The Sacramento Kings have tried to rebuild their team using high draft picks and a variety of veterans. For the most part, the young players have pulled their weight and the veterans have failed miserably. The young core can’t do it alone. They need help from players who have been through the wars before. They need at least one of their veterans to turn back the clock and play better.
John Salmons is one of the few returning veterans with a chance at earning a starting position. At 33, going on 34-years of age, Salmons will battle Luc Mbah a Moute for the starting small forward spot. What Mbah a Moute doesn’t know is that Salmons is a serious gazelle in training camp. He is the rabbit that grey hounds never catch. He will set the bar high with his all around play and silent demeanor.
If you are looking for an even quieter competitor, Travis Outlaw is your man. The former super-six has been a huge disappointment since the Kings bid $3 million a year on him as an amnesty casualty. He has struggled to find his shooting range, confidence and consistency in his two season with the Kings. The team can bite the bullet and pay him the remaining $6 million on his contract or Outlaw can earn his way back into the rotation. I’m not sure that there is an in-between for the 29-year-old forward.
Chuck Hayes was supposed to be the next Vlade Divac. After two-seasons with the Kings, he is looking more like the next Vitaly Potapenko. The veteran forward/center can still defend the leagues best, but the Kings don’t have the shot blocking, rebounding athlete to put next to him. Hayes is the fifth big as of right now, but Malone relied heavily on a similar style big man in Festus Ezeli last season in Golden State. The real question for the 30-year old Hayes will be answered in the first five minutes of training camp. Will he show up in NBA shape or no?
These three players have 54 games of playoff experience and over 1800 games played in the NBA. They will consume more than $13 million of the Kings salary cap this season, but do they have anything left in the tank?