DeMar DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan rejoices in playing with his clutch rival in De'Aaron Fox

DeRozan and Fox have battled back and forth for the league's Clutch Player award for two years

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In joining the Kings via sign-in-trade this offseason, DeMar DeRozan isn't just joining a Western Conference team on the rise over the last two seasons, he's joining forces with a fellow clutch player of his caliber.

DeRozan and De'Aaron Fox have competed as two of the most clutch players in the league over the last two seasons. Fox is the winner of the league's Clutch Player of the Year award from the 2022-23 season. DeRozan finished third in voting that season. And while DeRozan beat him in voting this past season, he came up just short of Steph Curry.

Upon arriving in Sacramento to sign a three-year deal worth $70 million, he joked with Fox about being snubbed of the award two seasons ago.

"I told him I was mad two years ago that he got it and I didn't get it," DeRozan said on Tuesday during his opening press conference with the team. "But yeah, we've definitely been battling and just with that there me being a competitor that I am. I sit and watch a lot of those moments."

The two, as DeRozan said, have had their fair share of clutch battles, too.

In March 2023 --- during Fox's award-winning clutch season --- DeRozan made an incredible 4-point-play from a 3-pointer he was fouled on with 11.6 seconds left against the Kings. That shot tied the game for the Bulls, as they were down four points with seconds to go.

But with a couple of seconds on the clock at the other end, Fox nailed an isolated 3-point shot over Ayo Dosunmu to ice the game and give the Kings the win in Chicago. DeRozan made note of that play and came back a year later with vengeance coursing through his veins.

Down 22 points heading into the fourth quarter of the Bulls-Kings game last March, DeRozan scored 19 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter. He helped the Bulls rally back against the Kings to defeat them, 113-109.

As the student of the game he is, DeRozan mentioned his memory of the year-long battle.

"I think even in Chicago I remember he had a game-winner on us," DeRozan said of Fox's 2023 game-winner. "I kind of made it a thing this past season when we played here. I think we were losing by like 20, I made it a thing and in the fourth quarter made sure we won just in case of this head-to-head and in that battle again."

Now, in Sacramento, both clutch players will play in the same lineup, giving the Kings a dangerous edge in any fourth quarter. DeRozan mentioned his excitement playing with an up-and-coming Kings team that is headlined by one of the league's most clutch and dynamic point guards.

"To see someone as special as him... I've been following him since he was in college," DeRozan said. "To see the amazing things he's able to do and just being a part of that can be special."

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