NBA Trade Deadline: Analysis of the Kings-Rockets Swap

So here’s the deal so far:

Kings acquire Tracy McGrady, Carl Landry, Joey Dorsey and Cash (can be up to $3 million).
Rockets acquire Kevin Martin, Sergio Rodriguez, Kenny Thomas and Hilton Armstrong.

There’s also another possible part to this deal of the Kings shipping Tracy McGrady to the Knicks for Jared Jeffries, Jordan Hill, Larry Hughes and a combination of two draft picks (presumed to be first round; possibly swapping picks one year and getting another pick the next).

But that’s neither here nor there right now.

What we DO know is the Kings have shipped Kevin Martin off to the Rockets and received a heck of a package in return. I know it seems like they received nothing but that couldn’t be further from the case. Here is the pertaining salary cap information on what was sent out and what is coming back (including this season’s contract numbers):

To the Rockets
Kevin Martin – $44 million left, expires in 2013
Sergio Rodriguez – $1.6 million left, expires in 2010 (restricted free agency rights)
Kenny Thomas – $8.7 million, expires in 2010
Hilton Armstrong – $2.8 million, expires in 2010 (restricted free agency rights)

To the Kings
Tracy McGrady – $22.8 million left, expires in 2010
Carl Landry – $3 million left, expires in 2010 (team options for $3 million for 2010-11 season)
Joey Dorsey – $1.7 million left, expires in 2011 (team option for $1 million for 2011-12 season), partially guaranteed in 2010-2011 season

For the Kings salary cap purposes heading into this off-season, Sacramento will have roughly $31 million committed in salary for their nine players under contract. Assuming the pick up the team option on Carl Landry because it’s an absolute steal at $3 million, that leaves the Kings with around $34 million dollars in committed salary. On top of that, the Kings will have a cap hold for their first round draft pick, which should be anywhere from $2 million to $4 million dollars. Let’s split that in half at $3 million and add it to the Kings cap number. Now they’re around $37 million committed. With the salary cap expected to fall from $57 million to around $53 million, that leaves the Kings with $16 million in cap space. That’s enough for a big free agent or a significant trade in which they take a good player with a big salary (something similar to what the Grizzlies did with Zach Randolph this off-season).

Just wait until you see how sought after this team’s assets are on draft night this June. They’ll have copious amounts of cap space and young assets. Their ability to acquire that perfect veteran will be uncanny and the draft could certainly center around whatever they decide they want to do.

Now as for what this does for the Kings team itself, let’s take a look at the players coming in and what it does to the depth chart. Here’s the presumed starting lineup by me based on what the Kings have been successful with this season, the current situation of players now and the incoming guys they’re getting:

Tyreke Evans
Beno Udrih X X
Donte Greene Francisco Garcia X X
Omri Casspi
Ime Udoka
Andres Nocioni
Carl Landry
Jason Thompson
Jon Brockman Joey Dorsey
Spencer Hawes
Sean May

The Kings were really good (for them) and hard to match up with when they were going big. Donté Greene and Omri Casspi were confident, playing defense and spreading the floor for Tyreke Evans to operate. When Kevin Martin came back, the Kings had to work him back into the offense (almost forcefully), which disrupted quite a bit and came at the worst possible time (Kings had started to slide and couldn’t get good play inside).

And I don’t blame the Kings for doing so, either. Sacramento had to figure out if Evans and Martin could coexist together. The only way to do that was to force the issue and get them to form some chemistry on the court. What happened was the Kings already existing struggles to score inside were amplified because the ball stayed on the perimeter. The Martin-Evans duo needed an inside presence in the post to balance out the attack and open up the perimeter. Unfortunately, they never had that weapon at their disposal and the rest of the team seem to be forgotten too often.

With Martin’s role becoming less and less defined in the offense over the recent stretch of games, there was some confusion as to what the next step would be. The immediate reaction was to think he’d be traded (especially after the weird sitting out of all but 15 seconds of the fourth quarter on Tuesday night). However, since the Kings were demanding a low post presence and none of the rumored deals seemed to be meeting that criteria, a Kevin Martin deal seemed to be improbable.

But here we are. Kevin Martin is traded and the Kings received a low post threat that they desperately have been seeking.

What the Kings Are Getting

With Carl Landry, they’ve acquired one of the Sixth Man of the Year award contenders and someone who can come in and help them right away. This isn’t like acquiring a project big man that they have to groom and work on with the hope of reaping the benefits some day. Carl Landry has no assembly required out of the packaging.

What does Carl Landry bring to the Kings?

Carl Landry can take a beating and keep on ticking. Perhaps you all remember his date with Dirk Nowitzki’s forearm earlier this season. Dirk Nowitzki came barreling down the lane, Landry tried to take a charge (when’s the last time you saw a Kings big man take one of those) and the aftermath was Carl Landry’s teeth ended up in Dirk Nowitzki’s arm. Take a look at the video.

He was hit so hard that not only did it knock his teeth out but they were implanted into Dirk’s arm and had to be removed! They didn’t fall out of Dirk’s arm; they HAD TO BE REMOVED! And look at the way he reacts after taking the contact. He’s calm, cool and collective. “Get me a towel so I can spit some blood and teeth into it. Thanks. I’m good now.”

That’s not all. 11 months ago, Carl Landry was hit twice at 2:30 in the morning while driving his car. When he got out to inspect the damage, he was shot at twice with one of the shots hitting him in the leg. The suspect who shot him started chasing him as Landry ran away to find safety and get help. That’s right; HE WAS SHOT IN THE LEG AND RAN AWAY WHILE BEING CHASED! That’s insane.

The 6-foot-9 Landry said Wednesday that he ran about six blocks and hid between a house and a fence. He then started frantically ringing doorbells and someone finally answered and called police, about 90 minutes after the shooting.

“I could have been dead,” Landry said. “The shooter was 10 yards or less away. I’m 6-9 and I had a bright shirt on. I don’t know how he missed, but thank God he did and he hit the lower part of my leg.”

Tell me this isn’t a guy you just got infinitely more excited to see in a Kings uniform. He is unbelievably tough, which is something the Kings frontcourt needs. It’s like adding the mentality of Jon Brockman with the post game of Paul Millsap.

What Else Does Landry Do?
Carl Landry is probably the best post scorer off the bench in the entire NBA. He’s raised his game immensely this season and is being bandied about as the front-runner for the Sixth Man Award. He’s getting this consideration because he is averaging 16.1 points per game on 54% shooting from the field. He also gets to the line 5.4 times per game, shoots 84% from the line and does all of this in just 27 minutes per game.

When you stretch out his numbers to the popular 36 Minutes Per parameters, he averages 21 points per game and 7.1 free throw attempts.

Translation: the guy can flat out score the basketball. He gets to the basket with a ferocity JT could learn from. He finds openings around the basket, sits in them and waits for the ball. When his teammates drop it off to him, he gets to the basket. He might dunk on you. You might foul him and make him earn it at the line. But he’s getting the ball up to the hoop. You don’t have to sit through timid pump fakes. He’s attacking. You can also throw him into the pick-and-roll and get a poor man’s Amare Stoudemire impersonation from Landry. He seals well on the pick, rolls directly and quickly to the basket and finishes. He’s also very good at slashing through lanes when guards drive. Now, who is a Kings guard that drives to the basket a lot…? Oh yeah, Tyreke Evans is going to find this guy around the hoop like crazy.

This guy also scores a lot in the fourth quarter, which is a quarter that is very hit or miss for the Kings this season. 6.5 of his 16.1 points per game come in the fourth quarter, which is at the top of the league. He shoots 58.5% from the field in the final period so he isn’t just jacking up ill-advised shots and getting them because of volume. He’s all about quality, when he scores them and where he scores them.

According to, Carl Landry is very good shooting from 15-feet or closer on the court. Offensively, he’s exactly what the Kings have needed from Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes all season – someone who can score inside.

Here’s a video of him dunking in front of current New York Knick and former Kings summer league player, Marcus Landry (his brother):

Here’s a little highlight package from last year.

As for defensively and rebounding, there is good and bad there. His rebounding rate has dropped in each season since his rookie season when it looked very promising. He’s proven that he can decently rebound before when he was grabbing 4.9 rebounds per game (rebounding rate of 16.4%) in just 16.9 minutes per game his first season. Since then, he’s declined two percent or greater each season. Almost half of the rebounds he does grab are offensive boards. He is smart about attacking the glass when shots go up.

My reason for why his rebounding is so low and on the decline is because of the way he plays defense. He challenges a lot of shots. He doesn’t necessarily block a ton of shots but his blocked shot numbers are decent. He’s currently averaging just under one block per game off the bench (45 blocks in 51 games). Because of his aggressiveness on defense, he’s often out of position to fight for the boards. The majority of Landry’s blocks are of the spectacular kind. Here are a couple:

Landry blocks Rudy Gay and then gives the Mutombo finger wag with Dikembe in the front row:

Here, Landry blocks Lou Williams on the break (just wait for it):

Overall, with Landry you’re getting a difference-maker on the floor that makes plays. When’s the last time the Kings had a reliable big man like that to make plays and bring constant energy? Sure, Brockman has been great but having Brockman on the floor leaves you very short on offensive options. He’s one of the most efficient and productive players across the board in the NBA. He’s currently 19th in the NBA in PER with a 21.7. His true shooting percentage is resting at a very good 62%.

He does everything the Kings need him to do and does it on the cheap. It will cost the prorated portion of his $3 million owed to him this season and then a $3 million team option to get this kind of production. In comparison, the Jazz are paying Paul Millsap to do a similar job but the price tag is $32 million over four years. It’s fine to be upset that Kevin Martin has been traded because the backcourt of him and Evans could have been special. But don’t feel like the Kings didn’t get anything for him. They got a beast of a player in the post that will help this team grow. Landry is only 26 years old and capable of getting better at what he does.

What About the Other Guys
As for the rest of the deal, Tracy McGrady probably won’t play much for the Kings if at all. He’s expected to either be moved to New York or possibly Chicago on Thursday and if not, he’ll most likely be bought out by the Kings and allowed to go sign with a contender. Doing this would save the Kings roughly $1.5 to $2 million dollars the rest of the season.

The Kings received Joey Dorsey in this deal who could either sit on the bench or be sent to Reno to be a D-League wrecking ball. He’s a big, wide man that was built to inflict pain on people in the paint. Think of Jon Brockman only stronger. He doesn’t have much game. He’s a poor offensive option, can defend a little and is a solid rebounder. At worst, he will have some epic battles on the boards with Brockman in practice and may even dance with Carl Landry a bit when called upon.

I think this was a good trade for the Kings. They’ve shed salary, kept their depth intact and added a low post presence. And Petrie might not be done dealing other. By the time we wake up and you’ve read this, another deal could have been pulled out. McGrady to the Knicks for picks, this year’s 8th pick and Jared Jeffries? McGrady to the Bulls for a Brad Miller redux plus the option to have Tyrus Thomas? What about trying to pluck Andre Iguodala and maybe Sam Dalembert from Philly for McGrady and a young asset like Hawes?

The options are plentiful and for a rebuilding team with a bright future, that’s all you can ask.


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