Kings

A Prince Among Kings: Jerry Reynolds transitions to new role after 20 years on Kings broadcast

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Sacramento Kings

A Prince Among Kings: Jerry Reynolds transitions to new role after 20 years on Kings broadcast

SACRAMENTO -- The end of the 2017-18 NBA season is upon us, and it comes with some emotional news for Sacramento Kings fans. Legendary broadcaster and former team executive Jerry Reynolds has decided to step away from his full-time position as color analyst for the team.

“I feel like this is the time for me to make a transition in my career. I just don’t feel like I have the interest or the capabilities to be a full-time employee, as much as I’ve enjoyed my time with the Kings,” Reynolds said on The Kings Insider Podcast on NBC Sports California.

Reynolds has worked alongside play-by-play man Grant Napear for the past twenty seasons of Kings basketball. He’s an iconic figure on the Sacramento sports landscape, but at 74 years old, the wear and tear of an 82-game season with an intense travel schedule has taken its toll.
 
“This is strictly my decision,” Reynolds said. “They’ve given me the opportunity to change my mind a couple of times, but I know it’s the right thing. Father Time wins every battle.”
 
According to Reynolds, the team offered him a long-term contract last summer, but he turned it down in lieu of a one-year deal. After thinking it through, he made the difficult decision to walk away from full-time duty, in part because of long-term health concerns.
 
“I am a 20-year diabetic and honestly, the last year was tough on me,” Reynolds said. “I’m not trying to work up a pity contest here, but it was a lot tougher for me to take care of my disease.”
 
In his time with the franchise, Reynolds has been an assistant coach, interim head coach, head coach, general manager, director of player personnel and color analyst. He also headed up the Sacramento Monarchs, who brought home a WNBA Championship in 2005.
 
“As a broadcast partner, I just have been so blessed,” Napear told NBC Sports California. “I can’t adequately put into words what it’s meant to be with him 82 games a year doing NBA basketball. It’s effortless. It’s fun. It’s not work in any capacity.”
 
“He’s just a great person and I consider him a part of my family."
 
An unlikely duo - a New Yorker and and a country boy from French Lick, Indiana - Napear and Reynolds have consistently been considered one of the best broadcast teams in the NBA.
 
“We’re kind of like an old couple,” Reynolds said of Napear. “He’s 100 miles per hour and I’m 20 miles per hour. New York and Indiana. And it kind of works.”
 
With his country charm and flair for coining nicknames, Reynolds helped create a broadcast that is uniquely Sacramento. He’s brought a lighthearted approach to the game through good seasons and bad in Sacramento.
 
“He’s so folksy,” said Gary Gerould, the radio voice of the Kings. “He’s such a people person and he loves to talk basketball. I envy his depth of knowledge and his way of expressing that just makes you smile. He’s unique.”
 
Reynolds isn’t going anywhere. He will continue to be a fixture in the Kings’ family, both on and off the court. He will represent the team in the community and at team functions.
 
The details haven’t been fully settled, but the Kings also expect Reynolds to continue to contribute to game broadcasts and Pre/Post shows on NBC Sports California as well as Kings coverage on Sports 1140 KHTK radio.
 
He has no intention of walking away anytime soon from a loyal fan base that has supported him for the last 33 years, since he came with the team from Kansas City before the 1985-86 season.
 
“I work for the fans and I owe the fans, and I’ll always feel that way,” Reynolds said. “It’s been an honor and a thrill to get to know them, to work for them and I’ll always owe them.”
 
With Reynolds stepping away from his full-time role, the team has pegged former Kings shooting guard Doug Christie as his replacement. Christie has worked 10 games per year alongside Napear over the last three seasons as the team groomed him for the position.
 
“Hopefully my voice is taken in and consumed by our Sacramento Kings fans, and they give me a chance to do me,” Christie said.
 
The pair also work together on the team’s flagship radio station Sports 1140 KHTK, and Christie has been a fixture on NBC Sports California’s pre and postgame shows for the past three years.  
 
There is no replacing Reynolds, but Christie brings a different vibe to the telecast. He adds energy and excitement, and he’s worked hard to improve at his craft. Napear and Christie have had short opportunities to work together, but it will take time to develop the chemistry that fans have become accustomed to on a nightly basis.

“He doesn’t have an ego,” Napear said of Christie. “He’s unbelievably prepared and he knows the game. It’s actually much easier than I thought it would be. He’s not Jerry and I don’t expect him to be Jerry.”
 
“He does his job off the court like he did as a player,” Reynolds said of his successor. “He really prepares, he works hard, he thinks it out. I’m not surprised by any of it. He’ll get better and better. He’s terrific.”
 
It’s tough to step in and replace a legend. Christie won't try to be the next Jerry Reynolds. Instead, he intends to grow into the role and make it his own.
 
After a 15-year NBA career, including four and a half in a Kings uniform, Christie and his family moved back to the Sacramento area in the summer of 2016. He has a passion for the franchise that he helped lead to the 2002 Western Conference Finals.
 
“It’s surreal. At the same time, the affinity I have for the Sacramento Kings - I want to see them do something,” Christie said. “To actually be a part of that is a humbling experience.”
 
The team has planned a video tribute to Reynolds that will play during the season finale against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday evening at Golden 1 Center. It will be a celebration of a Sacramento legend.

It will be a surprise if Ben McLemore or Deyonta Davis actually wear a Kings uniform

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AP

It will be a surprise if Ben McLemore or Deyonta Davis actually wear a Kings uniform

We have a trade. Garrett Temple is on his way to the Memphis Grizzlies. In return, the Sacramento Kings receive former King Ben McLemore, along with big man Deyonta Davis, cash considerations and a 2021 second round draft pick.

Temple opted in to the final year of his 3-year, $24 million deal in late June and was due $8 million this season. Lost in the shuffle of young players at shooting guard, Sacramento made it clear to the 32-year-old wing that he was not part of the plan for the 2018-19 season before he picked up his option.

Known for his work in the community and presence in the locker room, the eight-year NBA veteran posted 8.4 points on 39.2 percent shooting from long range in 65 games last season in Sacramento. 

After being drafted with the seventh overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft by Sacramento, McLemore spent the first four seasons of his career in a Kings uniform. He signed a two-year deal with the Grizzlies last season and will make $5.4 million this season. 

Davis struggled to find court time with the Grizzlies in his first two seasons out of Michigan State. The 6-foot-11, 237 pound center has potential, but he’ll join a crowded frontcourt in Sacramento. He averaged 5.8 points and four rebounds in 15.2 minutes per game in his sophomore season in Memphis. 

Why Temple?

Sacramento has struggled to find strong veteran leadership over the last decade, but Temple fit the bill. After working his way into the league on 10-day contracts and trips overseas, the LSU grad seemed to find a home with the Kings.

But the emergence of shooting guards Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield made Temple the odd man out in the rotation this season. The Kings were able to break his contract up into smaller pieces in this deal, which opens the door for more transactions. 

In a perfect world, the Kings may have looked to move Iman Shumpert instead of Temple, but his injury history and $11.4 million contract for this season is a tough sell in a cash strapped market.

Why McLemore and Davis?

It’s hard to see either of these players sticking around for very long. McLemore struggled to find playing time in his final two seasons in Sacramento and that’s before they had emerging players at his position. It’s unlikely he’ll get another shot at competing for minutes. He makes $5.4 million this season, which can be bought out and either stretched over three years to open more space or paid out in one lump sum this season.  

Davis is owed $1.5 million this season, making him an affordable reserve option if the Kings choose to keep him around. He’s on the final year of his rookie contract and is a restricted free agent after this season.

What’s next?

The Kings saved roughly $1 million in cap space with the deal, pushing their available total to approximately $20.5 million. 

This deal was more about adding another second round pick and clearing Temple’s $8 million off the books, while finding the veteran a soft landing spot. While the team has yet make their plans known, it would be a surprise to see either McLemore or Davis in a Kings uniform this season.

Kings to trade Garrett Temple to Grizzlies; Ben McLemore back in Sacramento

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AP

Kings to trade Garrett Temple to Grizzlies; Ben McLemore back in Sacramento

The Kings are making a move.

Sacramento is finalizing a trade that will send forward Garrett Temple to the Grizzlies, NBC Sports California's James Ham confirmed.

The Kings will receive guard Ben McLemore, center Deyonta Davis, a 2021 second-round draft pick and cash considerations in the deal.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the deal.

Temple played the last two seasons in Sacramento. Last year, he averaged 8.4 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 65 games (35 starts).

He is entering the final year of the three-year, $24 million contract that he signed with the Kings in the summer of 2016.

McLemore, who averaged 7.5 points over 56 games for the Grizzlies last season, spent his first four seasons in Sacramento after the Kings selected him seventh overall in 2013. He will earn $5,460,000 next season and then become an unrestricted free agent.

Davis was the 31st overall pick in the 2016 draft out of Michigan State. The 21-year old appeared in 62 games last year, averaging 5.8 points and 4.0 rebounds.