Kings don't deal with 'love'

SACRAMENTO -- The infamous sign lady might have been speaking for more than herself this time, as her Arco Arena artwork strayed from the typical praising of players into the realm of personnel as it pertained to the Sacramento Kings' future.

"We love this team," her sign read at Friday's game against the Utah Jazz. "No trades, please."

Yet some within the organization believe roster decisions will be made without regard for what's happening on the floor. Whether it's Ron Artest or Mike Bibby being dealt or Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie standing pat until the summer, a winning streak or a slide before the Feb. 21 trade deadline won't likely factor in.

Even with Saturday's loss at Golden State, the Kings have won 11 of their past 17 games. And while Kings coach Reggie Theus surely will coach whichever group he's given, he repeatedly has proclaimed a confidence in this current bunch, knowing new additions and departures would mean yet another transition period in his first season.

The Kings have been deservedly praised for staying afloat despite injuries, but their 23-26 record is only a game better than at this point last season under coach Eric Musselman. That free fall didn't begin until early March, from 28-32 to 17 losses in the final 22 games.

As Theus alluded to Saturday night, competing consistently is the best way to avoid a collapse.

"We didn't back down (against the Warriors), we didn't mess with the referees, and we stayed focused on what we had to do," Theus said. "If we keep playing like that, play harder than the other team night in and night out, we are going to win some of those games."

For all the attention given to Artest and his uncertain future recently, actual trade talks are relatively quiet. The same can be said concerning Bibby.