR was to criticize Vlade’s free agent signings, but find the silver lining that he rarely tied up long term cap (team options, reducing salaries over time, etc) which “maintained flexibility”.

I’m not entirely sure what McNair has done to this point is significantly different, but that remains to be seen with his follow-up moves. Maybe there was really nothing he could (or should have) gotten involved in, but at best I think we can be neutral about his offseason moves.

He does have a tiny bit of cap space left (I think), but not enough to really be considered a factor for absorbing a great deal of (at least first-year) salary. We’ll see if he can make hay out of the longer term cap space and the smaller contracts (like Holmes/Bjelica)/spare parts he signed.

RORDOG
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December 3, 2020 11:44 am
Reply to  Otis

I just want to point out that I always thought the “Catanella Special” was really the “Vlade Tax.” If we all knew Vlade was more than willing to tack on a partial guarantee at the end of the deal, then agents knew that as well. Why wouldn’t they counter Vlade’s offer with a partial guaranteed extra year to pocket a couple extra million?

02kingsfan
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December 4, 2020 4:11 am
Reply to  Otis

I honestly don’t get this sentiment that McNair hasn’t done anything special this off-season. That’s not to say I disagree but what moves could he had made to not be lackluster? I think time will tell but for this season I see plenty of encouraging signs that he can actually steer this team into relevancy.

Socalpurplecurse
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December 3, 2020 1:57 pm
Reply to  AirmaxPG

The thing is right now there are too many variables. What Monte has done is he has made safe chess moves with an aggressive view in the future once youve gathered more information on the status of your team. He has brilliantly prepared for both instances, 1) Fox improves but margianally making him a fringe star in this league, Bagley stays healthier but missed some games and remains a high energy rebounding rim running big and Hali is nice but doesnt show immediate star quality. If this happens its blow it up time and this article is right on the money and Monte has prepared for that. 2) If Fox makes a leap into legit stardom averaging 25 and 7 and Buddy breaks out into a consistent sniper, Bagley stays healthy and shows promise as a double double machine and get better on defense, and Hali shows off his brilliance art in passing and making winning plays in the running for rookie of the year, Barnes stays steady as a legit 3 and D compliment then this changes everything since we will be fighting for the playoffs. In this case we keep our roster other then sending out a few expiring contracts for picks and in the off-season we have some money to upgrade accordingly to make the next step. By trade deadline we’ll know where we are and Monte will have much more information to lean on moving forward

ManilaBayCleanerCrew
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December 3, 2020 3:10 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

I see us getting top 3-6 in the 2021 Draft if the tank goes smoothly (ie Vivek letting Monte do his thing rather than forcing a playoff run this year).

ManilaBayCleanerCrew
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December 3, 2020 8:00 am

Sactown’s going to Tanktown this year for that sweet, sweet 2021 draft class. Also, lots of free agents available in 2021 so Monte’s been gearing up for that one.

Hobby916
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December 3, 2020 8:18 am

Well, at least it is something different. He is bringing in FAs at a much lower cost than Vlade did, and will probably produce near the same level as Hill, Rondo, M. Barnes, CoJo, Kosta (I miss Kosta), Dedmon etc. I am okay to wait and see what the next moves will be to improve the team which may take a year or two.

All in all, I am okay with what he has done thus far.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
December 3, 2020 8:59 am
Reply to  Hobby916

I’m a little surprised that Kosta isn’t in the league somewhere. I mean, the Pistons just gave Mason Plumlee $25M over 3 years and he is a year younger than Kosta. Hell, Nemanja is a year older than Kosta. I’d think he is at least worth the minimum to a contender who needs a big body.

ZillersCat
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December 3, 2020 9:44 am
Reply to  Hobby916

Isn’t Kosta part of the forum?
comment image

Last edited 1 year ago by ZillersCat
andy_sims
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December 3, 2020 10:56 am
Reply to  Hobby916

I still think that citing Kosta as a bad signing is odd. He averaged about $8 mil per season over four years, and generally played solidly, if not spectacularly. He was a good citizen while here, and didn’t break the bank.

I like to criticize VD as much as anyone, but the Koufos deal doesn’t make the top ten of Divac’s greatest (s)hits.

Hobby916
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December 3, 2020 11:02 am
Reply to  andy_sims

I am not criticizing the Kosta signing, I liked having him on the team. I just think that it was a lot for a team that had no real chances of making the playoffs. His production probably could have been worth a lot less than he was signed for. Over the past several years, I think Kosta was near the top of my list of Kings that I liked.

RORDOG
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December 3, 2020 11:46 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Because the Kings already had Cousins and Willie at center when they signed Kosta. There was no reason to sign an additional center to a 4 year deal.

andy_sims
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December 3, 2020 1:06 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

They signed KK in 2015, and traded Cousins at the start of 2017. With Willie still on his rookie deal, eight mil for a guy whose skillset is very different than your other centers isn’t a backbreaker.

RORDOG
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December 3, 2020 1:58 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

It’s not a backbreaker. It’s just dumb to commit $32 million to a center when you don’t need any additional centers.

G-naps
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December 3, 2020 5:59 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

The list of head scratching moves is long but at least we had this.

IMG_0244.jpg
Gregoryl
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December 3, 2020 8:54 am

I’m giving Monte one year to do whatever the F he thinks is right. I don’t totally get all the decisions, but I think Tim does a great job laying out Monte’s likely thought process. I was pretty relieved to have an off-season where we didn’t overpay middling vets to under-perform here for a a year, only to get traded for pennies on the dollar. Thanks Monte!

NorCalKingsFan
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December 3, 2020 6:42 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

this is where I am at for the most part, less optimistic though because I don’t believe we are committed to the tank and IMO, that is what we should be doing.

Kingsguru21
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December 3, 2020 9:20 am

I like Monte’s attempt at finding value whereever he can get it. A bigger way of this is the contract terms for Woodard and especially that guaranteed 5th year for De’Aaron Fox. That’s serious value if it plays anywhere near what we hope in both players cases.

The Bogi thing is a perception of value, but I don’t think he’s as valuable as Buddy Hield optics be damned. And, while I wouldn’t be upset if the Kings trades Barnes or Hield, I think getting back competent veteran talent for them is more important than getting an ‘asset’. You don’t need to have 800 draft picks to rebuild. You still need NBA players to be competitive whenever that window is. And certainly keeping Hield and Barnes this year doesn’t make you competitive enough to take you out of the running for a top draft pick. Especially when you could easily be 8-10 games under 500 in your division.

Then there’s the smaller value plays in the resigning of Daquan Jeffries and the draft invite to Chimezie Metu. And who knows what Jahmi’us Ramsey offers at this point, if anything at all. He’s probably not going to amount to anything in Sacramento, but maybe Justin James still has promise?

This off-season won’t be ultimately about the moves made other than the obvious one’s (drafting Halliburton, Woodard and Ramsey, extending Fox) and whether or not letting Bogdanovich go to Atlanta ends up with the Kings in a better spot long term. But you need to put yourself in the right spot to better place yourself to take advantage of opportunities that come up and it made little sense that Monte McNair would come in and just continue Vlade Divac’s vision of the roster. Which means doing things that frustrate in the interim for hopefully a better long term outcome.

Will it work? Who knows. But the process seems infinitely better than the process in the previous regime(s) and that in of itself is a significant improvement. So in that regard, I’m quite happy with the off-season as a whole even if I don’t love every part on it’s own individual merit.

RobHessing
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December 3, 2020 10:48 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

comment image

andy_sims
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December 3, 2020 10:57 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

I thought we sent out Justin James on draft night.

BeTheBall
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December 3, 2020 11:01 am
Reply to  andy_sims

He was to be part of the Bogi trade.

andy_sims
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December 3, 2020 11:46 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

Ah, okay, thank you. I lost track of that with everything going on.

And good! James seems like he could develop into an asset, although more likely as a trade piece.

Kingsguru21
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December 3, 2020 11:27 am
Reply to  andy_sims

As BTB said, he was part of the Bogi S&T with Milwaukee.

ManilaBayCleanerCrew
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December 3, 2020 3:14 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Get rid of Walton and upgrade Gentry to head coach while we find a better one to push this franchise to contention is my wishlist for the coming year.

Marty
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December 3, 2020 9:25 am

€œNew crew who dis?€

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Kingsguru21
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December 3, 2020 9:28 am
Reply to  Marty

‘Comrade Monte reporting for tank duty, SIR!!!’

RobHessing
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December 3, 2020 9:57 am
Reply to  Marty

“Hinkie,
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MaybeNextYear
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December 3, 2020 9:47 am

Monte so far seems to be abiding by three principles:
1) Clean the cap sheet (this and the next principle are all about Monte’s favorite word, flexibility).

2)Abolish the Sacramento tax (only make positive value signings).

3) Build around Fox (and maybe Bagley).

That’s it. It doesn’t have to be complicated.

RORDOG
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December 3, 2020 10:18 am
Reply to  MaybeNextYear

I’m so glad it appears we’re getting rid of that “Sacramento tax” nonsense. Yes, if your plan is to bring in some past-their-prime vets with name recognition, then you’ll have to overpay to do it. But that’s been more of a self-imposed penalty than some sort of unspoken location-based tariff. There will come a time in which the Kings will need to convince a max-level player to take the same amount of money to play here versus some other more marketable location, but the Kings aren’t there yet.

BestHyperboleEver
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December 3, 2020 10:26 am
Reply to  RORDOG

Yeah, that’s always been a ridiculous approach. And a ridiculous cop out for fans wanting to give the FO a pass. Intentionally overpaying players (without at least getting additional assets for your trouble) is a terrible approach no matter where you play.

G-naps
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December 3, 2020 6:07 pm

And it was win win for the players. Agents knew they could get an inflated offer from Sacramento then take that offer to other teams. The player could then sign for more, maybe, with another team. If no other team matched the offer the player then signs with the king’s knowing they could be traded by the trade deadline.

I know I’m just repeating what we’ve talked about as nauseum when it came to free agents.

Gregoryl
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December 3, 2020 10:28 am
Reply to  MaybeNextYear

Building through the draft and trades eliminates the Sacramento tax.

JackassCentral916
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December 3, 2020 9:48 am

Great article, and even better picture for the headline!

BestHyperboleEver
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December 3, 2020 9:48 am

I think this is just a transitional year. I think there’s going to be A LOT of movement in the NBA between whenever new signings can be traded, through the trade deadline, and next offseason. So I think Monte is pretty much just sitting back and “keeping his powder dry” at the moment.

RobHessing
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December 3, 2020 9:54 am

This explanation makes the most sense to me.

Marty
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December 3, 2020 9:57 am

Agreed.

Kingsguru21
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December 3, 2020 10:10 am

Question: How will you feel if Hield and Barnes are still on the roster come the start of the 21-22 season?

Marty
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December 3, 2020 10:18 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Crushed

BestHyperboleEver
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December 3, 2020 10:23 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Without knowing what other moves WERE made and what else has happened between now and then? Basically, nothing happened but the passage of time? I wouldn’t like it. Hield wouldn’t be so bad assuming he acts as a decent team player and plays his role, since I think his contract is close to market. I haven’t liked having Barnes on the team since he re-signed, so I probably wouldn’t be tooooo happy about that.

I’m generally in favor of trading Hield because I think he has value to other teams and a trade is the best route to acquiring impact talent. And I think they can replace Hield’s overall impact (not his shooting, but his overall impact) at a lower rate. But if they’re otherwise able to acquire high level front court playermakers/defenders to enable Hield to just be an elite marksman, then I’m fine with keeping him.

Kingsguru21
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December 3, 2020 10:30 am

To be perfectly honest (and this is a reply to both you and Zebra BHE), I expect Hield and Barnes to be here the next 2 years. The only real way to move on from deals that other teams want is to let the passage of time do it’s duty.

I have a feeling a ton of people are going to be pissed off at Monte McNair in a way they wouldn’t have bothered with Vlade Divac due to it being an exercise in futility that doesn’t apply to Monte McNair.

This is certainly going to be an interesting 2 years.

nonstripedzebra
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December 3, 2020 10:50 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

100% agree, I could definitely see 2 years with both, especially Barnes. With that in mind, if these players aren’t moved, its likely cause they aren’t moveable. Im repeating myself but functionally making a Buddy trade isnt easy. And the suitors I return to tend to be who I think are the leagues worst front offices, more so than sensible in relation to fit. That in itself demonstrates the problem I think.

I mean does anyone think that Monte doesn’t want to trade them? Such being the case I think if deals don’t materialize the most logical explanation is the deals don’t exist.

It only takes one right, so I could be surprised but the assumption should be that they will be here for the course of the season at least.

Last edited 1 year ago by nonstripedzebra
nonstripedzebra
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December 3, 2020 10:25 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

I think us as fans collectively should expect as much. I dont see either realistically moveable until next offseason.

I expect teams to avoid Buddy’s inflated first year, and wait to till Barnes is on the back end of that deal and thus subsequently moveable as an expiring over their acquisition

Just functionally, for Buddy specifically finding trades is not easy booth in fit and movability. Once this offseasons signings are tradable possibly more options might present themselves, but such deals would mean likely taking on some inflated deals in their own right.

Maybe some catastrophic injuries to title chasing teams with an exceptionally small window to win might offer some more options. But that aside I think fans should expect them to be here come next summer as more likely than not.

andy_sims
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December 3, 2020 10:43 am

I agree with you. If both are around at the start of ’21-’22, the only downside is that you still have a couple of pretty good players on your roster. They aren’t a part of the long-term plan, but on a young roster, you could do a hell of a lot worse than having Harrison Barnes as a mentor.

Kingsguru21
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December 3, 2020 11:43 am
Reply to  andy_sims

TBH, I’m not even sure I understand what a long term plan in the NBA means with contracts being so short and the player empowerment era running supreme at the moment.

Otis
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December 3, 2020 11:58 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

This is a really good point. It feels like you can get good or bad pretty quickly right now.

Bbmuteman
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December 3, 2020 12:06 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Do you think barnes or buddy could be traded to the warriors for Wiggins and next year’s first from the twolves?

9sac8
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December 3, 2020 1:15 pm
Reply to  Bbmuteman

Buddy, Barnes, AND Hassan for Wiggins and Wiseman. Somebody will need to step up and take that starting SG position though.

AirmaxPG
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December 3, 2020 1:27 pm
Reply to  9sac8

I’ve contemplated this move as well. But someone mentioned the salaries didn’t work out. Plus I would be VERY surprised if the Dubs would even consider it. Buddy + Barnes is about $16M more in guaranteed salary than Wiggins this year, and is still about $5M more than Wiggins in his final year. Plus Buddy has an additional year at $18M.

Bbmuteman
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December 3, 2020 4:39 pm
Reply to  9sac8

Yeah, I like that or next year’s pick.

andy_sims
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December 3, 2020 1:16 pm
Reply to  Bbmuteman

I would think that on their current deals, you’re better off keeping either of them rather than taking on Wiggins’ $90 million over three years. His contract ankles you to a guy who isn’t going to a part of our rebuild, and will almost certainly force you to give up a first-rounder if you trade him.

AirmaxPG
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December 3, 2020 3:22 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Wiggins would be great for the tank though. Both this year and next. And then his contract is expiring.

andy_sims
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December 3, 2020 4:30 pm
Reply to  AirmaxPG

I mean, sure, it doesn’t sound that bad when you put it that way, but the upcoming season is $29,542,010; the next is $31,579,390; and his expiring contract year is an additional $33,616,770.

Two years from now, should they still be here, I’d much rather have the flexibility in Barnes’ & Hield’s decreasing salaries than tied up in a big chunk as with Wiggins. Either of them would be easier to move than Wiggins.

I don’t think it will play out like that, down the line, but I don’t think that even if Golden State was willing to take Hield and Barnes that I’d want to take on Wiggins. Barnes will help the younger players, and if Buddy is right,he can still score in his sleep, rebounds at least as well as Wiggins, and is much better from three.

RobHessing
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December 3, 2020 10:55 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

The two will combine for a little more than $43m on their decelerating contracts in 21-22. That’s probably an overage of roughly $15m (figuring that Hield is worth Bogi-type $$$). The two of them combine for around $39m the year after that, which may be the equivalent of one MLE overpay by then.

From a dollars standpoint, Barnes is the guy that really needs to be moved. In the right system, Hield could be at least close to a fair value player. That said, Barnes is also the Temple / Shumpert / Bazemore locker room presence on the current roster – that does not justify the investment in any way, shape or form, but there is at least a little intrinsic value there.

Given that the Kings would have to overpay in free agency anyway, I wouldn’t give Hield away – I’d have to be getting tangible players / picks back. Barnes for a future 2nd rounder or an expiring would be fine with me.

BestHyperboleEver
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December 3, 2020 11:03 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Your last paragraph is pretty much my position as well.

Otis
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December 3, 2020 11:04 am

/seconded

keith_kar
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December 3, 2020 2:44 pm
Reply to  Otis

/thirded

Want2win
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December 3, 2020 4:45 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

I think I may the only person on this site that thinks Barnes is a good player, just a solid all around, but not spectacular player

NorCalKingsFan
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December 3, 2020 7:00 pm
Reply to  Want2win

I don’t think you’d really get much argument that Barnes is a legitimate NBA player, but he is definitely overpaid which is why we always talk of getting rid of him.

Some might take exception to use of the term “good” but that’s subjective considering your last sentence added context of “not great, just average” which is I think where most people put Barnes talent level, average.

I actually believe Barnes will be traded first (between him and Buddy) because of the declining contract and a lack of glaring holes in his game.

RobHessing
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December 4, 2020 8:50 am
Reply to  Want2win

I think the argument is less about whether he is a good, solid but not spectacular and more about his value to contract. He’s a solid MLE player, maybe slightly above that. So a $10m-$12m player, not a 4/$85m player (3/$61m remaining).

If you looked at all of the 3-4s and tallied either the guys that are better than Barnes or a better value contract, you probably get well past 20 names. And I think that’s the primary issue here – he’s not a top 15 talent at his position, and on this roster at this time he is a rather large and wasted expense, his locker room chops notwithstanding.

Good guy by all accounts and a great community guy. Just not what or where the Kings need to be investing their payroll dollars at the moment.

Bbmuteman
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December 3, 2020 12:02 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

I’d be ok with it if they played amazing and above their contract value. Then maybe you trade then in the offseason for a first round pick.

BestHyperboleEver
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December 3, 2020 12:07 pm
Reply to  Bbmuteman

Though if they both played amazing, the Kings would probably see some success, and you may rethink the desire to trade them.

Which, of course, would be a good problem to have.

Last edited 1 year ago by BestHyperboleEver
G-naps
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December 3, 2020 6:08 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Annoyed that the tweet I read stating ” no contract is untradable” was a lie.

Peja
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December 3, 2020 9:48 am

We are going to know a lot about Monte after the trade deadline. A quiet trade deadline would not be good for this team.

Monte has to be very creative in how he packages players with large contracts, trade assets on nice contracts, and veterans on one year minimums. It is very doable but will take some creativity and active work on the phones.

Greg
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December 3, 2020 2:55 pm
Reply to  Peja

Trade deadline with good moves > quiet deadline > Trade deadline with bad moves

I’ll take quiet over bad.

BestHyperboleEver
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December 3, 2020 4:39 pm
Reply to  Greg

Eh, I’d rather they’re proactive. I’d rather they try and fail to make a leap rather than just sit on a roster with fringe 8th seed upside.

nonstripedzebra
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December 3, 2020 10:11 am

With the exception of Luka, the thing that has potentially driven me the most crazed in past Front Office blunders is compromising the cap. Often for inflated in or over their prime players, that despite being present focused dont change results. These have been players often only movable with a compromise in return, that rolled over muddying the timeline or expectations unreasonably year after year. In the gains 4 or 5 wins, not getting premium draft picks, or clarity in understanding potential cores. Decisions that were always at odds with our main priorities.

Bogi is a more quality player than those past blunders, but he among our other current most expensive players aren’t our priority. And a cap compromised can simply raise your problems to a more expensive echelon, regardless of some expirings, picks or flyers in hopeful returns.

As this article astutely points out we could have hovered close to the ceiling for a team not changing their win totals, or frankly should be trying to do so. That isn’t just on Bogi, but the context is what it is. And moving the level of money we hope to will come with less than ideal returns I assume as well as the things we will want. That is to say clearing that space or fetching logical returns isn’t done overnight or without some compromises. I expect Buddy and Barnes to demonstrate as much in time.

What I see with McNair is an acknowledgement of the context. Both from the Kings and league. Personally this offseason mirrors 16 with plenty of soon to be regrettable deals. Plenty of teams have made their bed for limited benefits IMO, or in the final push of trying to be competitive despite a limited ceiling.

The Kings for once have stood pat, allowed competitors to rush for marginal gains in wins, but casualties in their books and assets longterm. And with so many teams prioritizing gaining some wins, taking scope with the looming Fox max is an admittance of what is most possible and important. This team has blunders, and puddles to mop that wont be done overnight. That is enough to deal with in their own right as again they are at odds with whats crucial longterm. Scaling the problems to manageable levels, with benefits of admitting the correct priorities is the start of not having decisions very reliant on specific hypotheticals. And the current signings personally mirror many a past offseason but for 1/8th the price.

We are a rebuilding team, have been. The decisions made like them or not admit that. Considering the precedence I cant help but feel a little hopeful about that.

Last edited 1 year ago by nonstripedzebra
Kingsguru21
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December 3, 2020 10:24 am

Don’t know about you Zebra, but one thing that has generally pissed me off about the Vivek era is the insistence on stretching waived players. When you are so far under the cap, waiving Matt Barnes and having his money eat into the cap isn’t that big of a deal.

I’m hoping we don’t see a repeat with Jabari Parker in that regard.

BestHyperboleEver
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December 3, 2020 10:30 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Yeah, two things the Kings shouldn’t have been doing the past few years. Stretching players and paying to unload contracts.

Kingsguru21
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December 3, 2020 11:37 am

The irony is that the Kings did the exact opposite at the very beginning of Vlade’s tenure. I’m so glad Vlade the GM is over with. Now if only ownership would cooperate with Monte……that would be something.

LesJepsen3pointer
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December 3, 2020 10:12 am

“Complete chaos and fringe or non-NBA talent wouldn’t provide nearly the same on-court education.”

When and how did the giraffe become the most reasonable writer on KH? By the way, ol’ zippy is right behind him. Has everyone else succumbed to kangz-itis or have these two become more reasonable? What happened to Bad Food Takes & Beno???

LesJepsen3pointer
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December 3, 2020 10:49 am
Reply to  BabyGiraffe

If you told me in 2019 we’d have a pandemic in 2020, I’d be horrified but not surprised. The giraffe taking the top of the mountain? I’m surprised, should I be horrified? This is all very confusing.

itsjabby
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December 3, 2020 10:13 am

I know I am getting a little too ahead of myself, but lets say the Kings get the number 1 pick next year, who do you choose?

Right now Cade C. is the projected #1 pick followed by other PG/SG type players. Do you think Monte goes for the 6’8 PG or goes another direction?

Once again, way ahead of myself. I should probably wait until the Kings jump 4 spots to get that #1 pick next year.

BestHyperboleEver
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December 3, 2020 10:32 am
Reply to  itsjabby

Yeah, I think Cade is the clear #1 and he’s a perfect fit (for pretty much every team in the league.). The real fight is going to be for the 2-8 slots.

MiseryLovesCompany
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December 3, 2020 10:23 am

Monte has a plan. He did mention how the Rockets obtained Harden by having the principles he is trying to implement here, flexibility to move on a big target. I think he will be big game hunting in the future for a potential break out player that is on the verge of stradom to match Fox’s timeline, ie Michael Porter Jr. type of player.

My three cents.

Gregoryl
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December 3, 2020 10:48 am

Are we getting Harden??
comment image

9sac8
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December 3, 2020 1:18 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣

andy_sims
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December 3, 2020 10:37 am

I’m confused.

To begin with, I’m not clear as to what the offseason being deemed “lackluster” means. If that’s due to not signing any big free agents, when I think that most people agree that doing so would have been counterproductive to the near-long-term plans, which includes getting younger and adding talent via the draft and by having high-upside guys in Stockton.

The piece continues, citing the signings of Whiteside, Robinson, (and to a lesser degree) Kaminsky as “in their prime” players. Given that they’re all signed on minimums, are they not actually very good free agent signings, as cost-to-value? The addition of Whiteside in particular adds much-needed size to the roster, and Robinson also checks some boxes in mitigating some of Sacramento’s weaknesses. On one-year deals, I’m hard-pressed to understand how these aren’t very savvy moves by McNair. They aren’t splashy, but talent gaps were plugged without long-term commitments being made. I’m a fan of Jerami Grant, but with Sacramento rebuilding, I’m not too upset that Monte didn’t throw a four-year $90 million dollar offer at him. I’d give the moves a solid B+.

If the concern is that the free agents will cause the Kings to win too many games to have a high pick next year, well, they can always be benched for leg pain, crippling malaise, or some other made-up malady.

The concern about McNair’s mention of financial flexibility, due to VD having done so, should not trouble you for a couple of reasons.

  1. Financial flexibility is always good. The Lakers just won a title and then improved their roster because they had a ton of wiggle room.
  2. McNair understands how to create and use this flexibility. It’s pretty obvious that VD did not, and parroted the phrase because he heard a smart person use it.

The free agent additions also give our recent draftees the opportunity to not have their confidence destroyed by playing on an intolerably bad squad. Getting reps with established players will permit them to take chances and grow in a way that wouldn’t be possible without having some talent around, which Whiteside and Robinson bring. If everyone knows that garbage time begins at the opening tip, that’s going to wear on young guys who are used to winning the vast majority of games that they’ve ever played. As it seems to be a safe bet that Haliburton and Woodard are going to receive opportunities to play substantial minutes, they’ll need the other guys on the floor to bring out their best.

Regardless of whether Hield and/or Barnes are moved (with Bjelica and Holmes also possible), the Kings will have a lot of good options available to them in the summer of 2021. Signing a big free agent will always be tough, but with at least $40 million to play with, the possibility is far more likely.

Additionally, should Hield be moved, making a reasonable offer to Robinson to replace him might make sense. At 26, he’d still fit with a youthful core, and would either back up Haliburton, or eventually be supplanted by the rookie. If he meshes with our young guys, you could do a lot worse, but that’s mere speculation. As ever, having more options is always better.

As to the Bobo fiasco, it’s pretty clear that the blame lies outside of the Kings organization. The deal that was in play had the potential to be incredibly good for Sacramento, but we all know what happened. I also think that the right move was made in not matching Bobo, given who’s in-house at shooting guard.

Between the draft and the targeted, economical free agent signings, I truly feel that McNair had an impressive offseason. As ever, opinions may vary.

nonstripedzebra
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December 3, 2020 11:23 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Specifically pertaining the FA additions, the gap between Kaminsky, Whiteside and Robinson, is marginal compared not only many signed in this poor FA market, but plenty of past Kings off-seasons. These tend to be or are close to the average options we tend to garner as is. The crucial difference being these players collectively don’t add up to the MLE.

Completely agree. Yes we might be comparing to a means but such being the case not signing a high mid level is a market improvement. Especially when the talent disparity isn’t reflected in the quality of the players we did sign for the minimum. You can make a case all three are rotational and could have done better based on output or positional scarcity.

And to set that against a backdrop of a team admitting the correct priorities of not being presently focused, protecting cap flexibility while the league collectively is throwing around cash far past sensible evaluations the summary is a success.

Maybe some are just used to senseless mid levels coming through the door by the year. Those players tended not to match their contracts as well. The key difference of course is they were inflated instead of value.

Washington can have fun with Bertans at almost 20 per or Grant in Detroit for a Team without a compass or logical timeline. Even Atlanta who know might be in the luxury post an asssumed future Collins dea,l for a team with no ceiling better than a meddling 6th seed for next 5 years. Sure it has grounds for logic but I wouldn’t be jumping for joy for that reality. Let alone the plenty of 7 to 10 million per commitments that aren’t 8 million dollars better than Whiteside. Competence isnt judged by the sticker price. We should know that better than anyone.

Last edited 1 year ago by nonstripedzebra
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