Jermaine Taylor traded to Sacramento Kings

Former UCF Knights Basketball star Jermaine Taylor will have a new fresh start to his NBA Career as Taylor as first reported by ESPN’s Marc Stein on Tuesday Night was traded from Houston Rockets along with cash considerations to the Sacramento Kings for a future 2ndround pick. Taylor was traded after the Rockets made a 3-way trade with the New Jersey Nets and Los Angeles Lakers as Rockets acquired small forward Terrence Williams in the trade. That move made Taylor expendable as the Rockets needed to make a move to clear roster space. The odd twist of the trade was the Rockets hosted the Kings on Tuesday Night and Taylor did not know about the  trade until he got to the Rockets lockeroom right before the game.

“I’m OK with it, Taylor told the Houston Chronicle. “ The Only thing that’s bugging me is no one told me anything yet. I had to hear it like this. I look at as an opportunity to start over and go someplace else and play.”

The Rockets could have completed the trade with Kings before Tuesday Night game against Kings but because one of players in 3-way trade Joe Smith who going to Lakers was not eligible to be traded until Wednesday, thus the trade for Williams could not be finalized until Wednesday and as a result the Rockets did not want to trade Taylor until the Williams trade was complete.

Taylor departure from Houston was fitting of his stay in Houston as  Taylor had been frustrated with his role in Houston for a while with lack of playing time as in his 2ndseason in the NBA Taylor had been  averaging 4.9 points on 50 percent shooting from the field  but only getting 9 minutes per game and had only played in just 8  of the Rockets first 24 games  this season. The Rockets have had him on the trading block since the start of the season as Taylor was never really a favorite of Rockets Head Coach Rick Adelman who preferred playing veteran players like Shane Battier, Courtney Lee and Jared Jeffries who were ahead of Taylor on roster for playing time.Taylor chances of being big part of Rockets future took hits when Rockets last season traded for Kevin Martin from ironically the Kings as well as Jeffries as  part of  a 3-way trade where Rockets traded Tracy McGrady to the Knicks. Rockets acquired Lee this summer from the Nets as part of a  4-way trade where the Rockets traded Trevor Ariza to the Hornets.

Now Taylor will be playing with a familiar face from his college days as Taylor will play with Tyreke Evans who Taylor competed against in Conference USA.  Taylor beat out Evans for C-USA Player of the Year in the 2008-2009 College Basketball season as Taylor averaged 26.2 points per game in his senior season at UCF to edge out the then freshman Evans who played at Memphis for the honor. Taylor and Evans faced off once in college as Memphis came down to Orlando to open conference play  on January 10th, 2009 at the UCF Arena in front of a school-record 9,825 fans as Taylor   scored game high 24 points while Evans had 15 points, 6 Rebounds, and 5 Asst as the Tigers won the game 73-66.

Evans and  Taylor were both in the 2009 NBA Draft as Evans was  drafted 4thoverall by the Kings while Taylor was drafted in the 2ndround of the 2009 NBA Draft going 32nd by the Washington Wizards and was soon traded the same night to the Houston Rockets. Evans had a huge first year   averaging 20 points per game along with 5 rebounds and 5 assts per game becoming the 4thNBA player ever to accomplish that feat in his rookie year joining Oscar Robertson (1960), Michael Jordan (1984), and LeBron James (2003). Taylor did not get the opportunities that Evans did to show his talents as Taylor only played in 31 games his rookie season with a veteran Rockets team  averaging just nine minutes per game scoring 4 points per game shooting 37 percent from the field. Taylor also got to play for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA Development League who the Rockets assigned Taylor to so he can get playing time.

Despite the frustrations Taylor has gone through so far. It  has not shaken his confidence as Taylor feels he can play in the NBA at a high level.

“I know what kind of player I am and I know if I get a chance, I’ll be a great player. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”

News and Notes

  • Jermaine Taylor trip to Orlando if he stays with Kings is scheduled for Wednesday February 23, 2011 at the New Amway Center.
  • In His rookie season Taylor made two trips back to Orlando to play the Magic. Once in Preseason On October 10, 2009 and once in regular season on December 23, 2009. I covered those two games for check out coverage below of Taylor’s rookie season and his two returns to Orlando for which includes interviews with Jermaine Taylor and Rockets players.
  •      Oct 10, 2009
  •   Dec 23,2009
  • Taylor will be teammates in Sacramento with another fellow former C-USA Player Hassan Whiteside who played one season with Marshall last season for Donnie Jones who left Marshall after last season to come replace Taylor’s College Coach Kirk Speraw at UCF. Whiteside has spent most of the season playing for the Reno Bighorns of NBDL on assigment from Kings and just finished ironically  playing Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
  •  Current UCF Knights Basketball team is off to best start in program history since moving to Division 1 in 1984. With an 8-0 start the Knights garnered 62 votes in AP poll and 12 votes in ESPN/USA Today Poll is hosting Louisiana Lafayette (1-7) on Wednesday Night and then head to Sunrise, Florida to play  the Miami Hurricanes (7-2) in the Orange Bowl Classic on Saturday. Winning both games could land the Knights in the top 25 for first time in program history in Division 1 and with a win over the Canes would give them something that the football program has never been able to do. Beat USF, Florida, and Miami and make a legitimate argument for being the best team in the sunshine state. Florida State who would be only major program in the state UCF has not beaten lost at home to Florida earlier in season.
  • Who will Taylor compete with for minutes in Sacramento? Taylor should be able to get minutes either at  guard  or more likely at Small Forward position where Kings are weak. At the Guard position  Beno Udrich who usually starts alongside Tyreke Evans in backcourt  are the top 2 leading scorers on the team.  Luther Head , Francisco Garcia and Pooh Jeter come off the bench in the back court. At Small Forward  Taylor will compete with Donte Greene  and Omri Casspi who the Kings took ahead of Taylor with  23rd pick in 2009 Draft.
  • For more details on Taylor trade and 3-way Trade involving Rockets, Nets, and Lakers that triggered Taylor trade  here coverage from Houston Chronicle