WHAT IF THE SACRAMENTO KINGS HELD ON TO JASON WILLIAMS A BIT LONGER?




During the late 90s, I was a Chicago Bulls fan.


I guess I like the Boston Celtics because of their championship mystique and the time when Red Auerbach and Dennis Johnson died... and this prompted Danny Ainge to start from scratch with old reliable Paul Pierce and awesome add-ons Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.


But back in the 90s, I rooted for Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Phil Jackson, Ron Harper, Toni Kukoc, and the rest of the Bulls up until their second three-peat.


Afterward, I was checking out the Sacramento Kings and their awesome razzle-dazzle gameplay.





All I knew was the Kings were battling the Utah Jazz and there's this entertaining rookie who was holding his own against John F'N Stockton.


Anyway, you know the Sacramento Kings are cursed when they traded Jason Williams.


Williams and his Pistol Pete-like ways made the Sacramento Kings fun to watch. He made a disgruntled player like Chris Webber love Sac-Town and he also turned Vlade Divac from a one-dimensional Arvydas Sabonis wannabe into the predecessor of Pau Gasol and other Euro bets' game.


However, Williams is also turnover prone, and inasmuch as he gets a lot of praise from the current generation for his YouTube mixed tapes, Rick Adelman knew that in order to push the Kings to the next level, they needed to trade White Chocolate.


At what cost, though?


There was a time when Jason Williams' #55 was the fifth-highest selling jersey in a season. Sacramento could have held on to the young player to align himself with Webber, Divac, and an incoming European small forward by the name of Peja Stojakovic. There are a lot of organizations eager to take out the faded legacy of Chicago and the incoming Los Angeles and San Antonio dynasties. Sacramento was at the forefront of this movement alongside the Kevin Garnett-led Minnesota Timberwolves, super-stacked Portland Trail Blazers, and the Dirk Nowitzki-led Dallas Mavericks. If Sacramento can't cut it as a championship squad, then they might as well score a lot of cash with national attention and merch sales.





Again, it's hard to fault Sacramento in this trade. Williams has had a couple of off-court issues and in terms of in-court ones, Adelman has addressed Williams' turnover problems with a Bobby Jackson timeshare. When the Lakers swept the Kings in the 2001 NBA Western Conference Semifinals, Williams averaged 5.3 points and 2.8 assists in 22.1 minutes.


An underachieving J-Will fueling a Lakers sweep is enough reason for the Kings to send him alongside an equally-underachieving Nick Anderson for the about-to-be Memphis Grizzlies for Mike Bibby and Brent Price.


Yes, Bibby enjoyed his best years with the Kings and was in fact, the better of the two players. Bibby continued Sac-Town's awesome offense and his own share of nifty dimes. With that said, the Kings still failed to capture a title - never mind the ill-fated 2002 playoff where David Stern and the referees allegedly controlled the series outcome. Williams could have been more if he was given the freedom to grow as a player in Sacramento... although he did pretty well as one of the leaders of the Memphis Grizzlies youth movement.


And IF Williams played in the 2002 Western Conference Finals instead of Bibby, maybe the referee movement wouldn't be as ridiculous. If the Kings won over the Lakers, the Sacramento and New Jersey Nets series is probably the more watchable series in terms of mystery. Jason Williams takes on walking triple-double Jason Kidd. Kenyon Martin versus Chris Webber. Keith Van Horn, Richard Jefferson, and Kerry Kittles could have made statement moments against Divac, Stojakovic, Jackson, and Hedo Turkoglu.


Also, we wouldn't have this what-if.




Williams would move from team to team - but it's not as "journeyman" as other players. In fact, Shaquille O'Neal got Williams to Miami and they went on to win an NBA championship against his old foes, the Dallas Mavericks in the 2006 NBA Finals.


He never played for a California team after though - although he was about to suit up for the LA Clippers until lingering injuries forced his first retirement.


Sacramento has yet to have a player of his magnitude - except when they had Tyrese Haliburton. De'Aaron Fox could be... but he's not as fancy as he was. Williams is a willing passer with style points. If you look at YouTube reaction videos, fans are shocked why they don't know much of Williams and that he was once teammates with the likes of Webber, Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Dwight Howard, Shaq, Dwyane Wade, Shawn Marion, Gary Payton, and Alonzo Mourning.


Much like Jeremy Lin's New York run, Sacramento could have just milked Williams' star power until they got all of it.

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