A flurry of trades and free agent signings have made for a busy summer of roster turnover in the NBA, and Portland graduate Corey Brewer is feeling the trickle-down effect.
The 12-year NBA veteran is an unrestricted free agent after splitting time with the Philadelphia 76ers and Sacramento Kings last season. While waiting to find out his next destination, Brewer returned to Portland High School to host his 12th annual basketball camp for roughly 200 kids Saturday.
“I’m always excited to come home,” he said. “I see all the kids grow up, and all my friends have kids now and they come to camp. Being back in Portland is always a good feeling.”
Brewer has been in talks with ‘a few’ teams so far this summer. Returning to Sacramento seems unlikely after the signings of Harrison Barnes, Trevor Ariza, Cory Joseph and Kyle Guy, but Brewer is no stranger to moving. The swingman has played for eight different teams since being selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2007 draft.
“The NBA has been crazy,” he said. “It’s just one of those things where you’ve got to wait and see. There’s so much movement going on. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I can get a job.”
Brewer’s 2018-19 campaign was different from his first 11 seasons. Instead of having a guaranteed contract, he had to prove himself on multiple 10-day contracts before earning a deal for the final two months of the season with the Kings. He played in 31 total games and averaged 4.9 points.
“Being from a small town, I know what hard work is,” he said. “It was tough last year but going through that was great for me. It made me stronger, and it helped me grow as a basketball player.”
While playing for Philadelphia in January, Brewer made national headlines for an incident with former Houston Rockets teammate James Harden. Brewer managed to visibly annoy the 2018 NBA Most Valuable Player with tight defense in a 121-93 win over the Rockets.
“We’ve been going at it for a while,” Brewer said. “Even when I used to play (in Houston), we were going at it. I know how to get under his skin a little bit, I guess you could say. Everyone thought it was a big deal, but we were just having fun playing basketball.”
Brewer said he loves working with kids and sees himself coaching once his playing career is over. But first, he wants to stay in the NBA for a few more seasons.
“I train every day and wait for the call,” he said. “You never know when it may happen. Hopefully it happens this summer, but if not, I’m going to have to wait until January (when teams can begin signing players to 10-day contracts). I’m always up for the challenge.”
Brewer and his wife, Monique Mongalo, and his two sons, Kellen and Sebastian, live in Houston. But he likes to visit Portland to see his mother and to encourage local kids to dream big.
“I’m in and out all the time,” Brewer said. “I love to come home. My mom still lives here.
“Growing up in Portland, nobody ever thought I would make it to the NBA, and now I’ve been playing for so long. I try to tell all the kids, ‘If you have a big dream, go for it.’”