In honor of the Kings’ likely departure to Anaheim, I decided to look up their history to see if anyone but Rick Adelman had gotten them to the playoffs in their time in Sacramento. (Also, I haven’t written about hoops in a couple of years, and the playoffs are about to start.)
Turns out they made the playoffs in their first year in Sacto (1985-86), and one more time ten years later. Outside of that, their entire playoff history coincides with Adelman’s tenure (1999 to 2005-06). And, of course, they’ve come nowhere near the playoffs since they fired him for, um, not being good enough.
I looked over that 1995-96 roster, to see how they’d managed to sneak into the playoffs. They went 39-43 that year, and their top players were Rock Richmond and Brian Grant (with half a season of Walt “The Wizard” Williams*). Among their top 5? Olden Polynice. Turns out OP put up 12.2 ppg & 9.4 rpg, making him their top rebounder and #4 scorer.
No great shakes, but it got me thinking that he’d likely end up with a $50 million deal if he were playing nowadays (after making around $20 million for his entire career from 1987-2004). Why do I say that?
Well, here’s a news item from ESPN’s NBA rumor page today:
Kwame Brown will be a free agent in July and head coach Paul Silas believes the center will have a lot of suitors.
Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes: “Silas said after shootaround today he thinks there’s a strong possibility some team will make a significant, multi-year offer for Brown once there’s a new collective bargaining agreement. Brown has had a good season, particularly as an improved scorer. He no longer looks like someone who would have to work season-to-season on a veteran-minimum deal.”
Brown, who made the veteran minimum salary this season, averaged 26.0 minutes, 7.9 points and 6.8 rebounds.
That’s right: a “significant, multi-year offer” for someone who gets 8 points and 7 boards, needs more than half a game to get it, and is heading into his 30s. But in his NINTH season, he “no longer looks like someone who would have to work season-to-season on a veteran-minimum deal”! So that’s something!
Kwame Brown has banked more than $50 million in his washout career. They really need to have a lockout before someone’s dumb enough to sign him.
* I believe that 1995-96 Kings team did lead the NBA in awesome nicknames that season:
- Mitch “Rock” Richmond
- Brian “General” Grant
- Walt “Wizard” Williams
- Michael “Animal” Smith
- Lionel “L-Train” Simmons
- Corliss “Big Nasty” Williamson
- Kevin “Oscar” Gamble
- Olden “The Haitian Mutation” Polynice