Marvin Bagley III

Latest On De’Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley III

Two Kings starters, De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley III, are making progress in their recoveries from injuries, but neither player is ready to return to action, the team announced today in a press release.

Fox, who has been sidelined since sustaining a left ankle sprain on November 11, has resumed on-court basketball activities, but isn’t taking contact. According to the team, he’ll remain in Sacramento during the club’s upcoming four-game road trip – which begins in Portland on Thursday – and will be re-evaluated in about two or three weeks.

The Kings have tread water without Fox, winning five of the nine games he has missed. The team will have to continue to do so if it hopes to remain in the playoff hunt in the West. Even if the star point guard is ready to return in three weeks, he’d miss another 11 games.

Meanwhile, Bagley – out since opening night due to a broken right thumb – will be re-evaluated at the end of this week, per the team. The Kings’ initial October announcement on Bagley after he suffered the injury called for a recovery timeline of approximately four-to-six weeks — this Thursday will represent the six-week mark.

With Fox and Bagley on the shelf, Cory Joseph, Richaun Holmes, and Nemanja Bjelica are among the players who have received bumps in minutes. Holmes (+3.8 net rating) has been particularly effective, so it will be interesting to see how his role is adjusted once Bagley is good to go.

Pacific Notes: Booker, Ayton, Doncic, Bagley, Joseph

With the Suns playing above expectations to start the season, the development of Devin Booker has been a focal point of the team’s season. A recent three-game skid has put Phoenix two games under .500 but Booker’s play has been generally solid this season.

The 23-year-old is averaging 24.5 PPG and 6.3 APG while shooting from the field (51%) and from three (41.9%) at career-best rates. As the season has progressed, new head coach Monty Williams has taken a proactive approach in trying to get his young star to the next level, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes.

Whether it’s late-night text sessions, extra work after practice or going over film and studying, Williams has been impressed with the work Booker has dedicated to improvement. While Williams feels he drives Booker nuts, the guard says he’s thankful for his new head coach.

“I understand most of it, I mean, all of it,” Booker said. “It’s just the way I am. I’ve said since the beginning, I trust him.”

Check out more Pacific Division notes:

  • Deandre Ayton is nearing a return from his 25-game suspension and the young center’s role is still unclear, Rankin writes in a separate story. The Suns’ big man has appeared in just one game this season but given Phoenix’s recent struggles, some scoring punch from the 21-year-old could help the team.
  • Mavericks‘ guard Luka Doncic has started off his sophomore season with a bang, becoming a daily triple-double threat and an early MVP candidate. Rankin writes once again how Doncic’s development makes Suns fans think about how different things would have been if Phoenix took Doncic in lieu of Ayton in last year’s draft.
  • Kings‘ forward Marvin Bagley III has only played in one game this season after breaking his thumb. Five weeks after the injury, Bagley is still not cleared to return but is getting closer, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee writes. “Marvin is much closer than De’Aaron [Fox] is, but it’s one of those things that he hasn’t been cleared to go contact yet without (a brace) on,” head coach Luke Walton said. “So will he play tomorrow or Monday? No, but is he getting closer? Yes.”
  • While the personal stats may not be outstanding, the play of Cory Joseph, given the absence of Bagley and De’Aaron Fox has helped the Kings maintain pace in the Western Conference, James Patrick of the Sacramento Bee writes.
  • Jovan Buha of The Athletic answered several Clippers questions in the latest mailbag. Buha covered the possibility of the team pursuing Andre Iguodala, Landry Shamet‘s return, and more.

Marvin Bagley III Out At Least Four More Games

While Marvin Bagley III will travel with the Kings on their upcoming four-game East Coast road trip, he won’t play in any of those four games, the club announced today (via Twitter).

According to the Kings, Bagley was re-evaluated today, and while he continues to make progress in his recovery from a broken right thumb, he’s still at least a week away from returning. He’ll be re-evaluated after the Kings return to Sacramento following a road trip that will take the team to Brooklyn, Washington, Boston, and Philadelphia.

Based on the Kings’ announcement, Bagley’s earliest possible return date would be Saturday, November 30, when Sacramento hosts the Nuggets.

In the meantime, Sacramento will continue to roll out a starting lineup that features Richaun Holmes and Nemanja Bjelica in the frontcourt. As we noted in our roundup of Kings notes earlier this afternoon, that duo has been effective for the club lately, helping key a stretch of six wins in eight games. The Kings, who have been without Bagley since opening night and are missing De’Aaron Fox as well, are just one game back of the No. 8 seed in the West.

Kings Notes: Bagley, Holmes, Hield

Kings big man Marvin Bagley III is ramping up his individual workouts and is close to returning from the broken thumb that has sidelined him since opening night, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Bagley, who will be re-evaluated on Wednesday, will join the club on its four-game East Coast road trip that begins Friday, but head coach Luke Walton still has to figure out how he’ll use the former No. 2 overall pick once he’s back.

As Anderson details, the Kings have won six of their last eight games with Nemanja Bjelica and Richaun Holmes in the starting lineup. The duo has been effective over the last couple weeks, so Walton will have to decide whether to reinsert Bagley into the starting five or to roll with what his been working, perhaps bringing the second-year big man off the bench.

“We’re going to get him back into practice and see how things are going, try groupings and all the things you mentioned,” Walton said. “But there’s no answer to any of that right now.”

Here’s more on the Kings:

  • After the Kings splurged in free agency over the summer on Harrison Barnes, Cory Joseph, Dewayne Dedmon, and Trevor Ariza, their modest two-year, $9.8MM deal with Richaun Holmes was almost an afterthought. But Holmes has been a key part of the club’s early-season success, as Sean Deveney of Forbes.com outlines. “Every time I coached against him, he’s killed us,” Walton said of the journeyman center. “But he’s never really played major minutes, at least from what I’ve seen. So we were excited to get him. … He has been as solid and steady as anyone we’ve had on our team.”
  • Kings shooting guard Buddy Hield was fined $25K by the NBA this week for kicking the game ball into the stands at the end of the team’s win over Boston, as Sean Cunningham of ABC10 Sacramento tweets (video link). Hield later joked on Twitter that he should’ve kicked it harder to get his money’s worth.
  • In case you missed it earlier today, Kings assistant Igor Kokoskov was named the new head coach of the Serbian National Team. He’ll likely coach Bogdan Bogdanovic, Nemanja Bjelica, and a handful of other NBA players as Serbia looks to qualify for the 2020 Olympics.

Kings Won’t Pick Up 2020/21 Options On Giles, Swanigan

The Kings are declining two of their four rookie scale options for the 2020/21 season, a league source tells James Ham of NBC Sports California (Twitter link). According to Ham, Sacramento won’t be picking up the fourth-year options for Harry Giles ($3,976,510) or Caleb Swanigan ($3,665,787).

As expected, Sacramento has exercised its fourth-year option on De’Aaron Fox ($8,099,627) and its third-year option on Marvin Bagley III ($8,963,640). Those were procedural moves and were never in doubt. However, the decisions on Giles and Swanigan are a little more interesting.

Giles, the 20th overall pick in the 2017 draft, has been plagued by knee issues since entering the league. Injuries cost him his entire rookie year and limited him to 58 games (14.1 MPG) in 2018/19. He has also yet to play this season as he battles knee pain.

Given his upside, I still though Sacramento would likely exercise Giles’ 2020/21 option. However, it appears the club decided the risk outweighed the reward when it came to guaranteeing nearly $4MM for the big man.

The Kings’ option decision on Swanigan is less surprising. The former Purdue power forward has averaged just 2.1 PPG and 2.4 RPG in 51 career regular season contests with Portland and Sacramento, having never developed into a reliable rotation player.

Giles and Swanigan, two of just four players around the NBA who have had their rookie scale options turned down, will both become unrestricted free agents in 2020 as a result of today’s decisions. At that time, Sacramento won’t be able to offer them a starting salary worth more than the value of their declined options.

Meanwhile, Fox will become extension-eligible next July, while Bagley has one more option on his rookie scale contract for the 2021/22 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Marvin Bagley To Miss 4-6 Weeks With Thumb Fracture

After a disappointing start to the season on Wednesday night in Phoenix, the Kings got some more bad news today. According to a press release issued by the team, second-year big man Marvin Bagley III will be sidelined for the next four to six weeks after being diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture in his right thumb.

Bagley had a double-double on Wednesday, recording 14 points and 10 rebounds, but it wasn’t much help against a Suns team that opened the season with a 29-point blowout over the division-rival Kings. As they look to bounce back from that loss, the Kings will likely have to lean on Nemanja Bjelica and Harrison Barnes to play increased minutes at the four.

Harry Giles will also be an option up front for Sacramento once he gets healthy. He’s dealing with left knee soreness, but returned to practice today and is getting closer to returning, per James Ham of NBC Sports California (Twitter link).

If Bagley is able to get back on the court in four weeks, that would still rule him out for the Kings’ next dozen games. A six-week timeline would cost him the next 19 games and would push back his return until December.

Marvin Bagley III Withdraws From Team USA

Kings forward Marvin Bagley III has withdrawn from Team USA’s training camp to focus on the upcoming NBA season, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times (Twitter link).

Bagley, who earned a promotion to the Team USA senior roster by playing well in training camp last week, had impressed coaches and officials enough to earn consideration for the final 12-man roster that has yet to be finalized, Stein notes in a separate tweet.

Bagley is coming off a rookie season that saw him average 14.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and one block in 25.3 minutes per contest, playing off the bench in 62 of his 65 games. He beat out fellow bigs Thaddeus Young and Bam Adebayo to make the senior roster on Team USA.

The Kings still have third-year guard De’Aaron Fox and veteran forward Harrison Barnes vying to make the final group out of 16 remaining players. The FIBA World Cup is scheduled to begin play on Aug. 31, with Team USA set to have its first game on Sept. 1.

World Cup Notes: Team USA, White, Young

Head coach Gregg Popovich is strongly considering taking 15 players to Australia later this month in advance of the World Cup as opposed to cutting the roster down to a dozen players prior to leaving the country, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. FIBA regulations state that teams can only carry 12 players for the World Cup itself, though the remaining players could simply attend alongside the coaching staff and never suit up.

Here’s more surrounding the World Cup:

  • Spurs guard Derrick White and Kings big man Marvin Bagley III are the strongest contenders to be promoted from the Select Team to Team USA’s primary World Cup roster, tweets Stein. Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher suggests (via Instagram) that White’s promotion has already happened, while Bagley’s is likely.
  • Mitchell Robinson is dealing with a knee injury, as Marc Berman of the New York Post relays. The Knicks center initially suffered the injury over the weekend and returned to practice on Tuesday and re-injured it the following day. A source close to the situation describes the ailment as “just soreness.”
  • Hawks guard Trae Young left Team USA’s training camp because of a minor eye infection, sources tell Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Young had been practicing with the Select Team.
  • Chris Boucher has withdrawn from the World Cup for personal reasons, Josh Lewenberg of the TSN tweets. The Raptors big man had been practicing with Canada’s National Team.

Team USA Updates: Millsap, Plumlee, Harrell, Select Team

USA Basketball has issued a press release announcing a series of updates relating to the team it’s putting together for the 2019 World Cup in China, as well as the training camp that will take place in August before that event. Here are the highlights of that announcement:

More withdrawals:

Nuggets big man Paul Millsap has joined the ever-growing list of players from Team USA’s initial 20-man roster who have decided not to participate in this year’s World Cup. As expected, Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love has also withdrawn from Team USA’s 2019 roster.

Millsap and Love join Bradley Beal, Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, James Harden, Tobias Harris, Damian Lillard, and CJ McCollum among the original invitees who have removed their names from World Cup consideration.

New invitees:

Team USA confirmed that Thaddeus Young, Marcus Smart, Julius Randle, and Jaylen Brown will join the training camp roster for next month, as previous reports indicated.

In addition to those four players, two big men will join the roster as well, with Clippers center Montrezl Harrell and Nuggets center Mason Plumlee have received invitations from USA Basketball. Assuming the remaining 11 players from the original 20-man roster remain committed, that would bring the roster back up to 17.

[UPDATE: Harrell may turn down his invitation]

Those 11 other players are Harrison Barnes, Andre Drummond, Kyle Kuzma, Brook Lopez, Kyle Lowry, Khris Middleton, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, P.J. Tucker, Myles Turner, and Kemba Walker.

Select Team:

For the first time, USA Basketball confirmed the players who will make up the Select Team at next month’s training camp in Las Vegas. The members of the 13-man Select Team will practice and scrimmage with Team USA’s training camp invitees, and will be coached by Jeff Van Gundy.

It’s possible that a player could be elevated from the Select Team to the primary roster and eventually find his way onto the 12-man squad that will play in China, but that’s probably a long shot.

The 13 players who will play for the Select Team are as follows:

  1. Jarrett Allen (Nets)
  2. Marvin Bagley III (Kings)
  3. Mikal Bridges (Suns)
  4. Jalen Brunson (Mavericks)
  5. John Collins (Hawks)
  6. Pat Connaughton (Bucks)
  7. De’Aaron Fox (Kings)
  8. Joe Harris (Nets)
  9. Jonathan Isaac (Magic)
  10. Mitchell Robinson (Knicks)
  11. Landry Shamet (Clippers)
  12. Derrick White (Spurs)
  13. Trae Young (Hawks)

Team USA’s training camp will take place during the week of August 5, while the World Cup itself is scheduled to run from August 31 to September 15.

Kings Notes: Cauley-Stein, Workouts, Team USA

The Kings are known to be looking for a starting center when free agency begins on June 30, but does that mean that it’s time for Sacramento and former No. 6 overall pick Willie Cauley-Stein to part ways?

Jason Jones of The Athletic opines that even though the Kings have the ability to make Cauley-Stein a restricted free agent with a qualifying offer of just under $6.3MM, it might be best after four seasons for both sides to see what else is out there, especially if the Kings can pick up someone like Nikola Vucevic.

The 25-year-old big man had some bright spots during the 2018/19 campaign, including a hot start that helped make the Kings one of the NBA’s surprise teams to start the season. But, the Kings still feel that Cauley-Stein is an average to below-average rebounder for a big man, and his blocks per game this past season were the lowest of his career.

Perhaps more importantly, the Kings really like what they already have from young, cheaper big men like Marvin Bagley and Harry Giles, and questions still remain, fairly or not, about Cauley-Stein’s desire and focus, which the Kings aren’t sure will now suddenly change after four seasons in the NBA.

There’s more out of Sacramento this weekend:

  • The Kings brought in six prospects for workouts on Thursday, per the team’s website. The players are: guard Jordan Bone (Tennessee), guard Terence Davis (Mississippi), swingman Brian Bowen (Australia), forward Zylan Cheatham (Arizona State), forward Trey Mourning (Georgetown), and big man Chris Silva (South Carolina).
  • Six more more NBA hopefuls will work out for the Kings on Monday, per a report on the team’s website. The prospects are: guard Kyle Guy (Virginia), guard B.J. Taylor (UCF), guard John Konchar (IPFW), guard Jaren Lewis (Abilene Christian), swingman Jakeenan Gant (UL Lafayette), and forward Nick Mayo (Eastern Kentucky).
  • As we relayed earlier this week, two Kings’ players will be participating in USA Basketball this summer. Harrison Barnes will be at USA Basketball’s August training camp ahead of the FIBA World Cup in China this fall, while the aforementioned Bagley will be part of the 10-man select team that will scrimmage against the 18-man FIBA World Cup roster.