Kings

Fox says 2017 pre-draft workout with Lakers was 'waste of time'

Kings
De'Aaron Fox driving on Lonzo Ball

Heading into the 2017 NBA Draft, everyone with a pulse knew the Los Angeles Lakers were zeroed in on UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 overall pick.

It wasn't a secret that the Chino Hills native was destined to play for his hometown team.

Despite knowing the Lakers were all but assured of drafting Ball, De'Aaron Fox decided to work out for them. Now, more than three years after the Kings drafted him with the No. 5 overall pick, the point guard regrets that decision to go audition for Los Angeles.

"Crazy thing is, I kinda knew I was going five, because the way it went, Philly was trading up to one to get [Markelle Fultz], Lonzo was going two no matter what," Fox told former NBA players Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on a recent episode of Showtime's "All The Smoke" podcast. "I knew Boston didn't need a point guard. They actually had Kyrie [Irving] at the time, so they took Jayson [Tatum]. I actually canceled my workout in Phoenix because they had [Brandon Knight], [Eric Bledsoe], Tyler Ulis at the time. They had three point guards, so I'm like 'Why the f--k would I go to Phoenix?'

"So I canceled that workout and then Sac was there. I'm like 'Man, you know what it would be like to turn around a franchise like that? That would be crazy.' So, I was excited to go there. I didn't work out for Orlando, who was after that or Chicago. I worked out for three teams, the Lakers, which I probably shouldn't have worked out for, that really was a waste of time, Phoenix and then Sac."

 

In hindsight, the Lakers might have picked the wrong point guard. Ball played well as a rookie, but never blossomed into the star they hoped he would become. On the other hand, Los Angeles was able to trade Ball and Brandon Ingram, another former No. 2 overall pick, along with other assets, to the New Orleans Pelicans for All-Star center Anthony Davis.

That move helped the Lakers capture the 2019-20 NBA title in the NBA bubble in Orlando, Fla in October. So drafting Ball might have been the right move after all.

Meanwhile, the Kings just signed Fox to a $163 million max contract extension this offseason.

Instead of bolting the Kings at his first chance at free agency, Fox decided to stay in Sacramento. He wants to get the franchise turned around and he wants to do it for the dedicated fans in Sactown.

"S--t, my first year, we were bad," Fox told Barnes and Jackson. "Real bad and we're selling out just about every home game. Every home game. Anywhere you go, you're going to have Sac fans, 'I'm from Sacramento, man. I love the Kings.' Everybody brought up the Chris Webber and Mike Bibby days and wishing to get back to that.

"That's what I'm trying to do. That's what I'm trying to bring back to this city and you really hear the passion in these guys, it's a different type of love for this team. Our soccer team just went [to the] MLS, but it's Kings, man. It's Kings fans all over. They are really diehard."

RELATED: Fox says guarding Steph Curry is "like hell"

The Kings haven't made the NBA playoffs since the 2005-06 season, and they face an uphill battle to end that drought this year.

But with Fox and rookie Tyrese Haliburton leading the way, Sacramento might be able to punch a postseason ticket in the not-too-distant future.