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Clutch rivals Fox and DeRozan are going to be fun together

How a March 2023 game sparked a friendly rivalry between the now teammates.
By | 60 Comments | Jul 10, 2024

Mar 14, 2022; Sacramento, California, USA; Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan (11) dribbles the ball around Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox (5) during the third quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

With 13.3 seconds left on the clock and down by four, DeMar DeRozan receives the ball at the top of the three-point line. His defender, Harrison Barnes, is screened just enough to allow him some daylight to launch a three. Barnes is called for a foul, the shot drops. DeRozan gets a four-point play attempt and nails the free throw.

Tie game.

Now, with 8 seconds left, De’Aaron Fox dribbles the ball up the floor. His teammates spread out and clear the lane. He doesn’t need it. He crosses the half court line, takes two dribbles to his left and raises up for a three with a defender in his face and a second defender collapsing on the shot. It splashes down and the Kings go up 3 with .7 seconds left and win the game.

This occurred in Chicago in March 2023. Watch the full sequence below.

Fox would go on to win the Clutch Player Of The Year award that season. DeRozan would go on to remember that moment and Fox winning the award over him.

“I told him I was mad two years ago that he got it [the award], and I didn’t get it,” he said Tuesday at his introductory press conference as a new member of the Sacramento Kings. “But yeah, we’ve definitely been battling. Just with that there, me being a competitor that I am, I sit and watch a lot of those moments. I think even in Chicago, I remember he had a game winner on us in Chicago. I made it a thing. This past season when we played here, I think we were losing by 20. I made it a thing in the fourth quarter to make sure we won just in case we were head to head in that battle again.”

The Kings now have the benefit of having two guys that are considered among the top clutch options in the NBA. DeRozan was the runner up for this year’s Clutch Player Of The Year award.

In the waning minutes of close games, Fox utilizes his ability to slash to the basket with exceptional speed mixed with a stop, start button that should only be available in video games. Combine that with an impressive mid-range game and a vastly improved three-point shot, and his options with the floor spread are expansive.

DeRozan doesn’t have the speed of Fox, but he makes up for it in his size, strength and craftiness in the mid-range. He can create his own shot in crunch time despite not being as fast, even by taking defenders off the dribble because they are so concerned about his jumper.

Fox has his own mid-range skillset as well.

That double-overtime score is still wild.

Having both of them in the final moments of a game will keep defenses guessing about what the Kings are going to do, especially with guys like Malik Monk, Keegan Murray and Keon Ellis available on the outside, who are good three-point shooters. There a variety of combinations of options in terms of switching between drives, jumpers, finding open teammates for three, coming off the pick-and-roll with Domantas Sabonis, etc. And with the amount of offensive talent among the closers that will be on the floor, it is going to be very tough to stop.

Considering both Fox and DeRozan can take a shot in crunch time by isolating and attacking the defense, Mike Brown will probably decide which one to use for clutch shots based on how the game is going (the current game flow and who has had the hot hand). If Fox has been destroying the defense and finishing at the rim all game, Brown would probably go to him. If Deebo has been nailing his mid-range all game, he might go to him in isolation. Or, if the defense has been collapsing on Fox’s drives the whole game, then relying on DeRozan’s mid-range might be more effective.

Then again, either of these guys could probably hit the clutch shot regardless of who has had the better game.

There are situational decisions to be considered though. If the team needs a three, for example, Brown might use Fox to penetrate and find an open teammate for three (or let him take it since he is a better three-point shooter than DeRozan.) If they just need a two, he might let DeRozan go and get it. There also are various options in the high pick and roll where Fox might be able to go into that action and find DeRozan for a quick iso. Again, the defense is going to have a hard time predicting this offense.

Deebo is certainly excited about the potential.

“To see someone as special as him [Fox], I’ve been following him since he was in college. See the amazing things he’s able to do. Just being a part of that could be special,” DeRozan said.

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Hobby916
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July 10, 2024 3:18 pm

Let’s keep the thread civil today, shall we?

Jman1949
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July 10, 2024 3:48 pm
Reply to  Hobby916

comment image&ct=g

RobHessing
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July 10, 2024 4:17 pm
Reply to  Hobby916

Mitch please!
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andy_sims
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July 10, 2024 4:23 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

The image shows his response to learning that his constituents would need to keep drinking water contaminated with runoff from coal mining.

BuiltToSpill
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July 11, 2024 8:48 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Haha, that’s actually believable. He’s a heartless Mitch.

RockRichmond2
July 11, 2024 8:16 am
Reply to  Hobby916

Kind of on this note, is there a way to mute commenters if you don’t want to see their comments?

BuiltToSpill
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July 11, 2024 8:51 am
Reply to  RockRichmond2

Unfortunately, no. That would definitely help to eliminate some of the useless noise. It has been better now that a certain commenter changed his profile and pretends they’re a newbie now. I will say they have played a little nicer with everyone since their transmogrification, at least.

andy_sims
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July 11, 2024 8:56 am
Reply to  BuiltToSpill

Same passive/aggressive martyr role, with compulsive Ellis hate.

See: Aesop – frozen snake, et al.

Daydreamer
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July 11, 2024 9:37 am
Reply to  andy_sims

A different take from my thought that it was a compulsion to troll. If you’re right, it’s completely sincere.

BuiltToSpill
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July 11, 2024 2:43 pm
Reply to  Daydreamer

I think it’s sincere, actually. There’s a compulsion to take a contrarian POV along with taking it personally when someone disagrees with their viewpoints (spoiler: it’s not personal). The “cool kids” / victim complex and need to respond to every perceived slight is downright pathetic, imo.

Last edited 10 days ago by BuiltToSpill
Daydreamer
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July 11, 2024 8:56 am
Reply to  BuiltToSpill

However, ABB/SKC still has a virtually uncontrollable compulsion to troll. I believe there is a Kings’ fan there, just needs to mute the troll-compulsion.

Ellis5
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July 10, 2024 3:24 pm

Transmission Bros!

RobHessing
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July 10, 2024 4:19 pm
Reply to  Ellis5

Clutch Bros.

Kosta
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July 11, 2024 9:18 am
Reply to  RobHessing

…Corti Bros.?

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RobHessing
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July 11, 2024 9:24 am
Reply to  Kosta

Courty Bros.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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July 11, 2024 11:03 am
Reply to  RobHessing

De’Aaron and DeMar – D&D
Delta Force
Starsky and Clutch
Enders
D Time
Clutch Company

andy_sims
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July 11, 2024 12:14 pm

De’Rozan Fox

BuiltToSpill
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July 11, 2024 1:22 pm

DeMarsky and Clutch

macdoogs
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July 11, 2024 4:13 pm
Reply to  BuiltToSpill

I normally just creep around and read articles and comments but I logged on just to give this a 👍

andy_sims
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July 10, 2024 3:43 pm

Fox & DeRozan should both play in Vegas so that we can get a little taste.

Kosta
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July 11, 2024 9:26 am
Reply to  andy_sims

a perfect pair in Vegas

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RikSmits
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July 11, 2024 9:30 am
Reply to  Kosta

That’s aces!

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Kosta
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July 11, 2024 9:36 am
Reply to  RikSmits

WILD!
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Last edited 10 days ago by Kosta
UpgradedToQuestionable
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July 11, 2024 12:53 pm
Reply to  Kosta

That greybeard staring at the heart and has the crown up top with the blade in his head looks like they must be a long time Kings fan.

Kosta
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July 11, 2024 9:45 am
Reply to  RikSmits

If Doncic shows up, bet the flop.

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Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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July 10, 2024 4:08 pm

I’m 100% in on this just as long as Fox and DeRozan rely on their clutch midrange skills. I’m not going to like it if Brown’s plan is to kick it out for spray threes and those two take the lion’s share of attempts.

Play to your strengths and let those two cook in the midrange.

ScrumhalfVinny
July 10, 2024 4:33 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Fox shot 39% on catch and shoot threes last season on 3.1 attempts per game. His bigger issue was the amount of 3s he shot off the dribble (35.6% on 4.6 attempts per game).

So, if he spaces the floor when DeRozan and Domas are running the pick and roll, or when DeRozan is working to the midrange, it could lead to a lot of good looks from three in a catch and shoot situation which was actually a strength for him. It also could lead to a fair amount of catch and drive opportunities for him to take advantage of.

It’s one of the reasons I am not too worried about spacing with DeRozan and Sabonis on the floor together. The other three players around them should all be good three point shooters, especially in catch and shoot situations.

That said, I 100% agree that spraying threes can’t be the only plan. They need more options to engineer good looks, especially in the half court. Hopefully having a really good pick and roll initiator in DeRozan will help a lot with that.

NowLoveThemOnceAgain
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July 10, 2024 6:09 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

What’s your assessment of DeMar for catch and shoot? He seems to always score off his own action, often times in isolation.

ScrumhalfVinny
July 11, 2024 10:45 am

For my money, DeRozan isn’t much of a 3pt shooter in general. His catch and shoot numbers are below average (34.5% on 2.2 attempts per game) and his pull-up numbers are flat out bad albeit on a pretty small sample size (29.8% on .6 attempts per game).

I think DeRozan will definitely be best utilized in isolation and the pick and roll. In the pick and roll in particular, him and Domas should be an absolutely lethal combo. DeRozan is so good in the midrange and at getting to the basket and the line, while Domas is a fantastic screen and roller. That combo should give teams nightmares. And, as soon as they collapse, DeRozan is a willing passer that will kick it out to one of the kings many good three point shooters.

It’s a bit trickier when running the offense through Fox given DeRozan’s lack of three point shooting, but I still think they can make it work.

DNP-CD
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July 10, 2024 4:30 pm

I just hope there is enough ball to go around.

Hobby916
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July 10, 2024 4:41 pm
Reply to  DNP-CD

I think the guys want to win and put winning above individual stats/accolades.

RobHessing
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July 10, 2024 5:22 pm
Reply to  Hobby916

Heck, if they were that stat-focused, Sabonis would be the first to give up shots so that he could average a triple double for the season. But to your point, I don’t see how this is going to be a problem. These guys know that the ultimate accolades come with winning.

MidtownMike
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July 10, 2024 5:59 pm
Reply to  DNP-CD

Exactly why keon should still start. Maximize keon and monk by letting each do what they do best.

NowLoveThemOnceAgain
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July 10, 2024 6:11 pm

Fewer 3’s, more higher percentage field goals, better offensive rebounding (easier when not shooting as many 3’s), and some DEFENSE and this team can seriously get deep into the playoffs.

RikSmits
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July 10, 2024 9:08 pm

I always thought that 3’s lead to longer rebounds and better chances at offensive rebounds, no?

MidtownMike
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July 10, 2024 11:51 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

You are correct but it also can lead to more fast breaks when the long rebound goes in the defense favor.

TheGrantNapear
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July 10, 2024 6:23 pm

After listening to a few, presumably unbiased pods (Lowe, The Ringer) on the trade, it seems as though most give the Kings a C to an F on this deal.
The main reason being that unprotected pick swap in 2031. Fox and Ox, if still on the Kings will be old, whilst Wemby is likely a top 2 player and the Spurs are one of the best teams in the league.
I know this is seven years away, and anything can happen, but not putting protections on that pick swap seems really shortsighted by MM. Might be a Vlade/Sixers trade 2.0.

Peplowski
July 10, 2024 8:10 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

Derozan coming to the kings on a reasonable deal for a single pick swap 7 years from now is a pretty big difference from multiple swaps and an unprotected pick for Kosta, Bellinelli, and a semi washed/gun for hire Rondo. That being said, without that Vlade trade, we are still in the Lonzo Ball or Jackson era…

murraytant
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July 10, 2024 9:20 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

It was time to do something. Running it back did not work.
there is a cost to doing something.
and I hope that Monte is not done yet since the roster is still imbalanced not enough size

RobHessing
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July 10, 2024 9:57 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

And if we look at a likely bad scenario, the swap is a 7-8 pick for a 27-28 pick in exchange for moving a 125-150 player for a top 50-60 player.

i think the “unbiased” have a way overinflated valuation of an unknown pick swap that takes place seven years from now. The Kings are attempting to compete in the here and now and added DDR without parting with any here and now assets.

RobHessing
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July 10, 2024 10:06 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

And 1 – I think that these “unbiased” takes lean heavily into Kangz history, which really should not be used as a predictor. 2/3 of the NBA teams make at least the play-in every year. That means that the pick has roughly a 66% chance of being 10 or later, and a34% chance of being 1-9, with no more than a 14% chance of being #1 (only if you are a bottom 4 team). So if we take the emotion & bias out of it, what we’re left with is a one in three chance that the Kings will get swapped out of a top 10 pick…unless we subject the Spurs to the same math and consider that there is a non-zero chance that the Spurs will be worse than the Kings in ‘31 (Wemby bolts, gets hurt, Devin Carter becomes the new Ant, etc.).

Jman1949
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July 11, 2024 5:35 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Then factor in the likelihood that Pop will have retired by then and the slim odds that whoever replaces him will be as good a coach.

Daydreamer
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July 11, 2024 6:26 am
Reply to  Jman1949

And we should add that in seven years Fox and Sabonis will be roughly as old as DeRozan is now. Washed up? Not necessarily, not at all!

Last edited 10 days ago by Daydreamer
Greg
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July 11, 2024 7:42 am
Reply to  RobHessing

This is where I’m at with the pick swap too. Yes, the risk exists that it could blow up in our faces, that’s why it’s an asset the Spurs want. There’s also a chance it doesn’t blow up in our faces, and that’s why it’s an asset the Kings are willing to give.

I also find it funny that some folks are mad we have a pick owed to Atlanta that is tied up with protections and limits our future trade flexibility until it conveys, while others are upset we didn’t put protections on this asset.

RobHessing
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July 11, 2024 8:11 am
Reply to  Greg

Yep,

Fun with numbers – If you want to attempt to use history to chart this out (which as I mentioned, if kind of silly), the Kings average draft slot during their time in Sacramento is 11. This number is based on their authentic draft slot for each year, so it does not take into account when they traded down from 7 to 10 or 8 to 13 or traded completely out of the pick on draft nights. Using the same factors for the Spurs, they come in at 19. So if you want to go down the hand-wringing path of history, the Kings traded down 9 spots seven years from now to flip Barnes for DeRozan. It’s an A deal without factoring in the pick swap, so if you want to ding the Kings for swap, the appropriate devaluation would be more like an A- or B+. But that’s not a clickbait grade, so…

This is not to take away what a nice deal this is for the Spurs. Barnes will work as a near-fair value contract up front with Wemby, Collins and Sochan, enabling guys like Vassell and Johnson and others to man the wings while Paul mentors Castle at the point. And Barnes will be perfect contract filler as an expiring in one year should the Spurs determine to make a splash move. And the pick swap is very nice for them, but it is really a lottery scratcher to win more lottery scratchers. All told, it is a great deal that costs them nothing more than money they were going to need to spend to get to the salary floor. Honestly, I’m relieved that they didn’t take a run at DeRozan.

The Bulls aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer, but they could have elected to not extend Robert Williams and take on Barnes and the pick swap instead. They did not, and they really have done an abysmal job of asset management between DeRozan and LaVine. They are the team in this transaction that ultimately got crushed.

Last edited 10 days ago by RobHessing
Greg
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July 11, 2024 9:48 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Yeah the losers of the trade are absolutely the Bulls. Too cheap to take on salary, so they don’t get the pick swap. Great move by the Spurs to get the pick swap as incentive to take on the second best player in the deal who doesn’t even have an awful contract.

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July 11, 2024 1:05 pm
Reply to  Greg

I have to admit I am anxiously curious as to how they are going to go forward with Zach Lavine and his $138M/3 years. They don’t want to add salary, yet how can they offload his Bradley Beal level contract otherwise?

(reminder: June 24, 2023: The Wizards, Suns and Indiana Pacers all officially announced the move on June 24. In the deal the Suns pick up Beal for Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, four future first-round pick swaps and six future second-round picks.) Note: I hope none of those 4 pick swaps was for 2031 because that would be a D- for me. Zach Harper gave it “A-” to Phoenix and “D-” to Washington.

rockbottom
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July 10, 2024 10:42 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

Where will you be in 7 years and Lowe / Ringer likely podcasts done by than as well as likely other deals and pick swaps in that time frame . Kings better !

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July 11, 2024 6:57 am
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

These pundits would have A+ -ed the sign and trade if it had been Lakers, Clippers, Warriors.

Kangz, LOL is their stock and trade.

Crow is on the menu this next April. Someone will be served – either this fan base or the pundits. Neither will admit they deserve it.

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July 11, 2024 7:13 am

And 1 –

DeMar DeRozan was just ranked by The Athletic (2024) as the player 49.

(Ranking is purely opinion based. There are so many different thoughts on how to value each aspect of the game; stats, winning games, winning rings or playoff series, in relation to teammates, and on and on. They have Anthony Davis 10, Lebron 12 for example. 2x All-NBA Domantas Sabonis 26).

I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that just the change in uniform drops Debo 20-25 spots if the pundits re-rank in October. It will make that 2031 pick swap 😱 even “worster” lolz.

That Sacramento Tax is deep and far reaching.

Last edited 10 days ago by UpgradedToQuestionable
andy_sims
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July 11, 2024 9:20 am

Why would the Kings fan base deserve to eat crow? Because that guy boldly asserted that the team would win forty games two summers ago?

While crow would be an upgrade from the steady diet of shit that’s historically been on the menu, if there’s a more rightly-humble group of fans than those of the Sacramento Kings, I am unaware of its existence.

murraytant
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July 10, 2024 9:24 pm

S. Bey signed with Washington. Detroit picked up Paul Reed. Does this mean anything-Kuzma or Stewart?
virtually all the wing and big Free agents are gone.

Kosta
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July 11, 2024 9:32 am
Reply to  murraytant

Washington adding another PF in Saddiq Bey?

Maybe they’re working on a Bagley trade to China.

Kosta
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July 10, 2024 9:46 pm

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

jlandweh
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July 11, 2024 8:00 am

We all see how this is amazing…2 extremely clutch players surrounded by a great passing big man and a few very good 3pt shooters. Offensively it will be extremely fun.

It really come down to getting to the clutch situations and getting stops on the other end.

As much as we loved Harrison Barnes – think about all the times he had to take a “clutch” shot, bail us out late in the shot clock, or generate some scoring/free throw attempts when the offense got stagnant. Now these looks are going to a better shooter, creator, and playmaker in DeRozan. Offensively, it’s going to make for great late game situations.

Tankathon
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July 11, 2024 8:45 am

Happy to have Demar but he’s older than HB and that pick swap 7 years from now is going to bite this city in the arse

outrider
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July 11, 2024 8:56 am

Not directly related, but I’m curious as to what people’s thoughts on Brandom Ingram are. I was reading that NO is having trouble moving him because he’s hurt alot, but still wants a giant extension and teams are leery of both those things.

Given his injury history and production, what’s a fair value contract for him in your mind? This is not withstanding the salary cap or aprons or that type of stuff, just what do you consider a fair value contract for him given his production and injury history?

I don’t remember off the top of my head what a max extension would be for him, but I do remember thinking it was too high, mostly because he’s injured so much.

RobHessing
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July 11, 2024 9:02 am
Reply to  outrider

I think that his value changes as it pertains to the Kings, as the signing of DeRozan sort of nixes giving Ingram the big extension he’ll be seeking next season. So he becomes a rental of sorts for the Kings. He also does not address the remaining roster shortcomings. So for the Kings, I just don’t see a deal.

I could sure see the deep pocket teams such as the Lakers or Warriors try to come up with something (Dubs deal Wiggins, Kuminga, maybe a pick along with the extension wink).

My guess is that when he hits the open market next year, he will get paid. My other guess is, this being a contract year for him, he will be remarkably healthy this year.

outrider
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July 11, 2024 10:05 am
Reply to  RobHessing

For me, it boils down to are you willing to pay market price for a guy who could potentially miss a quarter+ of any given season?

The “when he’s healthy” component in the discussion for him makes me a bit uncomfortable, especially if I’m shelling out 50 mil a year for him, which is is just a guess at what the market value will be for him.

Last edited 10 days ago by outrider
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July 11, 2024 10:23 am
Reply to  outrider

Fortunately, I don’t think that this is the Kings concern after signing DDR. But Kawhi got paid after some spotty health. PG13 got paid. And Ingram will likely get paid. For the teams that print money, they’re willing to pay freight on the regular season for a chance of health come playoffs. With the change in the penalties for exceeding the cap, it will be interesting to see if this tamps down at all. But at the end of the day, it only takes one out of 30 teams to pay that freight.

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