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5 events that could have changed the Sacramento Kings franchise, according to Jerry Reynolds

An interview with a legend

NBA: Houston Rockets at Sacramento Kings Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

As you likely know by now, a titan among the Sacramento Kings franchise stepped down this season. Jerry Reynolds, the long-time color analyst for the Kings broadcast, along with a variety of roles with the team throughout the years, including head coach, general manager and director of player personnel, announced that the last game of this season would be his final game in a full-time role.

We have all enjoyed Reynolds announce games. He brought basketball knowledge, a light-hearted style and a tremendous sense of humor.

Reynolds was kind enough to chat with Sactown Royalty recently. A variety of topics were covered, including his future plans and the needs of the current roster, but also five events that could have changed the course of the Kings franchise (not including the missed draft picks).

So, here are those five events, according to the one and only Jerry Reynolds.

Trading for Detlef Schrempf – 1993

While he was the general manager, Reynolds had a deal in place to trade Lionel Simmons for Detlef Schrempf, who was with the Indiana Pacers at the time. “With Mitch Richmond there, you’ve got two real players,” Reynolds said. Kings ownership didn’t agree with Reynolds, and part of it was a “money situation,” he said. Schrempf had a year left on his contract.

Mitch Richmond not getting hurt in the 1996 playoffs series

Mitch Richmond went down in Game 3 of a best of 5 series with the Seattle Sonics. “We could have beat them that year if Mitch doesn’t get hurt, I really believe that. We split with them up there (in Seattle) and that was one of the most memorable games of my life, just seeing Mitch eliminate Gary Payton and winning the game for us. We had them at home, and then Mitch goes down with a sprained ankle,” Reynolds said.

Not Letting Otis Thorpe Go – 1988

The team decided to not pay Otis Thorpe. According to Reynolds, they said, ‘We’re going to trade him,’ and they did. I said, ‘Well, I can’t make you pay him, but how do we get better losing our best player? The best young player?’” Reynolds said.Thorpe had just finished his fourth year, averaging 20 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists. Thorpe later became an All-Star and was a part of the 1994 Houston Rockets championship team.

Webber not going down with a knee injury in the 2003playoffs

“I was there, and I remember it, at the time I didn’t think it was anything serious … Of course, I should have known better because he went down without any contact and usually that’s when it is really the worst. So, when he went down I thought well, he probably strained his knee or something and he’ll be fine in a couple of days, and obviously he was never the same really. He came back and just wasn’t the same player,” Reynolds said.

Not hiring Geoff Petrie – 1994

Reynolds had resigned as the general manager and Kings owner Jim Thomas had asked him to stay on board and help select his replacement. Thomas had a couple of names of people he was interested in. “I just said, ‘Jim, these aren’t the guys.” Reynolds had talked to Geoff Petrie and knew he was looking into other opportunities. (The two spoke in Houston because the team had had Jerry visit for an interview for a job with the Rockets.)“Fortunately, Jim decided to wait a while and not rush into doing something, and we hired Geoff.”

Here are some other excerpts from our conversation:

His Plans Moving Forward: He would still like to do the pre and post-game shows on Comcast at home. If Doug Christie, his replacement as color analyst, were sick or needed someone to step in for any reason he would be available. He would also be willing to travel on short road trips.

Favorite Moment: The first time he was head coach and they won a game. It was against the Dallas Mavericks, his second game as head coach (1987). The first game they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers. “We had two straight at home, pretty significant wins, then we went to Chicago and beat Jordan. I was 3-1, we beat them in overtime. I told my wife, ‘If I was smart I would retire right now and just say this game is really not a challenge.’Unfortunately, we went to Cleveland and the Mark Price and Brad Daugherty bunch, and then Philly … and that winning streak ended pretty good,” Reynolds said.

Favorite Thing About the Fans: “Just about every game there is something that is my favorite about the fans. I really enjoy them, they have always been great coming up before games or after games, just visiting or talking about certain things.” “I’ve always been treated better than I deserve by the fans. I don’t know exactly why other than they probably know that I really do have their best interest and I do. I fail, but not because I didn’t care enough or didn’t try enough. I think that is kind of like how they are with players. As long as players are really trying, doing their best, they’ll support them 100 percent,” Reynolds said.

The Biggest Need of the Current Team: “Small forward, they just don’t have what they need there from what I can see. It depends a lot on Harry Giles. I think if he is the player that most think he is, including myself, and he can stay healthy, which is yet to be proven, then the front court is probably in pretty good shape … But I think the small forward position, and I am very opinionated on this and I disagreed with the coaches, I would have played Buddy Hield at that position all year long. I think he brings better defense, better rebounding … I mean, how much more physical is Justin Jackson? I don’t think it’s even close … I think one guy is clearly a better basketball player than the other. I know I’m old school, but I’ve always thought maybe you ought to get your best players on the floor if you don’t have enough of them anyway. To me, Buddy has a chance to be a star.”

Thank you for everything, Jerry. You are a star, and we all look forward to still seeing you around.