Lamar Patterson isn’t the first person to be concerned about a pet when relocating for a new job.
But his pet, Pharoah, isn’t a dog or cat; “Ro” is an alligator.
“Hopefully it’s legal to have the alligator out there, I don’t know,” said Patterson, a second-year guard who was claimed by the Kings off waivers from Atlanta last month. “I wasn’t able to bring him to Atlanta because it was illegal, so my mom was watching him, but hopefully California is a little more laid back.”
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Patterson might need to have his mother watch “Ro” again; according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, owning an alligator as a pet is illegal in California unless a special permit is acquired.
Alligator aside, Patterson said he will be in Sacramento well ahead of training camp to become acquainted with his his new teammates. The Kings added several other perimeter players through free agency and the draft.
Patterson, who played at Pittsburgh, was selected in the second round (No. 48) in 2014 by Milwaukee, which traded him to Atlanta. But Patterson played in Turkey before joining the Hawks last season. In 35 games, he averaged 2.4 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 11.3 minutes.
Patterson visited Sacramento last month and said he enjoyed meeting the coaches and support staff and seeing the city after spending most of his life on the East Coast.
“I’m thrilled,” Patterson said. “I’m excited to get to training camp and get out there with those guys.”
Patterson hopes to bring Pharaoh. He said the alligator was given his name because of his black and gold skin. He said it was a gift from his now fiancée after he became intrigued with them during a visit to Gatorland in Florida a few years ago.
Patterson said the alligator is low maintenance. His game is similarly unassuming; he said he studies players who have become successful despite lacking explosive athleticism.
Patterson, 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, has watched Wesley Matthews, Brandon Roy and James Harden on YouTube, but his favorite player to study is former Los Angeles Lakers point guard Magic Johnson.
“That’s the great thing about the internet,” Patterson said. “Once it’s out there, it’s out there forever.”
Patterson hopes he can bring some passing ability to the Kings, a skill the team has lacked collectively for some time.
With the Hawks, Patterson played in a system in which passing was a necessity. Under coach Mike Budenholzer, Atlanta has been one of the NBA’s assist leaders.
“That’s pretty much been my game,” Patterson said. “I’ve always been the biggest player on my team growing up, but the most skilled, so I used to run the point-center position. … It was just natural for me to handle the ball and passing the ball; I pride myself on that.”
Now that he’ll be playing for Kings coach Dave Joerger, Patterson plans to continue his online studies before training camp.
“I’m excited, so I’ve got to add one more player to my YouTube list and that’s Tony Allen,” Patterson said of the defensive standout Joerger coached in Memphis. “He’s so aggressive on defense with his intensity, and I’m sure Coach Joerger would love that.”
Kings’ key dates
- Oct. 4: First preseason game, vs L.A. Lakers, Honda Center, Anaheim, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 10: First preseason game at Golden 1 Center, vs. Maccabi Haifa, 7:30 p.m.
- Oct. 26: First regular-season game, at Phoenix, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 27: First regular-season game at Golden 1 Center, vs. San Antonio, 7:30 p.m.