De'Aaron Fox

De’Aaron Fox Discusses Agent Change, Love For Sacramento, More

After previously being represented by Chris Gaston and the Family First Sports Firm, Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox decided to change agencies and switch to Klutch Sports earlier this month. That move fueled some speculation about Fox’s future, but he tells Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report that his decision doesn’t mean he has any desire to leave Sacramento.

“When you’re an athlete who has any notoriety and you make a major change, it’s going to circulate and people are going to speculate. But for me, I love being in Sacramento,” Fox said. “This move had nothing to do with wanting to be traded or wanting to move on. This has more to do with myself and the business of basketball, and I feel like they’re able to help me in ways that I’ve never been able to be helped before. It was really a level up.”

Fox went on to explain that he believes Klutch Sports is “one of the best (agencies) in the game” not just for basketball but for “off-the-court business ventures.”

“Whenever you say Klutch, people start to speculate and they start talking about you,” Fox said. “There’s always a contentious effort to place me in rooms my money can’t put me in. Which again, it’s added value and more of a reason to make the switch. They just view things differently than most.”

Here are a few more notable quotes from Fox’s conversations with Haynes:

On playing basketball in Sacramento and why he wants to stick with the Kings:

“I love being here in Sacramento. The fan interactions, it’s kind of like being at Kentucky. No matter how good the other sports are, it’s always going to be about basketball whenever you’re in that city. If you’re able to win here, I feel like it’s just a different feeling. And obviously being able to stay with the team that drafted you, somewhere you’re comfortable as far as life goes.

“Being in this city, in one place for a long time plays a major part in it. If I’m able to help this team go to the playoffs and hopefully win a championship at some point in my career, I feel like nothing would ever top that. Being able to say that you won a championship for the Sacramento Kings, like, that’s unheard of, right? People would say that you’re crazy. And if I was able to do that at any point, that would be the best thing ever in my career.”

On whether he views this season as a breakout year for him:

“I think defensively, I’ve been more consistent. I’ve always been one of the top finishers in the league regardless of position. But I think the main difference is when you’re winning, I think you get looked at differently. So that’s a testament to what (team owner) Vivek (Ranadive) and what (general manager) Monte (McNair) have put around me. I feel like I’ve played well my last three or four seasons. I think winning, that’s pretty much what’s changed.”

On the Kings’ outlook for the rest of the season:

“The way that we started this season, we feel like we could play with anybody. For me, it’s going out there and competing every night. One thing I’ve told everybody this year is to just be steady. You’re going to go through highs and lows of a season, you’re going to go through highs and lows of a game, and if you could just continue to just be steady, we’ll be in a position to be in the playoffs.”

De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton Named Players Of The Week

Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox and Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton have been named the NBA’s players of the week, the league announced today (via Twitter).

Fox, the Western Conference winner, led Sacramento to a 3-0 week while averaging 25.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 8.0 assists on .600/.417/.889 shooting. Through 14 games for the 9-6 Kings, Fox is averaging career highs of 25.4 points and 4.8 rebounds, plus 6.4 assists and 1.1 steals, along with a career-best shooting line of .558/.382/.845.

Fox’s former teammate Haliburton, the winner in the East, led Indiana to a 3-0 week while averaging 21.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 11.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.0 block on .532/.320/.833 shooting. The 22-year-old is having a breakout third season for the 9-6 Pacers, averaging career highs of 20.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, a league-leading 10.5 assists and 1.9 steals on a sparkling .493/.403/.854 shooting line.

According to the NBA (Twitter link), the other nominees in the West were Devin Booker, Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, Anthony Edwards and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, while Bradley Beal, Darius Garland, Myles Turner and Franz Wagner were nominated in the East.

Western Notes: Jokic, Hyland, Porter Jr., Paul, Fox, Lakers

Reigning Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, Mike Singer of the Denver Post reports. The Nuggets center will miss at least Wednesday’s home tilt against the Knicks. Backup point guard Bones Hyland is also in the protocols.

The Nuggets a two-game set at Dallas after the Knicks game. Forward Aaron Gordon is listed as questionable to play on Wednesday due to a non-COVID illness.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Nuggets coach Michael Malone is pleased with the growth Michael Porter Jr. has displayed this season, Singer writes in a separate story. He has shown more discipline on the defensive end and his shot selection has improved offensively. “More important to me, deeper than the numbers, are the fact that offensively, like, I can count on one hand how many shots that he’s taken where you can say, ‘Probably not a great shot,’” Malone said.
  • Chris Paul hasn’t played since an abbreviated stint on Nov. 7 due to a sore right heel. The Suns point guard could be back in action on Wednesday. He’s listed as questionable to play against Golden State, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic tweets.
  • Kings star guard De’Aaron Fox is switching agents and will be represented by Klutch Sports, Damien Barling and James Ham report (Twitter link). Fox was previously with Chris Gaston and Family First Sports Firm.
  • A trio of Lakers rehabbing from injuries — Thomas Bryant, Kendrick Nunn and Dennis Schröder — joined the G League’s South Bay Lakers for a practice and scrimmage Tuesday morning, Mark Medina of NBA.com tweets. The Lakers recalled them after the practice.

Pacific Notes: Fox, Crowder, Booker, Klay, Wiggins

Appearing on The Draymond Green Show, Kings guard De’Aaron Fox recounted his reaction to the news that Sacramento had traded Tyrese Haliburton to Indiana at last season’s deadline, explaining that he viewed the deal as a strong message from his team.

“For me, it’s like yo, they believe in me,” Fox said, per Ajayi Browne of Slam Online. “But two, it’s like motherf—-r, we just traded somebody who could be a franchise point guard either here or somewhere else. So, you better get on your s–t; you better start winning.”

The Kings received plenty of outside criticism for their decision to trade a rising star like Haliburton in his second NBA season, but Fox is determined to prove that the Kings made the right move by handing him the undisputed reins at point guard.

“Does it add pressure? Yeah, a little bit,” Fox said. “But, at the end of the day, I’ve been trying to get us in the playoffs for years, so it’s a little added pressure. It ain’t hurt anybody.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter video link), Suns forward Jae Crowder pushed back against the idea that he demanded a trade because he was told he wouldn’t be a starter. “I do not want to get into the details just yet,” Crowder said, as Haynes relayed during a TNT appearance. “But it’s definitely not true, the narrative being pushed about me not starting or not, I can honestly say that.”
  • Asked about his impressions of Devin Booker so far this season, head coach Monty Williams described the Suns‘ star guard as “probably the most complete player in the league right now” (Twitter link via Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports). Booker has averaged 32.5 PPG on .530/.480/.882 shooting through four games (38.8 MPG).
  • Williams’ comments on Booker came after a Suns victory over the Warriors in which sharpshooter Klay Thompson was ejected for the first time in his NBA career. Kendra Andrews of ESPN has the story on the chippy game between two Pacific rivals, Thompson’s first ejection, and Booker’s account of what Klay was saying to him before he left the floor: “They have four rings, repeated over and over.”
  • In a conversation with Mark Medina of NBA.com, Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins explained that he took a pay cut on his new four-year, $109MM extension with Golden State because he didn’t want to leave a “winning organization” that treats him well. Wiggins’ goal is to eventually join teammates like Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green, and Stephen Curry as “Bay Area legends,” he told Medina: “Hopefully by the time I’m done, people will look at me like that. I just have to keep putting in the work and accomplish what they have accomplished.”

Pacific Notes: Leonard, Fox, M. Williams, Okogie

Kawhi Leonard has a reputation for being sparse with words, but he has been much more vocal at Clippers practices since training camp began, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Coach Tyronn Lue believes it’s because Leonard is excited to be back on the court after missing all of last season with a knee injury.

“Just having a voice and showing these guys, like in the scrimmage the other day at USC [on Thursday], [guys] started out messing around and he pulled the guys in and said, ‘Let’s play for real and let’s tighten it up,’ and guys started playing more serious,” Lue said. “I don’t think he would have done that two or three years ago. I think with him and PG [Paul George] just having the biggest voices on the team and knowing that this is their team, he’s definitely taken huge steps in that regard.”

The Clippers don’t want to be overly cautious with Leonard as they prepare him for the regular season. He played 16 minutes in Monday’s game, and Lue plans to use him again Sunday night against the Timberwolves.

“I know he wants to get a lot of reps in because he hasn’t played in 15 months,” Lue said. “So, he wants to get a lot of reps in, play as much as he can. So that’s why every day in practice, we’ve been scrimmaging a lot, just playing. Just trying to let him get his rhythm.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • In an interview with Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee, De’Aaron Fox expressed confidence that the Kings have made the necessary changes to break their long playoff drought. After adding Domantas Sabonis at last season’s trade deadline, Sacramento brought in Mike Brown as head coach, signed Malik Monk and traded for Kevin Huerter over the offseason. “We’re going to be a team that can score the ball,” Fox said. “I don’t think that will be a problem. Even if we’re not shooting well, we have guys that can touch the paint, get open shots, get offensive rebounds. We have guys who are athletic enough to do those things, but at the end of the day we have to be able to stop people. I think we have the personnel that can do it, and we also have a coach who’s going to demand it, so I think that’s great for us.”
  • Suns coach Monty Williams underwent lens replacement surgery after it was strongly suggested by Chris Paul‘s mother, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic“I was talking to my brother the other day, he was watching the game and said it was actually weird to see Monty not squinting,” Paul said. “It is crazy to see him not squinting, but we’ve been talking to him about that for years.”
  • Suns guard Josh Okogie is dealing with a strained left hamstring, but he hasn’t given up hope of playing before the preseason ends, Rankin tweets.

Western Notes: Davis, Johnson, Murray, Paschall, Kings

The Lakers enter the season without the pressure of being one of the favorites to win the championship. Anthony Davis relishes being in that position, he told Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“We’re treating this season like we have a chip on our shoulder. We’re the underdogs,” Davis said. “Obviously, the world is looking to see what we do. But … they’re not talking about us, and that’s fine. You know, we’d rather be under the radar.”

We have more from the Western Division:

  • Keldon Johnson suffered a separated shoulder this month but Spurs coach Gregg Popovich expects him to return by opening night, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News tweets. Pop anticipates Johnson will return “four or five days” before the opener, adding “I think he will be fine.”
  • Jamal Murray has his “swagger” back, according to Nuggets coach Michael Malone, Mike Singer of the Denver Post writes. Murray spent last season rehabbing from a knee injury. “He looks really good,” Malone said. “The thing I look for, obviously, is how confident is he? He’s out there playing. I don’t see him thinking about anything. He’s just playing the game.”
  • Eric Paschall pondered retirement this summer before signing a two-way contract with the Timberwolves, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic tweets. Donovan Mitchell, his former teammate in Utah, gave him steady encouragement through the process.
  • New Kings coach Mike Brown wants to play with pace and he believes there’s enough shooting around their dynamic point man to aid that cause, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes. “We want to play fast and give (De’Aaron Fox) an opportunity to get downhill,” Brown said. “If we’re asking Fox to get downhill, he needs space to do it. In order to create space around him, you need shooters. When you’re talking about Kevin Huerter, Malik Monk, Keegan Murray, Harrison Barnes, Terence Davis, Trey Lyles, you’re talking about some high-level shooters.”

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Collison, Monk, Leonard, Wall

The Lakers‘ five additions in free agency were targeted for speed, defense and shooting, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. New head coach Darvin Ham is determined to bring a fresh approach to a team that finished in the bottom third of the league in both offensive and defensive rating last season. All five players who were introduced at today’s press conference talked about how they will blend into that system.

“I think I can fit on any team,” said former Warrior Juan Toscano-Anderson. “I think I can guard one through five. I’ll do whatever it takes to win, and when I say whatever, I mean it. I’ll dive over scorer’s tables. I’ll rebound. I’ll do whatever it takes.”

Along with a renewed emphasis on defense, L.A. hopes its free agency moves will provide increased spacing for its star players. Ex-Spur Lonnie Walker is coming off a season where he connected at just 31.4% from three-point range, but he vows to be better.

“Last year, you can look at the percentages, but I kid you not: Leave me open, we’re going to see what’s happening,” Walker said. “I’m honing into what I got to get better on, and I’m not just strengthening my weakness but I’m strengthening my strengths as well. So, I’m ready to show everyone what I’m about.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Free agent point guard Darren Collison worked out for the Lakers again today, tweets Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Collison, who was at a mini-camp with the team last month, is interested in returning to the NBA at age 34.
  • Malik Monk‘s long friendship with De’Aaron Fox played an important role in his decision to sign with the Kings, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Monk and Fox have been friends since high school and they were backcourt partners at Kentucky. “They speak all the time,” a source told Anderson. “They’re still in their college group chat, so they speak every day. Those guys are real brothers, so I’m excited for them both.”
  • Clippers star Kawhi Leonard hasn’t been cleared to play 5-on-5, but he continues to make progress in his return from an ACL injury, ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk said on “NBA Today” (video link). Newly signed John Wall will compete with Reggie Jackson for the starting point guard spot, Youngmisuk adds.

Western Notes: Clippers Roster, DiVincenzo, Nuggets, Monk

After landing John Wall, the Clippers have one opening on their 15-man roster. There’s no rush to fill it, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times writes. While they could use a backup center, the team is more interested in staying flexible rather than quickly adding a player. The team is already looking at a $143MM tax bill for next season and another signing would add to that.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Donte DiVincenzo was believed to have offers for the full taxpayer mid-level exception of $6.479MM. However, he chose the Warriors’ offer of two years and $9.3MM with a player option. The option was key to his decision to take a $4.5MM salary next season, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. He has a chance to join a championship team and pump up his value. If he does that, he can re-enter the free-agency market. If he doesn’t, he’s protected with a second-year player option worth $4.8MM.
  • Nuggets GM Calvin Booth is carrying out his stated agenda of improving the team’s defense, Mike Singer of the Denver Post notes. By trading for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, agreeing to sign free agent Bruce Brown, re-signing Davon Reed and drafting Christian Braun and Peyton Watson, Booth targeted players who could switch on defense, disrupt passing lanes, play bigger than their height and stay on the floor in the postseason.
  • Malik Monk has been friends with De’Aaron Fox since high school. That played a role in his decision to ditch the Lakers and agree to a two-year, $19MM contract with the Kings, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee reports.

Kings Notes: Roster Needs, Coaching Search, Fox, Sabonis

Adding more shooters and players with length will be a primary goal for the Kings this offseason, general manager Monte McNair said this week during his end-of-season press conference, as Taylor Wirth of NBC Sports Bay Area relays.

“I think shooting, we can clearly acknowledge, will be a huge priority,” McNair said. “It’s a priority for every team, but certainly around (De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis). Shooting will be a big one. Length, athleticism, versatility, we’ve talked about all that as well. Obviously, you want the whole package, but shooting will be a big priority for us.”

In his own exit interview, Fox was in lockstep with McNair when he discussed the Kings’ biggest needs and the areas the team should be focused on this summer.

“I think most winning teams are built the same,” Fox said. “You got your two, three, maybe four guys and everything else is kind of length and shooting. Just being built like that, I feel like we have a pretty good foundation where we’re at, but obviously you can never have too much length and too much shooting in the NBA. That’s at a premium.”

Here’s more out of Sacramento:

  • The Kings aren’t zeroing in on one specific kind of coach as they seek a replacement for Alvin Gentry. Speaking to reporters, including Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee – McNair said the team will consider candidates with “different backgrounds,” adding that there’s no set deadline to finalize a hire. “I think, really, what we’re going to do, like every decision we make, we’re going to run a comprehensive and very process-driven coaching search, and we’re going to let that run its course,” McNair said. “We’re going to take as long as we need to find the correct person to lead this organization, the team on the floor, and I’m excited to see the people we talk to and their vision for the team as well.”
  • The Kings set a new NBA record when they missed the playoffs for a 16th straight season this spring, but McNair said the front office won’t let that postseason drought “cloud our judgment” on roster decisions, Wirth writes for NBC Sports Bay Area. “We want to get back there as soon as we can, but we need to do it in a way that we stay there, we continue to grow, this is not a one-year blip that we completely mortgage the future for,” McNair said.
  • Limited down the stretch by injuries, Fox and Sabonis only played together in 13 games after the Kings acquired Sabonis from Indiana at the trade deadline, but they’re looking forward to building more chemistry heading into next season, writes Jonathan Bradley of Kings.com. “I love playing with him. Those (13) games were great,” Sabonis said. “We didn’t get as much as we wanted to play together but we’re going to have a long offseason, see if we can get together and get some workouts in, have training camp. I’m just excited for next year.”

Injury Notes: Allen, Mobley, McDaniels, Powell, Fox, Sabonis

Discussions about Jarrett Allen‘s potential return for the Cavaliers have gravitated toward “if” rather than “when,” according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. The team has said Allen is making progress in his recovery from a broken finger and hasn’t ruled out the possibility of him returning before the regular season ends on Sunday, but his finger was still in a splint this weekend, says Vardon.

Even if Allen is able to play soon, it’s “highly unlikely” that he’ll be 100% effective, says Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link). In Fedor’s view, Evan Mobley – who has missed four games with a sprained ankle and wasn’t walking with a limp after Sunday’s game – is a better bet to be fully effective, or at least close to it, when he returns.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels, who has been out since March 14 due to a high left ankle sprain, “looks really good” in his scrimmages, head coach Chris Finch said on Sunday (link via Chris Hine of The Star Tribune). The Wolves will formally reevaluate McDaniels on Monday. Finch expects him to be on a minutes limit when he returns, per Hine.
  • Clippers forwards Paul George and Marcus Morris hinted after Sunday’s game that Norman Powell could be close to returning from his left foot injury, according to Mirjam Swanson of The Southern California News Group, who notes that the injured swingman took part in an on-court pregame workout. “It’ll be great for Norm if he could get back out there in the next game or two, just to get a good feel back,” Morris said.
  • With the Kings officially eliminated from playoff contention, head coach Alvin Gentry acknowledged that shutting down De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis will likely be “something we’ll talk about” (Twitter link via Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee). Fox has missed Sacramento’s last eight games due to a hand injury, while Sabonis has been out for six games due to a knee issue.