Excel Sports agent Jeff Schwartz, who represents Kings big man Marvin Bagley III, released an explosive reprimand of Sacramento (via Twitter), revealing that the team has decided to hold Bagley out of their rotation completely to start the 2021/22 season. Schwartz called the decision to keep his client out of the club’s lineup “completely baffling.”
“It’s clear they have no plans for him in the future, and yet, passed on potential deals at last year’s deadline and this summer based on ‘value,'” Schwartz said. “Instead they chose to bring him back but not play him, a move completely contradictory to their ‘value’ argument. This is a case study in mismanagement by the Kings organization.”
The relatively new Sacramento front office regime, led by second-year team president Monte McNair, is clearly not too invested in the former No. 2 overall pick out of Duke. The current club is prioritizing more switchable, smaller lineups around its exciting young backcourt, looking to build around maximum-salaried point guard De’Aaron Fox and intriguing recent lottery selections Tyrese Haliburton and Davion Mitchell.
At the power forward slot, Harrison Barnes and and Maurice Harkless are expected to soak up the majority of rotation minutes. At center, the recently-extended Richaun Holmes has emerged as the team’s apparent preference to start, while newly-added vets Tristan Thompson and Alex Len will back him up.
The 6’11” Bagley showed plenty of promise during his 2018/19 rookie season, with his output that year (14.9 PPG and 7.6 RPG in 25.3 MPG, across 62 games) meriting inclusion on the 2019 All-Rookie First Team alongside future All-Stars Luka Doncic and Trae Young. Since then, the 22-year-old’s numbers have stagnated and he has missed significant time with injury issues. Last year, he averaged 14.1 PPG and 7.4 RPG across 25.9 MPG, while missing 29 games.
Where this leaves Bagley is unclear, as the big man and his agent surely are hoping for a trade, but his value to other teams appears to be trending in the wrong direction if he has been deemed unworthy of making the opening night rotation for a probable lottery-bound team. The Kings are scheduled to make their 2021/22 regular season debut Wednesday night against the Trail Blazers.
Bagley is on an expiring contract and is eligible for restricted free agency in 2022. As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (Twitter link), if Bagley doesn’t meet the NBA’s starter criteria, his potential qualifying offer for next season would be worth $7.3MM instead of $14.8MM.