by Charlie O. Mallonee
The NBA trade deadline was Thursday at 12:00 PM (PST). The deadline came and went without the Kings being able to make a move.
There had been multiple reports that the team had made Rudy Gay, Kosta Koufos, Marco Belinelli and Ben McLemore available on the trade market. Cleveland and Chicago had been rumored to be interested in one or more of those players.
One scenario had the Bulls Pau Gasol and his expiring contract coming to Sacramento in exchange for Koufos and McLemore. The deal would have also altered the draft pick provisions of the selection the Kings owe the Bulls.
There had also been rumors that Cleveland was interested in a trade for Koufos.
Ultimately, the Kings were unable to make any trade so the current roster will stay intact. That does not mean the playoff push is over but it does mean that the current players will have to make the adjustments on defense in order to make the team more competitive.
In a surprise move, the Kings fired assistant coach Vance Walberg on Wednesday. The move was reportedly made despite a protest from head coach George Karl. Karl and Walberg have been colleagues and friends for years. Walberg was a member of Karl’s coaching staff in Denver.
Walberg is known as the father of the “dribble-drive motion offense” also known as the “Memphis Attack”. The dribble-drive motion offense has been used successfully in the NBA by Denver and at the college level by Kentucky. Walberg has taught the offense in clinics around the world.
George Karl instituted the offensive scheme in order to meet the expectations of Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive. Ranadive wanted his team to play uptempo basketball more in the style of the Golden State Warriors.
The Kings offense has not been the problem. The team ranks number three in points scored at 107.1 per game. The defense has been the problem.
Sacramento gives up more points per game than any other team in the association at 109.1. The team has not been able to transition from the uptempo offense to defense all season.
The firing of Walberg would indicate that Vlade Divac feels that the offense needs to change in order for the team to play better defense.
The Vertical.com has reported that former Cavaliers and Lakers head coach Mike Brown is being considered to replace Walberg. Brown is known for his defensive expertise.