Marvin Bagley III

Pacific Notes: Howard, Nnaji, Bjelica, Hield

Veteran center Dwight Howard, who will be back on the free agent market after the Finals, is thankful the Lakers took a chance on him, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets. Howard was moved into the starting lineup during the conference finals. “It’s been the hardest road to get back here. I’m very grateful,” he said. “I’ve never given up on myself.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Power forward prospects Zeke Nnaji and Jalen Smith have interviewed the Suns, according to Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. Nnaji, who played at Arizona, is ranked No. 35 overall by ESPN, while Maryland’s Smith is considered first-round material at No. 20. The Suns currently own just one pick in the draft, the No. 10 overall selection.
  • The Kings’ decision on whether to retain forward Nemanja Bjelica could hinge on how much new GM Monte McNair values Marvin Bagley III, as well as the team’s financial constraints, Jason Jones of The Athletic writes. The Kings hold a $7.15MM option on Bjelica’s contract next season but re-signing Bogdan Bogdanovic is an even bigger priority, Jones continues. If Sacramento drafts another power forward, the team may find Bjelica expendable, Jones adds.
  • The Knicks, Sixers, Grizzlies and Hornets are some of the teams that might be willing to absorb Buddy Hield‘s four-year, $106MM extension and make a deal for the Kings‘ shooting guard, Frank Urbina of HoopsHype speculates. All four of those teams could benefit from the outside shooting of Hield, who had a somewhat disappointing season after signing his extension, which kicks in next season.

Kings Notes: Divac, Bagley, Ranadive, Perry

In an interview with Marcos Breton of The Sacramento Bee, former Kings general manager Vlade Divac discusses his most controversial moves, including the draft day decision from two years ago that likely ended his time with the franchise. Divac got a phone call Friday from owner Vivek Ranadive telling him that Joe Dumars was taking over the front office, but Divac’s fate was probably sealed when he used the second pick in the 2018 draft to take Marvin Bagley III instead of Luka Doncic.

Bagley has played 75 combined games in two injury-filled seasons, while Doncic has quickly become an All-Star. Divac admits the decision became a source of tension with the owner, explaining that he saw Bagley as a better fit and remains confident he has a bright future.

“That was my decision,” Divac said. “I still believe Marvin has big upside. But I needed more time to prove it. I’m sure Marvin is going to prove everybody wrong. But in this league, you need to produce right now. People don’t have patience but I’m OK with that.”

Also in the interview, Divac talks about his decision not to pick up Harry Giles‘ option, the hiring of Luke Walton as head coach and Buddy Hield‘s frustration with his reserve role.

There’s more Kings news this morning:

  • Divac turned down Ranadive’s offer to remain in the front office and share power with Dumars, according to Sam Amick and Jason Jones of The Athletic. After conducting exit interviews with Kings players, Divac spoke with Ranadive again later in the day, but the owner hadn’t changed his mind. Sources tell the authors that Divac will be paid for the remainder of his contract, which runs through the 2022/23 season, and that Walton’s job remains safe.
  • Knicks general manager Scott Perry may be a candidate to replace Divac, suggests Marc Berman of The New York Post. Perry spent a short time with the Sacramento front office before coming to New York and reportedly left on good terms. He also has experience working for Dumars in Detroit. Knicks president Leon Rose recently exercised Perry’s option for next season, but he may not have much job security with a new management team in place.
  • The Kings will take their time finding a new general manager, and the search could extend into next season, writes Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Goodwill thinks Dumars might opt for a younger executive, similar to his experience with the Pistons when he took over the front office at age 37.

Pacific Notes: Rubio, Suns, Holmes, Bagley

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday for the first time since entering the NBA’s Walt Disney World campus, Suns guard Ricky Rubio acknowledged that his delayed arrival was a result of testing positive for the coronavirus, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN. As Lopez writes, Rubio said he’ll have to be careful about ramping back up to game speed after not just enduring a four-month hiatus but dealing with the virus as well.

“I’m good. I don’t have symptoms,” Rubio said. “Now that I’m back playing, after being out for three or four months, your legs feel it, your lungs feel it. That’s something I have to work on and figure out how to give my best to the team and focus on my health too.”

As Lopez relays, Rubio didn’t say when he first tested positive for COVID-19, but admitted that it was hard on him to have his family back in Spain while he dealt with the virus in Phoenix.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Suns officials said this week that the team’s new $45MM practice facility is on track to be completed by late August or early September, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. The team had to use its old arena, the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, for individual workouts in the weeks leading up to the trip to Orlando as construction progressed on the new facility.
  • Kings center Richaun Holmes, who was subjected to a 10-day quarantine period at Walt Disney World after inadvertently crossing the campus line, explained his mistake to reporters on Wednesday. “Ordered some wings and went to grab the wings, but I really wasn’t too aware of the borders,” Holmes said, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. “I kind of knew what was going on, but the specific area I was in, I wasn’t aware. So, yeah, I stepped out and grabbed the food and came back, and they just let me know they wanted to be as safe as possible. They had to enforce the rules and I completely understand that, so I won’t make that mistake again.”
  • Despite an injury-plagued sophomore season for Marvin Bagley III, the Kings‘ support for the former No. 2 overall pick hasn’t wavered, Anderson writes in a separate Sacramento Bee story. “We know what kind of player he’s going to be,” head coach Luke Walton said of Bagley, who is out for the season with a foot injury. “He’s going to have a great career. And we’ve got to keep him healthy and he’s got to continue to work, which he’s proven to do since I’ve been here as far as every time that he’s gotten injured. So it’s going to be a big offseason, but I’m confident that he’ll attack that with everything he has.”
  • In case you missed it, we rounded up a series of updates on all five Pacific teams on Wednesday, and earlier today passed along word that Lakers forward Markieff Morris has cleared quarantine at the NBA’s Orlando campus.

Marvin Bagley III Ruled Out For Season Restart

Kings big man Marvin Bagley III has officially been ruled out for the NBA’s season restart due to a lateral sprain in his right foot following an MRI on Sunday evening, according to Sam Amick and Shams Charania of the Athletic (Twitter link). He is expected to be in a walking boot for the next two weeks, Charania tweets.

A press release from the team indicates that Bagley suffered the injury in a team scrimmage on Sunday (h/t to James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area who first tweeted the announcement).

Bagley, the No. 2 pick in a loaded 2018 draft that has already yielded two All-Stars, posted 2019/20 season averages of 14.2 PPG and 7.5 RPG across just 13 games in 25.7 MPG. He also missed 20 games during his 2018/19 rookie season.

Bagley had previously missed most of his second season as a result of a left foot sprain and a thumb injury. This right foot sprain is a new injury. In addition to this being a long-term situation to monitor for the 6’11” Duke alum, this also spells bad short-term news for the Kings. Teams can only replace players afflicted with COVID-19 when on the Disney World campus, not players who get injured on-site.

Bagley is not the only current absent player for the Kings. Forward Harrison Barnes has yet to report to the NBA’s campus after contracting the coronavirus earlier this month. Starting point guard De’Aaron Fox returned to non-contact drills with the team today as he continues to recover from a less severe ankle injury.

At  28-36, the team is the eleventh seed in the Western Conference and was thus already a long shot to make the playoffs even before these absences.

Kings Await MRI Results On Bagley Foot Injury

Kings forward/center Marvin Bagley III underwent an MRI on Sunday night after suffering a right foot injury during practice, the team announced today in a press release. Sacramento is awaiting the results of that MRI.

It’s possible the injury won’t be a significant one, but if it forces Bagley to miss some time, it’ll be a tough break for both the team and the former No. 2 overall pick.

The Kings have already been affected by some bad luck in recent weeks, as four of their players – Buddy Hield, Jabari Parker, Alex Len, and Harrison Barnes – have tested positive for the coronavirus. De’Aaron Fox also suffered a sprained ankle, while Richaun Holmes was subjected to a 10-day quarantine period at Walt Disney World after accidentally crossing the NBA’s campus line.

Hield and Parker have since returned to practice, Len has cleared his quarantine period (per Jason Jones of The Athletic), and Holmes is close to doing so. Additionally, Fox’s ankle injury doesn’t appear serious. Still, the Kings haven’t had a full roster since reporting to Disney earlier in the month.

As for Bagley, he missed most of his sophomore NBA season with a foot injury, appearing in just 13 games this season. The hope was that he’d be back to full health and ready to contribute this summer, but that’s now up in the air. For what it’s worth, Bagley was sidelined for much of the season by a left foot ailment, so this is a new injury.

Pacific Notes: Bagley, Clippers, Lakers, Morris

The Kings were one of 22 teams chosen to play in the NBA’s restart, which begins in a couple of weeks in Orlando, Florida. The Kings are currently 3.5 games behind Memphis for the eighth seed and could make the playoffs if they can play how they did before the season was suspended.

That will hinge not only on how De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield play, but also how Kings head coach Luke Walton utilizes second-year big man Marvin Bagley. This past weekend, Walton was asked about where does the former Duke standout fit on the court and responded by saying that Bagley is a position-less player.

“We see Marvin as a player that, down the road, is going to be pretty much a position-less type of basketball player,” Walton said. “For now, and getting him back, we got him getting most of his reps at the five and the four.”

Richard Ivanowski of The Sacramento Bee disagrees with Walton’s assessment and opines that Bagley should be considered a center or big man. Ivanowski points out that the former second overall pick struggles to shoot from three-point range (28.8%) and is not someone who can initiate the offense. Instead, Bagley is better around the rim and is an adequate defensive rebounder.

Here’s more from around the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers guard Terance Mann, who is the team’s NBPA rep, told reporters on Tuesday that the players’ decision to play was “a pretty long process,” per ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk (Twitter link). The Clippers, who will be back in action on July 30 against the Lakers, had several Zoom conversations about the restart before deciding to participate, Mann said.
  • Mann also told reporters that he is back to full contact after undergoing hand surgery in March, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Anthony Slater and John Hollinger of The Athletic discussed the current state of the Lakers and where they’ll go from here. The Athletic duo talked about how Los Angeles did in free agency last summer, what to do with Kyle Kuzma (who is eligible for an extension this offseason), and Anthony Davis‘ future.
  • According to Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register (Twitter link), veteran forward Markieff Morris, who has an excused absence, is expected to join the Lakers soon in Disney World.

Kings Notes: Fox, Walton, Parker, Bagley

The long layoff hasn’t changed De’Aaron Fox‘s mind about wanting to sign a long-term contract with the Kings, reports James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. On a Zoom session with the media today, Fox confirmed he still hopes to work out a rookie scale extension once the offseason arrives.

“I see myself being here. I want to be here,” he said. “Obviously, you know we want to win and right now, I think last year, we put ourselves in a good position. This year, we’re sort of in the same position to still make the playoffs. So that’s what we all want and then continue to take the next step forward.”

In his third NBA season, Fox has developed into one of the league’s most exciting young point guards and the focus of his franchise. A league source tells Ham that some extension negotiations have already taken place, but they are on hold because of uncertainty over the salary cap. Fox is eligible for a new deal that could extend his current contract by up to five years.

There’s more from Sacramento:

  • Fox believes the Kings are being unfairly overlooked by the national media, Ham writes in a separate story. Sacramento is tied with the Pelicans and Trail Blazers in the Western Conference playoff race, but was ignored by ESPN and The Ringer in two widely reported incidents. “I think it’s disrespectful that we don’t even stand a chance, like we shouldn’t be there,” he said. “The slow start is what it is, but at the end of the day, I feel like we have just as much of a chance as these other teams.”
  • Coach Luke Walton told the media he has talked to Jabari Parker about a weekend incident in which he was filmed playing tennis in a Chicago park without a face mask, Ham adds in another piece. Parker was one of three Kings reported last week to have tested positive for COVID-19, but he said his in-house quarantine was complete and he was social distancing during the game. “I talked to Jabari about being out in public and kind of reminded him, one, that even though he’s been cleared to end his self-isolation, we still can’t have anyone who gets sick doing hard physical work until a later date when you’re cleared by doctors,” Walton said. Parker remains in Chicago, and Walton isn’t sure if he will fly to Sacramento for camp or wait to join the team in Orlando.
  • The training staff expects Marvin Bagley III to be ready when the season resumes, tweets Jason Jones of The Athletic. The second-year forward has played just 13 games this year because of a left foot sprain and a broken thumb.

Pacific Notes: Green, Oubre, Bagley, Lakers

Lakers teammates Dwight Howard and Avery Bradley have expressed concerns about playing in the Orlando bubble during troubled times, but Danny Green believes that NBA players can make a stronger social statement by playing. Green made his comments in an interview with Caron Butler on the NBA’s Twitter account (hat tip to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps). “I think we can use the platform to our advantage and enhance it,” Green said. “I mean, I see both sides. …  There are going to be cameras all over Orlando, so they can see exactly what we want and what we’re trying to do. So I think it’s an advantage to us to get down there and use that platform to keep the movement alive.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Although he’s not expected to be healthy enough to participate, Suns forward Kelly Oubre is grateful his team was given the opportunity to play again this season, as he told Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype. He believes it will be beneficial for the club’s development. “We have to continue to get better each and every day,” he said. “We haven’t done anything yet. So our main goal should be to just lock in and just continue to just focus on getting better and coming back next year, better than ever.”
  • The Kings will likely go smaller in their starting lineup with Richaun Holmes at center and Harrison Barnes playing power forward, according to Jason Jones of The Athletic. In that scenario, Marvin Bagley III — the second overall pick in the 2018 draft — would come off the bench. Coach Luke Walton could also employ some three-guard looks in Orlando with De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic on the court at the same time.
  • The Lakers have hired Dr. Karida Brown as Director of Racial Equity & Action, according to a team press release. Dr. Brown will create a curriculum to help the Lakers staff enrich their knowledge on urgent topics, as well as helping to identify ways the team can be more active and efficient in creating change.

Western Notes: Lakers Loan, Bagley, Walton, Towns

The Lakers returned a $4.6MM loan they received from a federal government program intended to help small businesses during by the coronavirus pandemic, according to ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz. The Lakers applied for relief through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. When many small businesses were shut out of the program, the team opted to return the money.

“Once we found out the funds from the program had been depleted, we repaid the loan so that financial support would be directed to those most in need,” the team said in a statement. “The Lakers remain completely committed to supporting both our employees and our community.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Kings coach Luke Walton isn’t sure how much big man Marvin Bagley III will play if the season resumes, Jason Jones of The Athletic reports. Bagley has played in only 13 games this season due to a left foot sprain and a broken thumb. “In talking to Marvin, he feels much better,” said Walton, who added Bagley would still have to go through protocols during injury rehab, including three-on-three and five-on-five play.
  • Walton struck an optimistic tone regarding his club in the same story from Jones. “I love where we’re at as a group,” Walton said. “I think our future is bright, I think we have a great group of guys. This is a hard thing, winning consistently in any pro sport is hard. But when you get a good group of guys that works hard and likes each other and is willing to trust each other, I think, is how you make that happen.” Sacramento was 28-36 when play was halted but had won seven of its last 10 games.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the Timberwolves and it has brought organization members closer on an emotional level, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes. Karl-Anthony Towns’ mother, Jacqueline, and a relative of Malik Beasley succumbed to complications from the virus. “We’ve done everything possible for our players and our staff and their families to make sure they’re as safe as possible,” president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said. “Once it affects you the way it’s affected us now, we’re ultra-sensitive to the fact that we want to be here for our players and their families and our staff.”

Marvin Bagley III Out At Least Three More Weeks

It’s turning into a lost sophomore season for Marvin Bagley III, who remains sidelined with a left foot injury. The Kings announced today in a press release that Bagley, whose injury is a mid-foot sprain, continues to work through the “reconditioning” process under the supervision of team doctors and foot specialist Dr. Martin O’Malley.

According to the Kings, the next update on Bagley’s status will come in three weeks, which means he’ll remain on the shelf through at least March 12. Even if last year’s No. 2 overall pick is ready to get back on the court at that point, which is hardly a lock, he’ll miss Sacramento’s next 11 games and would return with just one month left in the season.

Bagley had a promising rookie season for the Kings in 2018/19, averaging 14.9 PPG and 7.6 RPG in 62 games (25.3 MPG). He was expected to be a key player in the team’s push for a postseason berth this year, but has been limited to just 13 games due to health issues.

Bagley is one of several important Kings players who have battled injuries this season. De’Aaron Fox, Richaun Holmes, and Bogdan Bogdanovic have each missed between 11 and 19 games so far.