It’s an open secret that the Sacramento front office doesn’t view Marvin Bagley III as untouchable, despite him being the no. 2 overall pick just three years ago. It was reported earlier this month that the Kings had put Bagley on the market, but weren't getting any takers due to Bagley’s inconsistent production (though part of that is due to injury) and his high cap figure for next season.
Now, we have a clearer understanding of what kinds of players Sacramento is targeting should Bagley get moved in a trade. In Yahoo Sports’ “Hoopla With Haynes”, Chris Haynes revealed that the Kings attempted to acquire Saddiq Bey from the Detroit Pistons, but were turned down.
Bey and Bagley are almost exactly the same age, despite Bey coming into the league two years later, so the current Piston isn’t closer to Sacramento’s timeline of building around De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton. The Kings’ interest is likely related to Bey’s potential and his versatility as a combo forward, which is of higher value in the modern NBA than Bagley falling somewhere between a 4 and a 5.
Bey has had a solid rookie season in Detroit, despite the team holding the worst record in the Eastern Conference. He has shot 38.6 percent from 3-point range and has been a marksman in clutch situations; his seven threes against Boston, including one with less than 40 seconds to play, helped him earn Eastern Conference player of the week honors in February. Bey is the only rookie to be player of the week this season in either conference.
It’s clear why the Kings would want a player like Bey to their core, especially since he still has three years left on his rookie contract, unlike Bagley, who is due for an extension this offseason. However, it’s also obvious why Detroit wasn’t interested and why it will be challenging for Sacramento to find a suitor for Bagley, as previously reported.
The major takeaway here is that the Kings seem to be working harder to deal Bagley than other players on their roster who would actually fetch assets in return, such as Harrison Barnes or Richaun Holmes. Perhaps that means that the Kings see a path to the playoffs as early as next season and don’t want to sacrifice their present. Bagley isn’t making the team better now, so they’re comfortable letting him go.
Ideally, even if the Kings want to hold onto Barnes and Holmes, they should be working to move the veterans on their roster who won’t be a part of the future, namely Nemanja Bjelica and Hassan Whiteside, or even Cory Joseph. Hopefully, Sacramento is working as hard to move them as the front office is with Bagley.