Kings

Kings' Gary Gerould wants championship legacy like Warriors' Tim Roye

Kings' Gary Gerould wants championship legacy like Warriors' Tim Roye

For 35 seasons, the legendary Gary Gerould has called Sacramento Kings games either on the radio or as a television broadcaster. There was even a short window where he did both as part of a simulcast.

From the moment the team moved to Sacramento from Kansas City in 1985, until the final moments of the 2019-20 season before the NBA shutdown, he has painted a vivid picture of the action like very few can.

He was there for the first-ever postseason game in Kings history in 1986. He was also around to see the amazing first-round matchup between the Kings and the Seattle Supersonics during the 1995-96 season. And like so many others, the 2002 Western Conference Finals broke his heart and still stings to this day.

“2002 still hurts, you know the hurt probably better than I do,” Gerould explained to former Kings guard Doug Christie on the latest edition of the Purple Talk podcast. “I’m not on the floor giving it my all, but I’m on the sidelines giving my all to paint the picture and create the atmosphere. And to be so tantalizingly close to an opportunity to play for a championship ring was huge.”

The Kings lost in a brutal seven-game series to Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers squad that would go on to sweep the New Jersey Nets in the Finals. The Kings never again have made it that deep in the postseason over the last 18 years.

[PURPLE TALK PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Those moments of near misses linger. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Gerould partnered with Tim Roye for six seasons on the Kings broadcast. In 1995, just before the Kings made their first postseason appearance in a decade, Roye left Sacramento and joined the Golden State Warriors.

Over the next 12 years, Roye’s Warriors would miss the playoffs every year and for 17 of his first 18 seasons in Oakland. Luckily, Roye was able to withstand the brutal stretch and come out on the other side.

“He went through a lot of really tough years in his now, what, 25 years with the Golden State Warriors,” Gerould said of Roye. “He now has three championship rings in his collection and I envy that so much.”

“I’m happy for him, but I think, wouldn’t that be the culmination, wouldn’t that be just such a marvelous experience?” Gerould said.

[RELATED: Does De'Aaron Fox get max extension this summer?]

After 35 years of Kings basketball, Gerould, as much or more than anyone else, would love to see the team find its way back into contention. A man who loves good food, hitting Broadway shows and even was friends with legendary actor Paul Newman, Gerould is looking for another life experience to add to his own collection.

“It’s not just the fact that you look upon a worldly possession, it’s what it represents,” Gerould said. “The fact that it means that you’ve conquered the mountain, that you’re the best of the best and no one can ever take that away from you.”

There is no lack of passion for the 79-year-old play-by-play announcer. During the podcast, Gerould spoke about the feeling of being in the building during that Seattle series and the way that Arco Arena came alive. He would love nothing more than to be overwhelmed by that same sensation at Golden 1 Center.

Kings' Kent Bazemore could envision staying for 'next couple of years'

Kings' Kent Bazemore could envision staying for 'next couple of years'

On Jan. 22, the Sacramento Kings were absolutely embarrassed on the road by a less-than-stellar Detroit Pistons team by a final of 127-106. You could tell that changes were coming before the final horn sounded.

That was the sixth straight loss for the Kings and their season looked like it was over.

When the team came out for the next contest in Chicago, Bogdan Bogdanovic had replaced Buddy Hield in the starting lineup and Kent Bazemore became a bigger piece to the rotation.

Acquired just days earlier in a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers, Bazemore instantly became the high-energy catalyst off the bench the Kings hoped they were getting when they signed Trevor Ariza to a two-year, $25 million contract.

Sacramento responded to the changes in the rotation and finished the season as one of the hottest teams in the league, winning 13 of its final 20 games.

In 21 total games with the Kings, Bazemore, 31, averaged 10.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 23.5 minutes per game. He was a disruptive force on the defensive end and his energy on the court was contagious.

A free agent at the end of the season, Bazemore will have plenty of options on the open market. His ability to defend multiple positions and provide an offensive spark when needed earned him a massive four-year, $70 million deal in the summer of 2016.

It’s unlikely that Bazemore comes anywhere near that figure again this offseason, but he believes he has found a new home in Sacramento and this isn't the first time the veteran has voiced that opinion.

“This is definitely a place that I can see myself play for the next couple of years,” Bazemore said during a Zoom call with the media on Friday. “With a team with so much promise, I definitely want to be a part of that.”

General manager Vlade Divac has plenty of decisions to make during the upcoming offseason, but bringing Bazemore back for another tour of duty makes too much sense. He’s still young enough to play substantial minutes and his ability to play both the two and three allows coach Luke Walton to slide Harrison Barnes to power forward for long stretches.

[RELATED: Barnes keeps word, won't shave beard until Kings hit .500]

The NBA’s salary structure is bound to take a big hit with the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world. Sacramento likely will have to take a wait-and-see approach to the offseason, which includes decisions on free agents Bogdan Bogdanovic, Harry Giles and Alex Len.

In just a quarter of the season, Bazemore has proven his worth and the Kings aren’t done quite yet. Sacramento has eight games remaining to try and earn a shot at the playoffs. If Bazemore hadn’t come along when he did, it’s very unlikely the Kings would be in this position.

Harrison Barnes keeps word, won't shave beard until Kings hit .500 record

Harrison Barnes keeps word, won't shave beard until Kings hit .500 record

Committed.

Harrison Barnes showed up for the latest edition of the Kings' Zoom call with the media still sporting his playoffs-or-bust beard. The Kings’ forward stopped shaving in mid-December, committing to letting it grow until the Kings reached the .500 mark.

“The beard is good, I think it’s plateaued a little bit,” Barnes said. “That’s been nice from a management perspective. But I think I’m excited to hopefully shave it off when we make the playoffs and keep going from there.”

At the time of Barnes' pledge, the Kings were 12-14 and facing a three-game road trip in Charlotte, Indiana and Memphis. Sacramento would go on to lose all three...and then five more to fall 10 games under .500 at 12-22.

[RELATED: Kings' Marvin Bagley, family stayed focused on hoops during NBA hiatus]

True to his word, Barnes let it grow, although he’s modified the rules slightly. He now has a .500 or playoffs mantra, which could possibly get him off the hook.

A .500 record would take an 8-0 stretch by the Kings in the Orlando bubble restart. Looking at their schedule, that is going to be difficult. But a 5-3 stretch might be enough to sneak into the play-in game, which couldbe grounds for a good shaving.

This decision was a bold move by Barnes. While the Kings have the most talented and deepest roster they’ve had in years, the franchise also is riding a 13-year playoff drought.

If the Kings don’t make it and Barnes stays true to his word, he might be able to near James Harden's beard length by the start of next season. Should that be the case, he really could use a Game 1 win to put the team over the .500 mark.