Just a few years after being a top pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Sacramento Kings big man Marvin Bagley III is one of the likeliest players to be traded this season. Even with his value lower than ever, there appears to be at least some interest in him around the league.
The tension between Bagley and the Kings is at an all-time high. Weeks after his agent blasted the front office and called their decision to retain Bagley and not play him “a case study in mismanagement by the Kings organization.” Sacramento has kept the 6-foot-11 forward out of the rotation, playing him just three times off the bench this season.
But things took a turn this past week. When head coach Luke Walton asked Bagley to check into the game against the Phoenix Suns, he reportedly refused. It’s become clear that a separation is needed for both sides and it might only be a matter of time before that happens.
- Marvin Bagley stats (2020-’21 season) 14.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 50.4% from the field
According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Detroit Pistons have tracked Bagley since the 2020-’21 NBA season and a trade for the former No. 2 pick is possible after Dec. 15.
Bagley, drafted ahead of NBA stars like Luka DOncic, Trae Young, Collin Sexton, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Miles Bridges, has been a source of frustration for the Kings. Durability has been a frequent problem and he is a liability on the defensive end.
But the 22-year-old could be a nice buy-low target for the Pistons. He is comfortable shooting from beyond the arc (31.4% in his career) and is an effective rebounder. But the presence of center Richaun Holmes and Bagley’s limitations defensively have cost him minutes.
- Marvin Bagley contract: $11.3 million (2021-’22), free agent in 2022
It would be a surprise if Bagley is on the Kings’ roster by the NBA trade deadline, but the return will certainly be limited. At this point, Sacramento might have to settle for multiple second-round picks and another expiring contract. As for the Pistons, a low-cost trade for Bagley could help surround Cade Cunningham with more talent.