Garrett Temple

Kings guard Garrett Temple: 'I can see myself finishing my career here'

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AP

Kings guard Garrett Temple: 'I can see myself finishing my career here'

Decisions, decisions. The Sacramento Kings hit a home run when they signed veteran Garrett Temple to a three-year, $24 million contract in the summer of 2016. He’s not only the team’s best defender, but he’s a leader on the court and behind the scenes. 

After years of bouncing all over the world trying to keep his NBA dream alive, Temple finally found a place to call home and the financial security to go with it in Sacramento. But at 31-years-old and the NBA clock ticking, Temple has a big decision to make this offseason. 

Like big man Kosta Koufos, Temple has a player option for the final year of his contract. He can either opt in at another $8 million dollars or test the free agent market, potentially leaving Sacramento.

“I can see myself finishing my career here, I can definitely see that,” Temple told NBC Sports California during The Kings Insider Podcast. “I have a great relationship with the front office. I have a great relationship with the coaching staff, the fans as well.”

Temple is off to the best shooting start of his career, knocking down 41.9 percent from long range. He’s become the quintessential 3-and-D player that teams around the league are salivating to get their hands on. He would fit on almost any team in the league, including a high-end playoff team.

“I’m a guy who wants to win, so I’m definitely going to weigh my options depending on how this year goes out,” Temple said. “But I’m a guy who loves this team. I love these young guys.”

NBA players have a shelf life. Temple’s might be a little longer than the average player because he has less mileage on his body than a typical player of his age. He’s not sure if he can last until 40, like teammate Vince Carter, but he thinks he has five to six years still left in his body. 

“Z-Bo’s (Zach Randolph) is 36 I think,” Temple said. “I think I can do that. I could be 36 and still out there playing and contributing.”

Temple was honored as the Kings’ Teammate of the Year for last season. He was also voted as the most media friendly player on Sacramento’s roster. He’s a player that the Kings would love to keep in the fold as they build a young core for the future.

Fox 'shows a lot of guts' in win, Temple with the assist

Fox 'shows a lot of guts' in win, Temple with the assist

SACRAMENTO -- Ice in his veins. After nearly turning the ball over five seconds earlier, rookie De’Aaron Fox went into attack mode and drilled a 19-foot pullup with 14.1 seconds remaining Thursday night. The shot gave Sacramento a 109-108 lead over the Philadelphia 76ers, which somehow held up.

Maybe Fox doesn’t know any better. At 19-years-old, he’s one of the youngest players in the NBA. But he’s showing the moxie of a seasoned veteran.

“For that guy, at that age, to be able to take that shot after the shooting night he had, even when the play may not have been drawn up that way, that just shows guts,” Garrett Temple said. “A lot of guts, a lot of gall for him to take that shot and make it. Pure.”

Fox had shot just 3-of-12 before knocking down the game winner. Dave Joerger showed great faith in sticking with the rookie point guard and he rewarded his coach with a second straight win.

“We drew up something, it didn’t look like anybody was getting open and I just bust to the top” Fox said. “He threw it and they backed up and that was the shot that I’ve been comfortable taking, and I made it.”

The final 14 seconds were a blur. Philly rushed up the court and fed Joel Embiid at the top of the key. The star big, who had been blocked by Willie Cauley-Stein on the previous two possessions, tried to go over the Kings center one more time. Embiid forced up a free throw line jumper that came off the iron and Golden 1 Center erupted.

THE SHOT BEFORE THE SHOT

Behind a ruckus sellout crowd, the Kings finished the night on a 7-0 run to come away with the one point win. Fox gets all the credit for the deciding hoop, but Temple’s shot moments before gave the Kings an opportunity for the comeback.

With just under a minute to play, Fox threw a ball that glanced off an official and ended up in Temple’s hands. Thinking the shot clock was about to expire, Temple hoisted a 26-footer that found the bottom of the net and cut the Sixers lead to just one.

“I just tried to throw it, it bumps off a ref and Garrett gets it,” Fox said. He thought the clock was running down. We really had like 10 seconds on the clock, but he took the shot and made it and it was huge and that gave us a lot of momentum.”

Like Fox, Temple was having a rough shooting night. He started the game just 1-of-6 from the field before dropping in the 3-ball with 50.6 remaining.

“I needed that big one for us to try to get a little closer,” Temple said. “Fox found me, or found the ref and then I found the ball and I was able to knock it down.”

After dropping seven straight, the Kings appear to have steadied the ship slightly, winning back-to-back games for the first time this season. They hit the road following the game, where they'll start their third three-game road trip of the early season Saturday against the Knicks.

Instant Analysis: Slow start dooms Kings, burnt by Suns despite late rally

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USATSI

Instant Analysis: Slow start dooms Kings, burnt by Suns despite late rally

BOX SCORE

Opportunity lost. The Sacramento Kings had a game handed to them on a silver platter Monday night in Phoenix and they couldn’t take advantage. Playing for a new head coach and without their star point guard, the Suns manhandled the Kings early and held them off late to come away with the 117-115 win and pick up their first win of the season.

Garrett Temple is known for his defensive prowess, but on Monday night in Phoenix, he was an offensive juggernaut. With the Kings falling behind early, the veteran wing hit 6-of-8 from long range to post 23 and keep the Kings in the ballgame late. He had a look at 3-ball to win it at the buzzer, but came up short.

It took Bogdan Bogdanovic less than a quarter to get comfortable with the NBA game. Phoenix drafted the rookie with the 27th pick back in 2014, but they abandoned their efforts to bring him over from Europe. He lit the Suns up 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the first half, but struggled to get it going after the break.

With Bogdanovic manning the two, fellow rookie De’Aaron Fox put on the jets at the point guard spot. Fox attacked Phoenix on both ends of the floor, finishing with 19 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Skal Labissiere scored 17 points and grabbed four rebounds off Joerger’s bench. Willie Cauley-Stein added 11 points, four assists and four rebounds, while rookie Justin Jackson chipped in a career-best 10 points.

Buddy Hield couldn’t buy a bucket early, but his defense fueled his offensive in the second half. Hield grabbed a career-high five steals and added 14 points on 6-for-15 shooting.

Sacramento’s Marquese Chriss did damage against his hometown team. The second-year forward dropped in 19 points and six rebounds before fouling out late. 

Devin Booker added 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting. Mike James finished with 18 points and seven assists starting in place of the exiled Eric Bledsoe and rookie Josh Jackson came off the bench to score 15.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

Temple caught fire and the Kings kept feeding him. Not known for his offense, the veteran wing went off in a wild game at the Talking Stick Resort Arena

TURNING POINT

Phoenix put the Kings on blast to start the game, outscoring the Kings starters 36-17 in the first 12 minutes of action. Dave Joerger went to his bench in the second and the combination of Fox, Bogdanovic and Labissiere went to work. The trio helped cut the Suns lead from 21 in the first quarter to eight before the half. They stole the momentum of the game.

INJURY UPDATE

Rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic returned from a sprained right ankle to make his NBA debut. Labissiere tweaked his right ankle in the fourth quarter, but was able to walk off under his own power and returned to the game late.

WHAT'S NEXT

The Kings return home to host DeMarcus Cousins and the New Orleans Pelicans Thursday at Golden 1 Center. They’ll stick around Sacramento to face the Washington Wizards on Sunday before heading back out on the road for three games.