DeMar DeRozan

DeRozan identifies aspect of joining Kings that excites him

NBC Universal, Inc.

SACRAMENTO – Imagine it’s the fourth quarter of a Kings playoff game next spring at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.

The Kings are down by one point with a few seconds left.

The crowd is on its feet. Cowbells are ringing.

Kings coach Mike Brown calls a timeout and draws up a play for star point guard De’Aaron Fox. The huddle breaks. It's go time.

Fox gets the ball at the top of the key and is helped with a staunch Domantas Sabonis screen but is immediately met with two defenders as the clock nears zero.

He pump fakes and swings the ball to first-year Kings teammate, DeMar DeRozan, with just enough time. The six-time NBA All-Star pulls the trigger. Swish.


That is the new reality, or at least what can be expected, for the Kings in the 2024-25 NBA season and beyond. And if that excites Kings fans – and basketball fans in general – DeRozan is right there with you.

“I'm excited,” DeRozan told NBC Sports California during an exclusive sit-down interview shortly after he was introduced by the Kings on Tuesday. “It just makes me think about the moments in the game where you could just look at a guy and be like, 'All right go get it.' Or vice versa. To be able to have a guy like that that you could look to your side and you know could go out there and win a game, it goes a long way. 

“And feeling like you not in it by yourself, too. So I'm looking forward to a moment like that where he got it going or I got it going and you hear one of us say, 'Man just go. Just go win the game. I'll do everything else.’ ”

DeRozan joined the Kings this week via a sign-and-trade deal with the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs, and he officially met the media and fans on Tuesday.

Sacramento now possesses the NBA ’s top two fourth-quarter scorers in DeRozan and Fox – who led the league in fourth-quarter scoring last season with 550 and 538 points, respectively.

DeRozan finished second in Clutch Player of the Year award voting this past season and third the year before, when his new teammate Fox was crowned the first-ever winner of the new award – something he told reporters Tuesday that he teased Fox about.

“I told him I was mad two years ago that he got that and I didn’t get it,” DeRozan said. “But we’ve definitely been battling. And just being the competitor that I am, I sit and watch a lot of those moments and I think even in Chicago, I remember he had a game-winner on us in Chicago, and I kind of made it a thing.

“This past season when we played here, I think we were losing by like 20 and I made it a thing. In that fourth quarter, I made sure we won just in case we were head to head in that battle again. But to see someone as special as him, I’ve been following him since he was in college. Seeing the amazing things he can do and just being a part of that can be special.”

DeRozan has been a part of storied franchises such as the Spurs and Bulls during his 15-year NBA career.

He hit the open market and drew interest from other high-profile teams such as the Miami Heat and his hometown Los Angeles Lakers.

So why Sacramento?

“Showing the most interest more so than anything,” DeRozan told NBC Sports California. “And just showing how much I was needed. To be able to be a part of something that they were already building – that's special. From that standpoint, that brought a lot of eye-opening things like, ‘All right, how can I help? How can I see myself fitting in?’

“Then once I took a second to look back at it from that perspective, I really felt comfortable about it.”

From a basketball standpoint, DeRozan can’t wait to get to work with his new teammates.

The Kings are two seasons removed from stringing together a historic offense powered by DHOs, constant ball movement and 3-point shooting.

They couldn’t match that same level of action-powering offense last season due to injuries and inconsistencies from some players, but with DeRozan now in the mix, he’s just looking forward to being a part of it all.

“The structure of it all,” DeRozan told NBC Sports California. “One, from coaching, Mike Brown has always been amazing. His passion for coaching goes a long way. And when you look at De'Aaron and Sabonis, the things they've been able to do has been amazing over these last couple of years. 

“I think I was an All-Star with them a couple years ago. You just sit back and watch and wonder how they do it. Now having the thought to participate and help them with that excites me."

Aside from speaking to Fox and Malik Monk, who played a role in his decision to come to Sacramento, DeRozan said he caught up with Kings third-year forward Keegan Murray, who has been in Las Vegas training with the USA Select Team, via FaceTime, and Kings All-Star center Sabonis.

For now, he'll adjust to his new home while getting to know the rest of his teammates.

Growing up 400 miles away down Interstate 5 in Compton, DeRozan is excited to be back in his home state. While Sacramento isn't Los Angeles, he can appreciate the love and passion the Kings fan base has for its favorite team.

"For me, just being a fan of the game, you see how passionate the fans were," DeRozan told NBC Sports California. "That always stuck out more than anything. To me, that's a big part. When you have fan engagement and a core fan base that roots for your team like that, anything positive that you bring will go a long way."

Speaking of fan engagement and passion, DeRozan was like a kid in a candy store while talking about the Kings' victory beam.

He said he can't wait to "press the button" that launches the purple lasers out of Golden 1 Center after every Sacramento victory, and he hopes to do a lot of it during his time as a King.

"I thought it was cool," DeRozan told NBC Sports California. "That's a different type of fan engagement that you bring. Guys go out and play their heart out on the court, and to be able to have the fans still around and wait on the beam [button] to be pushed, and to see the whole city lit up, to me that's amazing.

"You're involving your friends every single night to be able to represent that beam. Any little thing like that, to me, is amazing."

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