SACRAMENTO – While it’s pointless and potentially unhealthy to stalk an ex-lover, it’s fun to do so. Luckily with the Sacramento Kings, former players are easy to track down and there’s no need for restraining orders. Here’s an update on every ex-King who is currently listed on an NBA roster:
We Miss You (Tier):
The local hero from Del Campo High School has carved an impressive career post-Sacramento, etching a name for himself with the Nelli-ball Golden State Warriors and settling back in Los Angeles. While it’s nice to see him find a permanent NBA home in the Clippers (under contract until 2016), his heart and tenacity on defense have been what the Kings have sorely missed since his 2005 departure with Chris Webber.
Evans didn’t fit with the Kings’ personnel, so moving him to the New Orleans Pelicans was a sound decision, but every monster statline he produces next to Anthony Davis and Co. only makes the pain of a Sacramento fan burn deeper. In the 12 contests since Evans became a starter, the combo guard has averaged 21.3 points, 6.1 assists and 5.5 rebounds. Those clanked fadeaways don’t sound too bad anymore, do they?
Beyond the injuries, porous defense and down attitude, Martin was an elite scorer in Sacramento. His proudest moment probably came as a rookie when he banked the game-winning layup versus the San Antonio Spurs in game 3 of the 2006 playoff first round. Eight years later, Martin is having a renaissance performance reunited with head coach Rick Adelman, producing 19.3 points a contest.
Forget Quincy Douby, Jimmer Fredette, or almost every free agent addition. The ugliest stain on ex-general manager Geoff Petrie’s career is undoubtedly the dubious Robinson trade with the Houston Rockets 51 games into his pro career. The fifth pick in the 2012 draft hasn’t yet developed a go-to offensive move, but he’s shown enough flashes with his rare, raw talent to believe he’ll be a standout contributor down the road.
Sacramento lost Wallace in the 2004 expansion draft to the Charlotte Bobcats, where he proceeded to morph into “Crash.” The two-way star tore his left meniscus on February 28, but coach Adelman is kicking himself to this day for not being more patient.
The only other active player aside from Wallace who was on the 2001-02 Kings roster, Turkoglu’s NBA journey has been stuff of legend, topping out with the Orlando Magic in the 2009 Finals. The point forward’s legs are gone but the 35-year-old will be part of another postseason run (on the bench) for the Clippers.
Vasquez is shooting more and dishing less with the Toronto Raptors, which is not good for the team that acquired him in a seven-player trade on December 8. But in the 18 games he started for the Kings, he smoothly facilitated the offense, an effort Sacramento needs with so many mouths to feed.
Jealous But Not Really:
It was a delight to have Dalembert paired next to DeMarcus Cousins in the paint but a headache to deal with his carefree attitude in 2010-11. The 32-year-old rim protector-extraordinaire who takes too many jumpers has settled down under head coach Rick Carlisle’s tutelage in Dallas.
Hawes was softer than Charmin toilet paper when he filled the pivot in Sacramento, failing to gather boards and constantly getting backed down into oblivion. A trade in 2010 for none other than Mr. Dalembert gave the 2007 10th pick a needed wake-up call, resulting in a polished, full-ranged game today. Hawes was dumped at the trade deadline on the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he’s averaging a career-high 13.8 points and 1.7 threes a game in 18 appearances.
Few men are hated more in Sacramento than Hickson, who quit on the Kings promptly following a 2011 trade for Omri Casspi and went on to average 15 and 8 and a double-double a year later with the Trail Blazers following a midseason release. The big the Cavaliers refused to trade for Amare Stoudemire tore his right ACL on March 21, enforcing beliefs that voodoo doll abuse is effective.
The Cameroonian Prince lasted nine games with the Kings before getting swapped for Derrick Williams on November 26. With the Minnesota Timberwolves overstocked with wings, coach Adelman has reserved the high flying defender for star matchups, resulting in a career-low 13.5 minutes a contest.
The stretch big has been shooting well as of late, nailing 49.2 percent of his buckets and 43.9 percent of his threes in 39 games with the Raptors. Coincidently, Patterson’s hot hand arrived when he started wearing Rip Hamilton attire, prompting head coach Michael Malone in February to joke, “If I would’ve known he’d shoot better with that mask, I’d have broken his nose two months ago.”
No Second Thoughts:
To put it nicely, Aldrich was horrific for the Kings. His presence on defense reminded some of a blind man in a sandstorm. These days the former lottery pick’s offense is enough to earn him spot-minutes with the New York Knicks.
So that 27-point, 17-assist, 6-rebound effort on March 19 with the Nuggets did remind us of what could have been. But Brooks, like so many others, quit on the Kings, and he hasn’t resembled the same lethal mini-gunner since a soul search in China.
Hopefully Casspi will be remembered for his role as an Israelian ambassador and less for his inconsistency on the court. The 2009 23rd pick is attempting to shed his “bust” label with the Houston Rockets, hitting 35.4 percent on threes which account for more than 44 percent of his floor attempts.
Douglas is as unspectacular as it gets, but he provided good crunch-time defense for the Kings after coming over in the Robinson trade. The point guard signed with the Golden State Warriors in the offseason and now contributes to the Miami Heat, though he’s shooting only 34.4 percent in 15 appearances.
General manager Pete D’Alessandro finally answered fans’ prayers and freed Jimmer. Now he’s on the court even less with the Chicago Bulls (17 total minutes in 4 contests), and he’s working under a coach who screams defense, which Fredette can’t do.
The Cisco Kid seemed to have a prominent future with the Kings when he inked a 5-year, $30 million extension in 2008. But a tragic accident with a medicine ball combined with his numerous other injuries to steal his athleticism. By the time Garcia was shipped to the Rockets in 2013, the former first rounder was a three-and-D player without the three-and-D. Now he’s clawing to get back into head coach Kevin McHale’s rotation.
Following a February 2009 trade, Gooden logged one game for the Kings and notched 12 points and 13 rebounds before being bought out. The 2002 fourth overall pick out of Kansas has played for 10 teams in 12 NBA seasons, so he’s not likely an endearing presence.
The film junky’s production in 35 games with the Raptors this season is almost identical to his play with the Kings before being traded. Hayes’s heyday in Houston is merely a memory, but he remains a brick wall defending the intermediate post.
The lockdown wing that never was, Johnson came to Sacramento fat in 2012 and quickly fell out of head coach Keith Smart’s rotation (never a good sign). The much-improved Grizzlies forward was never happy in the capital city to begin with, based by our conversation.
It’s arguable that a rose pedal has a higher offensive IQ than Salmons, but Kings coaches have always looked the other way from his head-scratching shot selection and embraced his non-relenting defense. Head coach Dwane Casey is no different, playing the swingman in his playoff-bound rotation despite shooting 35.4 percent from the floor in 49 games for the Raptors.
Case No. 99 on how a move from Sacramento can change one’s perspective on life. Thornton’s production has waned every season since arriving in a trade for Carl Landry in February 2011. This year he bottomed out, averaging 8.3 points per game on 38.1 percent shooting and 31.8 percent from deep, but since a deadline trade to the Brooklyn Nets, the well-paid chucker is posting 11.9 points a night on 45.1 percent shooting and 39.4 percent from three.
Mike Bibby’s successor, Kings fans and the rest of the league soon discovered Udrih was decent at everything and stout at disappointment. The former Pop understudy was waived by the Knicks on February 24 and picked up by the Grizzlies, where’s he appeared in six games and totaled 29 minutes.
Photo Credit: Layne Murdoch, Christian Petersen, Scott Halleran / Getty Images