Corey Brewer talks signing with Kings, restarting NBA season
When the NBA season resumes in Orlando on July 30, Gator great Corey Brewer will be starting his 13th year in the league.
Brewer, 34, last played for Sacramento during the second half of the 2018-19 season. Prior to the COVID-19 shutdown in March, the former Florida small forward and two-time national champion had been a free agent all season.
That ended last week when he signed with the Kings, choosing to rejoin his former squad over offers from other teams.
“I’ve been working out ever since the season began and before everything happened with the pandemic,” Brewer said Monday on ESPN Gainesville’s Sports Scene with Steve Russell. “I was just staying ready and I got a call. It’s always good to get a call.”
That call came from Vlade Divac, vice president of basketball operations and general manager for the Kings. They formed a relationship during Brewer’s first stint in Sacramento, where he averaged 4.1 points and 2.5 rebounds in 24 games after starting the season with the Philadelphia 76ers.
“I was here last year, so I have a good relationship with these guys,” Brewer said of Divac and the Kings staff. “It’s a good situation. It’s a team on the rise.”
The NBA veteran was the No. 7 overall draft pick in 2007 and has played for eight different teams, winning a title with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. Brewer brings his experience and leadership back to Sacramento once again.
“It’s a bunch of young guys who are really talented,” Brewer said of his teammates. “So for me to come over here and just try to bring what I can bring. My energy, and being in the league for 13 years now. All the little things I’ve learned, just try to help these guys move to the next level.
“I wouldn’t say they look up to me, but I feel like they listen a little bit just because they know how hard it is to stay in this league. A lot of guys come and go. It’s only so many jobs, so for me to have the job for so long I feel like guys understand I know a little bit.”
The unknown is how the NBA restart will play out in Orlando. Some players have already decided not to suit up due to COVID-19 concerns, while others could be sidelined with the virus during the season.
“There’s always concern any time you’re dealing with all the issues we’re dealing with right now in the world. But I feel like the NBA did a great job and we’re going to be safe as we can be,” Brewer said. “For me, it’s an opportunity to play basketball. I’ve talked to all the experts, everybody in the NBA. They feel like it’s going to be safe, so it’s good. Basketball is back. Let’s go play.
“It’s a little odd. But I think once we all get there and start playing, you get your schedule and you know what’s going on, I feel like the adjustment will be a little bit easier. It’s just going to be hard being away from my family, for me. I have small kids, so that’s going to be the hardest thing.”
Brewer is currently in Sacramento and will report to Orlando on July 8. Once the season tips off, he feels like anything can happen.
“I think it’s all up in the air,” Brewer said. “It’s still until July 1 for guys to opt out. Then you’ll see who’s going to play, who’s not going to play. And, guys haven’t played basketball in a long time.
“So you don’t know who’s going to have to go out there and shake the rust off, and which guys have been in really good shape and are going to play out of their minds. So it’s going to be whoever is playing the best, whoever’s hot at the right time.”