The Sacramento Kings have traded for the backup center of the New Orleans Hornets, Hilton Armstrong, for a future conditional second round draft pick and an undisclosed amount of unmarked, non-sequential $100 bills that will be placed in a silver suitcase in a bus stop locker at the downtown Greyhound station.
It was a salary dump in tough economic times for the Hornets and the Kings gave up virtually nothing for him. Kings needed a backup center so they acquired Hilton Armstrong.
Personally, I feel like they still need a backup center. Hilton Armstrong has been one of the worst players in the league since he entered four years ago and has actually gotten worse. Yes, it’s a low risk move. Yes, they gave up nothing to get him. Yes, a change of scenery for young big men can fix initial problems in guys’ careers and help them blossom into a contributing, functioning member of their next organization.
That isn’t happening with Hilton Armstrong.
Here’s an email exchange with Ryan Schwan from Hornets 24/7 (Ryan is one of the smarter, more in-tune bloggers to his team and organization):
Me: “Kings just traded for Hilton Armstrong. I’ve always contended he’s one of the worst players in the league. Do you have any analysis for me that says otherwise? Appreciate any help with this.
“Ryan: “No. That’s accurate. He’s terrible, awful, and miserable. He okay at defense, and has a nice turnaround jumper, but his turnovers, stone hands and rebounding makes him impossible to play.”
Me: “Is there any reason to believe he’ll be better off playing with Tyreke Evans and Beno Udrih when Chris Paul couldn’t even make him good?”
Ryan: “The guy makes Andrea Bargnani look like a rebounding champion, and he can’t dribble or catch the ball. Those aren’t things teammates can help with. Let’s go to something Kings fans would understand: If I had the choice between playing Kenny Thomas or Hilton Armstrong, I’d pick Kenny.”
I’d say that he’s going to find a nice spot next to Sean May and Kenny Thomas within the month.
There are positives with this move though. It shows that the Kings are trying, willing to spend more and are committed to getting this thing right. It’s an easy rental and cost-effective way of finding a backup center during a season in which they need size. If he finds a way to be competent, the Kings win. If he doesn’t, the Kings still win because there is no commitment to him.
I believe they call that a win-win. More to come later…