Marvin Bagley III

Marvin Bagley III To Be Reevaluated In Approximately Two Weeks

Kings forward Marvin Bagley III underwent an MRI on Friday that revealed a bone bruise in his left knee and he will be reevaluated in 10 to 14 days, the team announced in a press release.

Bagley, 19, suffered the injury in the second quarter of the Kings’ 130-125 loss to the Warriors on Friday night. The second overall pick in last year’s draft landed awkwardly following a rebound attempt and never returned to the game.

The Duke product is averaging 12.7 PPG, 6.1 RPG and 53.6% shooting in 23.1 minutes per game this season. The Kings (15-13) have been a surprise in the Western Conference this season and are currently half a game back of the Trail Blazers for the eighth seed in the Western Conference. The loss of Bagley could impact the Kings’ postseason push in the coming weeks.

Latest On Dave Joerger, Kings

Over the weekend, a report from Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports suggested that Dave Joerger and the Kings‘ front office don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye on the team’s priorities and direction, potentially putting Joerger’s job in jeopardy. General manager Vlade Divac swiftly issued a statement dismissing the report, suggesting that Joerger has the team’s “full support and confidence.”

Digging into the situation in Sacramento a little deeper today, Sam Amick of The Athletic reports that Joerger is not in danger of being fired anytime soon. However, that doesn’t mean that Haynes’ report is “much ado about nothing,” according to Amick, who says there’s a genuine disagreement within the Kings’ ranks about player development.

Haynes wrote on Saturday that Joerger is focused on winning as many games as possible, while team management would like to prioritize the development of young prospects a little more, and Amick’s report seems to confirm that. Sources tell Amick that there’s concern within the organization about insufficient playing time for Marvin Bagley III and other young prospects.

Here’s more out of Sacramento:

  • Although Joerger has another year on his contract beyond the 2018/19 season, his assistants are in the final year of their respective deals, per Amick, who describes the situation as “a second-level sort of lame-duck status.”
  • Joerger has believed since last season that assistant GM Brandon Williams was in the market for a new coach to replace him, sources tell Amick.
  • Amick describes Williams as a “major backer” of Bagley. Conversley, Nemanja Bjelica – the veteran power forward who is currently starting ahead of the club’s No. 2 overall pick – was a “Divac-driven” acquisition during the offseason, per Amick.
  • Now that the Kings have lost three of four games and have failed to deal internally with the possible discord within the organization, Joerger will face an even tougher task as he looks to hold his young team together, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

Kings Considering A Coaching Change?

The Kings‘ surprising start may not be enough for head coach Dave Joerger to keep his job, writes Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Joerger is locked in a philosophical battle with the front office over minutes for some of the team’s younger players, Haynes explains. Management sees this as a development year for the organization, while Joerger is focused on winning as many games as possible.

Of particular concern is the way  Joerger is treating Marvin Bagley III, the second player taken in this year’s draft, who is playing just 22.3 minutes per night. The 19-year-old is putting up decent numbers despite the limited playing time, with per-36-minute averages of 18.7 PPG and 8.9 RPG.

The front office wants to build around a core of Bagley, point guard De’Aaron Fox and young forwards Harry Giles and Skal Labissiere. Joerger has preferred to rely on veterans, including 30-year-old Nemanja Bjelica, who has started every game this season.

While management recognizes Joerger’s contributions to an 8-7 start, there are concerns that may lead to a coaching change. Several voices in the organization are calling for more playing time for Bagley, who many in the front office projected as a starter before the season began. Bagley is still seeing much more action than Giles, who is averaging 10 minutes per night, and Labissiere, who is at a career-low 5.6 minutes and has gotten into just five games.

The discontent in the front office, coupled with frustration from players over lack of consistency in their roles, could prove too much for Joerger, even though his contract runs through next season.

However, GM Vlade Divac responded to the report with a statement of support for Joerger, tweets James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. “Dave has our full support and confidence,” Divac said. “We continue to work together to develop our young core and compete.”

Kings Notes: Bagley, Randolph, Koufos, Labissiere

Willie Cauley-Stein‘s improved performance may have taken away some of the need for Marvin Bagley, but the Kings would have drafted him second overall anyway, Jason Jones of The Athletic writes in a mailbag column. Sacramento could use another creator on offense, a role that could have been filled by Luka Doncic, who went one pick later, but Jones believes Bogdan Bogdanovic will help in that area when he recovers from his knee injury.

Kings management views Bagley as a positionless frontline player who won’t be limited to center or power forward. Doncic was in the top three on their draft board, along with Deandre Ayton, but Jones states that the Kings were sold on Bagley’s combination of athleticism, energy and rebounding, along with his potential to develop into a reliable scorer.

There’s more out of Sacramento, all courtesy of Jones:

  • Veteran forward Zach Randolph may not play all season if he remains on the Kings’ roster. The front office informed him that it planned to concentrate on giving time to its young big men, and the team is already having difficulty finding enough minutes for all of them. Randolph averaged 14.5 PPG and 6.7 RPG last season, so he believes he can still contribute, even after turning 37 this summer. He is currently away from the team, but his expiring contract worth nearly $11.7MM could prove useful in a trade.
  • Kosta Koufos, who recently returned from a hamstring injury to add to the logjam of big men, is a strong candidate to be re-signed after the season ends. Coach Dave Joerger and GM Vlade Divac are both strong supporters of Koufos, who is making $8.7MM in the final year of his current deal.
  • The Kings considered trading away Skal Labissiere last season, but it would take a strong offer now for them to consider parting with him. With Cauley-Stein and Koufos both heading into free agency, a rotation spot would open up for Labissiere if either of them leaves.
  • Joerger was planning to experiment with a three-guard rotation in training camp before Bogdanovic hurt his knee. With Buddy Hield playing well, that could be an option once Boganovic is back on the court.
  • The Kings are willing to use their cap space to facilitate deals, but only if they get a significant asset in return. Sacramento would love to acquire a first-round pick after giving theirs up in a 2015 deal with the Sixers.

Pacific Notes: J. Williams, Clippers, D. Jones

It has been an eventful month for Johnathan Williams, who participated in camp and the preseason with the Lakers, was waived, re-signed on a two-way contract, and played key minutes in the team’s third game of the season.

After racking up eight points, four rebounds, and three blocked shots in just 14 minutes during his NBA debut vs. San Antonio, the Lakers’ newest big man said he had to keep reminding himself how to handle the situation, as Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times relays. “Stay in the moment,” Williams said. “Just stay in the moment. Just stay locked in during the game. Just always stayed locked in when I’m on the bench.”

The Lakers don’t have a ton of reliable options at the five, so it will be interesting to see if Williams continues to be a part of the club’s rotation going forward — because NBA G League training camps are underway, the 45-day clock on his NBA service time will continue to run as long as he remains with the team.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Clippers head coach Doc Rivers believes he has “up to 11 guys” in his rotation who warrant end-of-game consideration, which is both a blessing and a curse. Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times takes a closer look at Rivers’ efforts to make the most of the club’s impressive depth.
  • After declining Kevon Looney‘s fourth-year rookie scale option last year at this time, the Warriors seem unlikely to go that same route with Damian Jones, says Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area. According to Shiller, it’s “probably” safe to assume that Golden State will exercise Jones’ $2.3MM team option for 2019/20 by next Wednesday’s deadline.
  • Kings head coach Dave Joerger thinks a stretch four like Nemanja Bjelica is a better fit alongside starting center Willie Cauley-Stein, which is why Marvin Bagley III is coming off the bench, per Jason Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link). However, as Jones writes, Bagley continues to impress the franchise as he carves out a larger role in Sacramento.

Kings’ Frontcourt Logjam Worth Monitoring

The Kings are projected by most oddsmakers and NBA analysts to be the Western Conference’s worst team in 2018/19, but there are several young players on the roster who should be fun to watch. Marvin Bagley III, 2018’s second overall pick, is one of those players, while 2017 first-rounder Harry Giles, who generated buzz with his play this summer after missing his entire rookie season, is another.

However, Bagley only played 12 minutes in Sacramento’s opening-night game on Thursday, while Giles saw just 10 minutes of action. It’s certainly not unusual for rookies to have modest roles to start the season, but the Kings’ frontcourt rotation in their first game highlighted the logjam that exists at the four and five, as Jason Jones of The Athletic details.

With Willie Cauley-Stein and Nemanja Bjelica starting at center and power forward, respectively, and Justin Jackson also playing at the four in some lineups, head coach Dave Joerger suggests it may be “tough” to find minutes for Bagley, especially since the club is thinking long-term with its top pick, Jones writes. For his part, the No. 2 overall pick said he’s “trying to stay patient” when it comes to his playing time.

“I can only control what I can control,” Bagley said after Thursday’s loss. “And whenever my number is called, I’ve just got to go hard, go 100%, and try to do whatever I can to try to help us win. I think I did all right for what I did tonight, how much time I played tonight.”

Besides Cauley-Stein, Bjelica, Jackson, Bagley, and Giles, there are a few more big men on the Kings’ roster who would like to earn some minutes up front. Skal Labissiere didn’t play in the club’s opener, and neither did veteran Zach Randolph, who wasn’t even active for the game. Throw in Kosta Koufos, who should be healthy soon after battling a hamstring injury, and you have seven or eight players vying for playing time at two positions.

In other words, there will likely be “unhappy bigs every night” in Sacramento this season, as Jones tweets.

The Kings, who don’t have serious playoff aspirations, are unlikely to address their frontcourt logjam right away, but this is a situation worth monitoring over the course of the season. At least one trade before the deadline seems likely, and vets like Randolph and Koufos could ultimately be strong buyout candidates if they’re not moved by February. Stay tuned.

Kings Notes: McLemore, Mason, Giles, Bagley

Shooting guard Ben McLemore has been among the pleasant surprises in Kings‘ training camp, relays Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. The Kings made McLemore the seventh pick in the 2013 draft and he spent the first four years of his NBA career in Sacramento before signing with the Grizzlies last year. The Kings brought him back in a trade this summer.

“My confidence is on high and I want to continue to get better each and every day, help my teammates … and do whatever they want me to do,” McLemore said. “That’s defensive, offensive, whatever the case might be. I’ve prepared myself all summer for this moment, so I’m ready.”

A knee injury to Bogdan Bogdanovic that required arthroscopic surgery could provide an early-season opportunity for McLemore. Bogdanovic is projected to miss four to six weeks, opening up some minutes in the backcourt. McLemore believes he can claim them and likes the up-tempo approach the Kings have adopted.

“The style of play they want to play, it fits me perfect, the way I play, the things I do,” he said. “I shoot the ball well, I run the floor, play defense, all those kinds of things.”

There’s more today from Sacramento:

  • Frank Mason is counting on better judgment to help him win an expanded role this season, Anderson adds in the same story. A backup point guard, Mason excels at getting to the basket but his drives often resulted in turnovers or forced shots. “[Last] year, I got in there and made a couple of wrong decisions, and some games I made the right decisions,” Mason said. “It’s just watching film and making the right reads and the right plays.”
  • Harry Giles is happy that his long wait to play in an NBA game is almost over, Anderson relays in a separate story. The 20th player drafted in 2017, Giles sat out all of last season as the Kings tried to protect his knees after a series of surgical procedures. He showed promise during summer league play and will make his debut in a Kings’ uniform tomorrow night in the preseason opener. “I love Harry’s game,” said teammate Willie Cauley-Stein. “He’s going to be a beast. Like most of us, coming into the league, you’ve got to find that pace, and once you find that pace it’s going to be scary.”
  • Kings fans probably won’t see Giles and this year’s top pick, Marvin Bagley, in the lineup together for a while, Anderson writes in another piece.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Knight, Kings

There’s pressure on the Lakers to get a second star, but it’s far from urgent, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report writes. So long as the franchise continues to practice patience, they’ll remain flexible enough to have options.

As things stand, the club has $5.7MM in cap space. That figure could grow to as much as $15.5MM if the club waives and stretches Luol Deng‘s contract over three seasons. They can get as high as $22.8MM if they can unload the deal altogether with “at least a first-rounder attached,” Pincus says. That flexibility would make a Brandon Ingram-for-Kawhi Leonard swap financially feasible.

Of course the Lakers could wait to see if a different trade for a star beckons, as reports suggest with Jimmy Butler and as is at least borderline conceivable with Damian Lillard.

An alternative to making a move this season would be giving center Brook Lopez the Lakers’ remaining $5.7MM of cap space on a one-year deal, retaining all of their young players in an audition to see who best fits with LeBron James, then going out shopping for a star next summer.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division tonight:

Kings Sign Marvin Bagley III To Rookie Deal

The Kings have signed Marvin Bagley III to a rookie scale contract, according to a team press release. At 120% of the scale, his first-year salary will come in at approximately $7.31MM.

Sacramento selected Bagley with the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft. During his lone season at Duke, the big man was just one of four freshmen in the nation to average a double-double with points and rebounds. He averaged 21.0 points, 11.1 boards, and 1.5 assists in 33.9 minutes per night at the collegiate level.

Bagley will help lead an inexperienced Kings’ roster this upcoming season. Including his deal, Sacramento has nine players under contract who are on their rookie contracts, a figure that leads the league. That total does not include Bogdan Bogdanovic, who’s on his first contract in the league, but not bound to a rookie scale.

Kings Expected To Draft Marvin Bagley III At No. 2

While the Kings were linked to Michael Porter Jr. and Luka Doncic at various times throughout the pre-draft process, the team appears to be locked in on Marvin Bagley III with the No. 2 pick.

After ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area, among others, indicated earlier this afternoon that Bagley was looking more and more like the Kings’ man at No. 2, a slew of other reliable reporters have corroborated that news.

Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Marc Stein of The New York Times, Sam Amick of USA Today, and Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports have all reported that the Kings are zeroed in on Bagley with the second overall pick (all four Twitter links).

It has long been assumed that the Suns will draft Deandre Ayton with the No. 1 pick, so we now have a good idea of which two players will come off the board first tonight. Things could get interesting at No. 3, where teams may look to move up to snag Doncic, and at No. 4, a pick which has been mentioned in trade rumors for weeks.

As for the Kings, assuming they make it official with Bagley, they’ll head into the 2018/19 season with their top two long-term building blocks in the frontcourt – Bagley and Harry Giles – having not yet appeared in a single NBA game.