Jason Terry isn’t exactly wrong, in his estimation of the Sacramento Kings. It’s just that the mercurial veteran guard is technically a member of the Sacramento Kings right now, and you don’t often see candid appraisals of NBA teams given by players currently being paid by that actual team.
Terry was traded to the Kings midway through 2013-14, but he didn’t play a minute for his new team last season, citing a knee injury. JET instead rehabbed that knee in Dallas, the town that he won a title in with the Mavericks in 2011, and a town where he recently appeared on a local radio show, offering some Kings-related comments that probably won’t go over too well with the team’s core.
Bryan Gutierrez at ESPN Dallas was kind enough to transcribe Terry’s comments from 103.3’s “Fitzsimmons and Fredo Show,” which were then relayed through the Sacramento Bee, and Pro Basketball Talk. Here’s Jason’s take on his, technical, teammates:
"I wouldn't say it's rebuilding, but a building process," Terry said. "DeMarcus Cousins, a huge talent. Attitude, a little shaky. Rudy Gay, not a proven winner in this league but a tremendous talent and a guy you can build around.
"They're in transition right now. For me, at this point in my career, I want championships."
With that in place?
DeMarcus Cousins? Huge talent. Attitude? A little shaky. By most accounts a good dude, but sometimes his shakiness gets him into trouble on the court.
Rudy Gay? Not a proven winner, but a tremendous talent.
Sacramento Kings? In a building process. In transition right now.
Jason Terry, at 36-years of age? He wants championships at this point in his career.
None of this is off base, it’s just rare to see an NBA player talk in this fashion, looking at his own team from the outside as someone who has never practiced nor played with the teammates in question.
The issue here is that Jason Terry would no doubt like to make the $5.8 million he’s owed on his contract for 2014-15, and that the Kings are in no hurry to pay Terry the full amount of that cash (or, more than likely, even an approximation of it) in order for him to go away. That amount was ramped up last February when his trade kicker was engaged when Brooklyn, disappointed at Terry’s production on both ends of the court, dumped Jason in a deal for Marcus Thornton.
The move was a salary dump for Sacramento, even with Terry’s deal on the books and the trade kicker handing him another $400,000. And after drafting for shooting guards in the lottery in both 2013 and 2014, it’s clear that the Kings are in no great hurry to introduce JET to northern California.
Terry has fallen off terribly over the last two years. Asked to play primarily at point guard in Brooklyn for the first time since his days in Atlanta, he shot an average mark from long range but was far below average in every other area of the game. He’ll turn 37 in September, and though one would think his spot-up game from behind the arc would age well, nobody is lining up to trade for Terry as he makes the NBA’s average salary.
The more depressing question, for Jason, is if anyone would sign him up if he and the Kings agreed to a buyout, and Terry became a free agent. JET talked up Dallas’ ascension to a “top four team in the Western Conference” and told the radio show that he “bleed[s] blue” and that “[he’s] a Maverick,” but that might not be enough to sway owner Mark Cuban and personnel chief Donnie Nelson, who declined to fight the Boston Celtics for Terry’s services when he became a free agent in 2012.
Jason Terry is a talker. It’s why he’ll make a good assistant coach, or a sound addition to the NBA TV set at some point. We just don’t know if he’s an NBA-caliber player anymore, which is a little sad.
Pining for Dallas on the airwaves may or may not work out, as the Mavs may eventually decide to take a flier on their semi-known quantity (they did, after all, recently re-acquire Tyson Chandler).
On the Kings’ end? Talking up the “shaky” attitude of their franchise player and saying “I’m a Maverick” on the radio may not be the smartest move for a guy that wants his cake (that guaranteed money) and the ability to eat it (a reunion in Dallas) too.
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