Marc Stein reports JT is available, was shopped for Jeff Teague

In Friday’s Weekend Dime over at ESPN, Marc Stein reported the following:

“It wasn’t long ago that Thompson, selected with the No. 12 overall pick in the 2008 draft, and Spencer Hawes were being touted as the Kings’ frontcourt tandem of the future.


Thompson is averaging just 15.4 minutes per game off the bench and has been shopped by the Kings, who according to one source with knowledge of the talks offered the 6-11, 250-pounder to Atlanta in a deal featuring young point guard Jeff Teague. The Hawks declined.”

This report bugs me quite a lot, and it should bug you too.

First and foremost, I don’t like that the Kings are shopping JT. I know that the frontcourt is loaded, and I fully submit to the line of thinking that despite DeMarcus Cousins’ struggles early on, Jason is the team’s 4th best big. But why does this necessitate shopping him? Both Samuel Dalembert and Carl Landry are currently playing on expiring deals, and have more value to veteran teams. If you insist on moving a big – which I see no reason to do so early – why not shop one of them, ensure that you don’t lose them for nothing at all after the season, and continue to reap the benefits from Jason’s development? If an offer for Jason blows you away, by all means, take it – the frontcourt is deep enough to offset the loss – but there is a fine line between making one available and all out shopping him.

But fine. Let’s say you love Landry, you love Sammy, Darnell Jackson makes you believe in fairies, and DeMarcus – well, DeMarcus is your future. So you have to move Jason. I disagree with this line of thinking, but I can see where it’s coming from.

Seriously, though – Jeff Teague? That’s your compromise?!

It doesn’t make sense in the short term. Jason is the team’s 4th or 5th big man, depending on how Paul Westphal feels about Darnell on a given night. Teague would potentially be the team’s 4th or 5th guard, depending on how Paul Westphal feels about Luther Head on a given night.

Except, you know, how Jason’s a much better player.

It doesn’t make sense in the long term. You trade the guy who you hope will be your secondary big man, next to DeMarcus, for the guy who you hope will be your secondary guard, next to Tyreke.

Except, you know, how Jason’s a much better player.

It’s not that I don’t like Teague. I think he could be a serviceable starter down the road. But that’s it. Serviceable starter. And one who would be a far from ideal fit next to Tyreke, too – you want a shooter next to a guy like Reke, while Teague boasts career marks of 39.8% FG and 21.6% 3PT. It should be noted that he shot well at college – 44% from three his final collegiate year – but that 21.6% is way too horrible to make me believe his NBA future holds a scorer’s identity that isn’t of the “slasher” variety. A variety of which you already have a much superior version. And while the high assist ratio (29.0 last year, 31.8 so far this year) is nice, don’t you want Tyreke handling the ball for the next decade anyway?

Jason, on the other hand, already was a serviceable starter. For two years in a row. That Jeff Teague best-case scenario is the Jason Thompson last-year-scenario. He also has the skill set to complement your existing stud – soft mid range touch to DeMarcus’ overpowering inside presence, quick enough to guard 4s but big enough to guard 5s, thus enabling DeMarcus to switch between the two to his more comfortable match-up.

So go ahead and color me puzzled, because I just don’t get the entire way the Kings have been handling Jason this season. I don’t get yanking his minutes around; I don’t get playing him out of position (the 3? Really? You need more reasons to take minutes away from Donte Greene?); I don’t get keeping him on the bench to play inferior players (again, I love D-Block, but come on); and I most certainly don’t get the need to hurt his value by actively pursuing deals that would move him for nothing but raw, second year point guard projects.

The Hawks threw Geoff Petrie a life jacket here by rejecting a deal that, frankly, I don’t think could have been realistically better for them. So there is still plenty of time to return back to the glory days of “Jason is our future!” before it’s too late. Here’s hoping that something of the ilk happens, whether it’s just keeping Jason, or getting someone of equal or superior value for him (I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again – MARCUS THORNTON!), because this is a concerning development in a season that already seems to have too many of them.


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