NBA Gameday: Rudy Gay out for Joerger's Memphis homecoming

NBA Gameday: Rudy Gay out for Joerger's Memphis homecoming

Welcome home coach Joerger, your visiting locker room is down the hall to the left.

After nine seasons in Memphis, including the last three as the head coach of the Grizzlies, Dave Joerger returns to FedEx Forum for the the first time as the head coach of the Sacramento Kings Friday night.

The Kings are coming off their worst performances of the year. Playing without DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Ben McLemore, the Kings were walloped by the Rockets Wednesday night in Houston by a final of 132-98.  

Despite missing starting point guard Mike Conley Jr., the Grizzlies have won seven of their last eight, including an impressive 93-85 win over the NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.


Grizzlies by 5.5


DeMarcus Cousins vs. Marc Gasol -- Cousins has been a beast all season long and he comes in well rested after sitting out Wednesday night’s game as a healthy scratch. But he draws one of the stoutest defensive fronts in the game. Gasol is averaging a career-high 19.8 points per game while helping to carry the scoring void left by Mike Conley’s injury. After shooting just 66 total 3-pointers in his first eight seasons in the NBA, the versatile big out of Spain has gone 41-for-90 (45.6 percent) from long range this season.


Kings: 9-16, third place in Pacific

Grizzlies: 18-9, third place in Southwest


Kings: SF Rudy (hip flexor) is out, SF Omri Casspi (ilness) is out, SG Ben McLemore (quad contusion) is probable.

Grizzlies: PG Mike Conley Jr. (back) listed as doubtful but went through shootaround and hopes to play after missing previous nine games, SF Chandler Parsons (knee) doubtful, F Brandon Wright (ankle) out, F Deyonta Davis (foot) out, James Ennis (calf) probable.


Memphis swept the season series against Sacramento 3-0 lead last year. The Kings hold a 43-35 record against the Grizzlies all-time.  


“Lot of friends, lot of good times, you know, nine-years there. Kids basically - their whole life that they can remember is there. I’m excited to see some friends and some neighbors and some old coworkers.” -Dave Joerger on his return to Memphis

Response to adversity opens Kings, Golden 1 Center to national conversation

Response to adversity opens Kings, Golden 1 Center to national conversation

SACRAMENTO -- Gavin Maloof once described a potential downtown Sacramento arena as “a beacon of light, shining bright.” Vivek Ranadivé likened the idea of Golden 1 Center as the modern town square, cathedral or communal hearth.

On Friday, Ranadivé might have finally found the best way to describe his $500-plus million arena in the center of Sacramento’s downtown core. Speaking to the Sacramento Bee, Ranadivé said, "you can't always dictate what the stories are that are being told around the fireplace."

Thousands of protesters surrounded Ranadivé’s fireplace on Thursday evening. They locked arms and barred fans from coming in the building as the Kings faced the Atlanta Hawks.

In one night, Golden 1 Center was transformed from the home of the Kings, to something much more. It became the meeting place for the protesters to vent their frustrations after the officer-involved shooting death of Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old African American from South Sacramento.

The Kings’ first reaction was to protect the fans that had entered the building. They locked down the arena and cleared everyone from the massive windows that highlight the grand entrance. The limited number of fans allowed in the building were treated to seat upgrades and unlimited free food.

After securing the safety of the fans inside, the team chose a specific course of action. Instead of pointing fingers at protesters who likely cost the franchise hundreds of thousands of dollars, they allowed Golden 1 Center to become the heart of Sacramento.

It’s not always going to be about basketball or concerts or Disney on Ice. For Golden 1 Center to become what Ranadivé envisions, it has to be a place for everyone.

Instead of shunning the protest and turning their ire towards the thousands outside, Ranadivé had his defining moment, not just as an owner, but as a leader in the Sacramento community.

“The Kings recognize your people’s ability to protest peacefully and we respect that,” Ranadivé said from center court. “We here at the Kings recognize that we have a big platform. It’s a privilege, but it’s also a responsibility. It’s a responsibility that we take very seriously and we stand before you; old, young, black, white, brown and we are all united in our commitment.”

His postgame speech was humble and showed a different side of the Kings’ Chairman. It was also a moment for the franchise to become part of a larger conversation that is facing nearly every community in America.

To turn a blind eye to social injustice and civil unrest would violate the spirit of what Golden 1 Center was created for. If it is truly the fireplace of Sacramento, then there has to be an open invitation - not just for basketball, and not just for protests, but for all that a community has to give.

The Kings aren’t asking for games to be interrupted on a regular basis. But the team’s handling of the situation has opened the door for Golden 1 Center to become the communal meeting place they hoped it would be when they broke ground.

Report: Former Kings star offers to pay for Stephon Clark's funeral

Report: Former Kings star offers to pay for Stephon Clark's funeral

Former Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins reportedly reached out to Stephon Clark's family and offered to cover the cost of his a funeral, according to The Sacramento Bee's Jason Jones

Sacramento police shot and killed Clark, a 22-year-old African-American father of two, on Sunday while he was holding a cellphone in the backyard of his grandmother's home. Clark was unarmed. 

During his six-and-a-half year tenure in Sacramento, Cousins was not only the face of the Kings on the court, but the face of outreach efforts off of it. He paid for the funeral of Sacramento-area high school football player Jaulon "JJ" Clavo, who was shot in 2015, and ran free children's basketball camps for the city's children during the summer.

He continued to run a camp last summer following a midseason trade to the New Orleans Pelicans, and has spoken at length about how much he treasures maintaining strong ties to Sacramento. He told The Sacramento Bee last February that he "still consider[s Sacramento] a home."

“It’s very important to me,” Cousins told The New Orleans Advocate in October. “I’ve built relationships in a lot of the different places I’ve been. My biggest thing is helping those kids and helping families in need. I was once in their position, and it would’ve done wonders if I could’ve had a little bit of help coming up. I’m just doing my part.”

Bodycam footage from the officer-involved shooting was released on Wednesday, setting off protests on Thursday. Protestors blocked traffic on Interstate 5 both ways, according to NPR, before locking arms and surrounding the Golden 1 Center ahead of Hawks-Kings that night. Those protests delayed the start of the game by 15 minutes, and an estimated 15,000 fans were unable to enter the arena.