Marvin Bagley III doesn’t want to talk about it.
The Kings’ third-year big doesn’t want to talk about his father popping off on Twitter and demanding that his son be traded.
“Before we start, I just want to say that if there are no questions about the game tomorrow or what we’re going to do tomorrow, please don’t ask, I don’t want to give any extra information on nothing,” Bagley said on Sunday to open his media availability. “If you don’t have any questions about the team and tomorrow’s game, then hold off.”
Maybe that’s fair. At the end of the day, it wasn’t the player who caused a controversy, although he easily could have done his part to put the story to rest.
This is a complex situation that has no easy solution. The issues that Team Bagley appears to have with the Kings is that head coach Luke Walton has chosen to not to leave his starting power forward on the court in the fourth quarter.
Over the last three games, Bagley has played a total of a minute and 43 seconds in the fourth quarter. Through six games, he’s played just 14 minutes in the final period, which equates to a little over two minutes per game.
In Walton’s defense, the play of Richaun Holmes and Harrison Barnes, especially in the final quarter, are a big reason why the Kings are 3-3 on the season. Those two are eating the time that would potentially go to Bagley.
“The experience that they’ve gone through already, there is a trust and a chemistry built there,” Walton said.
This isn’t personal. It isn’t a slight on Bagley or his ability to help the team. It’s a decision that a coach has to make and Walton relies heavily on the players that he has an established trust with.
At the end of the day, Walton has to balance the development of young players with winning games. Ultimately, it is his responsibility to do what he feels is best for the entire team.
While Walton needs to manage the expectations of individual players, he certainly can’t concern himself with the wants and needs of family members on the outside looking in.
“As a coach, my belief is never let a little thing turn into a big thing,” Walton said. “You don’t have to overreact too much, but you’ve got to address and communicate things out.”
Walton has a laid back demeanor off the court. He’s also known for his ability to communicate with his team, be it in Golden State, in LA with the Lakers or in his first season-plus with the Kings.
Bagley said that he and Walton have had multiple conversations about his role, which the Kings’ coach confirmed as well.
“Throughout my time here we’ve had a lot of good talks and about honest things,” Walton said. “Which is what I believe a coach and player should have. This is nothing different, nothing new.”
Neither Walton, nor Bagley would divulge the content of those conversations, but they are likely similar to the ones the coach is having with the other 16 members of the team.
As for Bagley, he’s trying to forge ahead with a positive attitude and block out the negative that has unfortunately surrounded him throughout his career.
“What people say don’t make or break me,” Bagley said. “At the end of the day, I’m the same person. I have the same goals that I’ve had since I set them out for myself and I’m just going after them. All the other noise and all the extra stuff doesn’t even matter.”
Despite the latest drama, Bagley has been solid for Sacramento. He’s struggled with his shot, but the sample size is small. He’s averaging 11.8 points and eight rebounds in 25 minutes per game, which is a good starting place. If he can remain healthy and continue to gain valuable experience, all of this should work itself out.