Former general manager Vlade Divac and co. decided Bagley was going to be the ideal fit alongside De’Aaron Fox to give the franchise two foundational pieces for the long-term. Divac passed up on soon-to-be MVP candidates Luka Dončić and Trae Young to land Bagley, a decision that will haunt the franchise for years to come.
Bagley hasn’t exactly been fond of his time in Sacramento. He recently liked a tweet suggesting the Kings should trade him, and his father got into it with Fox’s dad earlier in the season.
The 22-year-old has missed 108 games over his first three seasons. Bagley’s career numbers are well above average at 14.5 points, and 7.3 rebounds per game, but those are below expectations for a player selected second overall.
McNair could look to move Bagley this offseason, but Jason Jones of The Athletic says the return for the power forward would be underwhelming at this point.
The problem is Bagley’s value around the league isn’t such where teams are looking to give up a lot to get him. It’s no secret Bagley was available at the trade deadline, but the Kings never received the kind of offer that made a deal worthwhile. One league executive told me a couple of second-round picks is about all they could see parting with to add Bagley.
Bagley has struggled with consistency issues at both ends of the floor. He has shown flashes of his potential as a scorer but hasn’t used his athleticism to be a difference-maker on the glass and defensive end.
He averages fewer rebounds than Dončić, and his 116.5 defensive rating was the third-worst of any Kings player who appeared in more than 30 games.
McNair has harped on maintaining financial flexibility moving forward, which could be another reason to move on from Bagley. He’s due to make more than $11 million next season and will be up for a new contract following the 2021-22 campaign.
The Kings have to decide if Bagley is worth the drama. He hasn’t bought into the system and has been unhappy with his role under head coach Luke Walton. Bagley removed any mention of playing for Sacramento on his social media bios and seems to be checked out.
But if the McNair decides to sell low on Bagley this offseason, it could come back to bite the franchise. Bagley has never averaged more than 26 minutes per game over his three seasons, but his per 36 minutes numbers are eye-opening.
Bagley’s per 36 minutes for his career comes in at 20.5 points and 10.6 rebounds, per Basketball-Reference. So McNair and Walton have to decide if the lack of opportunity is hurting Bagley’s performance.
However, the eye test hasn’t been kind to Bagley. He often looks disengaged at the defensive end and is a below-average rim protector for a player with his athletic prowess.
It will be fascinating to see how McNair handles the Bagley situation this offseason. The Kings could package him with the No. 9 pick to acquire some immediate help or look to keep him in the hopes he has a breakout season.
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On to some links:
It remains to be seen if forward Chimezie Metu will be back with the Kings next season, but he has developed a few meaningful friendships during his short time with the team. The Trojans Wire highlights Metu’s friendship with rookie Tyrese Haliburton.
Which prospect will the Kings select if they keep the No. 9 pick? ESPN’s Jonathan Givony released his latest mock draft and has Sacramento selecting a guard.
Harrison Barnes was a finalist for the inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Award. Find out who won the honor on NBA.com.