In a business as calculated and fast paced as the NBA, nothing is ever guaranteed. For former UCF star and Central Florida raised Jermaine Taylor, that truth might not ever ring louder to him than it does right now.
The shooting guard was waived by the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday, playing there since a December 15th trade sent him from Houston after being a Rocket for a year plus. He had two years remaining on his deal, but they were non-guaranteed if he was let go before August 1st.
“I wasn’t surprised at all,” said Taylor on his release. “It’s something that I asked for during the exit meeting. I got a sure opportunity to play and just like that it was taken away from me. I started to see myself next season, the way things were looking; it was going to be the same thing with Marcus Thornton and just the entire roster.”
There were bright moments in Taylor’s stint as a King, most notably in his return to Orlando. He went off for 21 points on 9-12 shooting in a February win over the Magic at Amway Center. It was the pinnacle game in a stretch of four where he finished in double figure scoring while filling in for the injured Tyreke Evans.
Despite that success, Sacramento traded for Marcus Thornton and Taylor’s minutes were scaled back considerably. He finished his Kings tenure averaging 7.1 points in 26 games.
“I’m happy that they traded for me,” said Taylor. “I appreciate the opportunity. I went there hoping to finally get a chance.”
Among places that rank high as a desired destination is the city that saw arguably his best pro game, Orlando. In fact, Taylor has been re-tweeting many comments of friends and Magic fans eager to bring the kid from Tavares back closer to home.
He is not picky about where his next chance is, however. When most players are on the open market, there are normally some specific things they look for in an organization. A fit for Taylor constitutes just the opening for a consistent role.
“I’m just looking to finally get a real opportunity, a chance to show what I can do,” said Taylor. “This being my third year, it’s time for me to play. There have been short periods where I have gotten five, six games in a row and I’ve always done the same thing. Everyone talks about how good I played. That actually motivates me, gives me confidence, that I can play.”
Another factor that keeps him positive is the fact that many people in the league have seen those bright moments of his career and have faith he can be a contributor. One concern that may delay the process in Taylor latching onto another team is the shaky labor situation in the NBA.
With the CBA set to expire, business will be frozen and teams will be forced to hold off on making moves. Many unsigned players are experiencing the same thing in the NFL right now, just waiting and hoping things will return to normal.
“That’s really one of my biggest concerns just because I know a lot of teams aren’t going to things right away,” said Taylor. “They don’t know how long this lockout is going to last. I’m hoping this lockout doesn’t last long and we can all get back to work soon.”
via UCF Knights Insider – 1080 ESPN Orlando.