SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Sacramento Kings concluded three
turbulent years with Jason Williams, trading the flashy point guard
to the Vancouver Grizzlies for Mike Bibby in a four-man deal.
Nick Anderson was traded along with Williams to the Grizzlies,
who are expected to relocate to Memphis this summer. Brent Price,
who played just six games for Vancouver last season, was sent to
Williams' dazzling playmaking abilities were clouded by his
erratic behavior on and off the court in Sacramento, where he
became a fan favorite, but frequently embarrassed the organization
with displays of temper and poor judgment.
Williams and Anderson "contributed to a lot of our success here
the last couple of years, but we think we made a good move for our
team in the future," Kings vice president of basketball operations
Geoff Petrie said.
Unhappy as his playing time and importance to the Kings
decreased last season, Williams openly questioned his role with the
team and suggested he wanted to be traded. Petrie obliged him with
a late draft-day deal.
"The deal evolved during the course of the day, as things like
this will during draft day," Petrie said. "They are very excited
about getting Jason, and we're real happy to be getting Mike."
While the Kings' high-flying offense lost its enigmatic leader,
the Grizzlies' second major trade of draft day completely changes
Vancouver's nucleus just days before the franchise's move to
Tennessee is expected to be approved.
Earlier in the day, Vancouver traded Shareef Abdur-Rahim -- the
franchise's career scoring leader -- to Atlanta for Lorenzen Wright,
Brevin Knight and the draft rights to 7-footer Pau Gasol.
Petrie, the NBA's executive of the year in two of the past three
seasons, moved a potential problem in Williams for one of the
game's most highly regarded young point guards. Petrie
outmaneuvered several teams in the hunt for Bibby, who averaged
15.9 points and 8.4 assists in playing all 82 games last season.
In Williams, the Grizzlies acquired one of the NBA's most
visible players who will be sure to sell many tickets in their new
city. With behind-the-back passes and long 3-pointers, Williams
became a fixture on national television highlight shows.
As a rookie in the strike-shortened 1999 season, Williams
brought immediate excitement with his razzle-dazzle style. He
averaged 12.8 points and six assists as a rookie, and he teamed
with Chris Webber to lead the Kings to the first of three consecutive playoff appearances.
But Williams' effectiveness and playing time gradually decreased
the next two seasons while Sacramento became one of the NBA's elite
teams, finishing last season with the league's fourth-best record.
Because of Williams' defensive limitations, he watched reserve
Bobby Jackson play the fourth quarter of most games. Williams, the
seventh choice in the 1998 draft, averaged 9.4 points and 5.4 assists
this season, shooting a career-best 40 percent from the field, but
making only 31 percent of his 3-point attempts.
Williams spent a controversial final season with the Kings. He
was suspended for the first five games after failing to comply with
the league's drug policy. Twice during the year he was fined for
verbal exchanges with fans, and he embarrassed the Kings during a
game in Oakland in which he made slurs derogatory to Asians and
gays while bickering with fans behind the bench.
Anderson was a starter for the Kings in 1999-00, but he vanished
from coach Rick Adelman's rotation last season. He averaged 1.8
points in 21 games -- but by trading him to Vancouver, the Kings
avoid any buyout of his contract, which runs for two more years at
more than $10 million.
Bibby is unknown to many casual NBA fans because he played in
Canada for the lowly Grizzlies. That's not the case in Sacramento,
where the Kings have coveted Bibby for several months.
"When you get a chance to get a player you really like, you get
him," Adelman said.
Fri., June 29
The Sacramento Kings pulled off a coup in the trade that sent Jason Williams and Nick Anderson to the Grizzlies for Mike Bibby and Brent Price. Bibby is a sound, consistent, accomplished point guard, while Williams was so erratic that no one knew how he would play from game to game. And they also passed on Anderson, who had two years left on his contract and wasn't playing.
Even if the Kings do not have Chris Webber next season, they still have good players like Bibby, Predrag Stojakovic and Hidayet Turkoglu . Vlade Divac is steady and has consistent numbers. If they were to make a sign-and-trade deal for Webber, the Kings will get something good in return. If they keep Webber, the Kings are a contending team. So overall, the Kings will make out well.