When you own three juicers, you buy a fourth one. Because that’s what you do right?
This was logic likely used by Sacramento Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro when he signed Carl Landry to a four-year, $27 million deal. Never mind that the club already fields Patrick Patterson, Jason Thompson (who has four years and $25 million remaining) and Chuck Hayes (two years and $11.7 million remaining). They all play power forward, Landry’s natural position, and the addition created a logjam for minutes.
That’s less of an issue now since Landry is expected to miss three to four months with a torn hip flexor. The veteran had surgery on Tuesday, and a return before the All-Star break would be a Valentine’s Day miracle.
On the court, Landry is what he is. The 30-year-old does his damage scoring under the basket and can pop from midrange (he made 43% of his jumpers in 2012-13 according to 82games.com). The ex-Golden State Warrior is also a serviceable defender and rebounder, but at 6-foot-9 he has limitations. The latter two categories are a larger need for the Kings.
Landry’s specialties don’t stand out on Sacramento’s current roster. The offense will run through DeMarcus Cousins on the block, and Thompson can fill the role for spurts. Patterson’s shooting extends to the 3-point line, while Hayes is still the strongest post defender on the team. Thompson’s length allows him to disrupt interior shots too.
Landry is touted as a good role model and locker room leader, but those attributes did little in his previous stint with the Kings when their record was 20-61. His time in purple ended when the forward was flipped to New Orleans in February 2011 for Marcus Thornton.
Now that he’s back with a hefty contract and undefined role, the Kings will eventually be forced to unload one of their bigs, or trade Landry at a terrible value. A rebuilding club like Sacramento has no place throwing midlevel contracts at unspectacular players, ironically the same strategy that’s helped keep the team in the lottery since 2007. Landry is a fine rotation piece, but at his age it’s hard to envision him sticking around for the next Kings playoff run.
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