The drama between Marvin Bagley III and the Kings continues to magnify, as he reportedly refused to enter a recent loss against the Phoenix Suns when asked by coach Luke Walton. Now, the Detroit Pistons have expressed trade interest in Bagley, NBA Insider Marc Stein reported on Friday citing league sources.
"While in Detroit, I was advised to put the Pistons down as a team to watch as a trade suitor for the Kings' disgruntled Marvin Bagley III," Stein writes. "No trade anywhere is considered likely, sources stressed, until after Dec. 15 arrives and the league’s pool of players eligible to be dealt grows considerably. That’s the date that trade restrictions on numerous players who signed new contracts in free agency in August gets lifted.
"The Pistons, though, have been tracking Bagley since last season, league sources said — long before the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 fell completely out of favor in Sacramento."
The Kings will play in Detroit on Monday, as their four-game road trip continues.
Bagley's dissatisfaction with the situation in Sacramento has been lingering over the organization for some time.
Kings coach Luke Walton did not address the reported incident with Bagley refusing to enter the game, but also did not deny what happened.
"Our guys all know, this is what's expected out of us as a group," Walton said. "Marvin and I are constantly in communication, and today was about San Antonio, and today was a very good shootaround, and we're going into tonight. But he and everyone else knows, we need everyone this year and everyone has to be ready.
"I'm not getting into it," he added. "Anything that happens within our group, that's between our group. The thing that matters is people know what's expected and that we continue to move forward."
A change of scenery likely is the best thing for both sides at this point, but finding a trade that benefits everybody won't be easy. The Kings understandably are not going to part ways with a former No. 2 overall draft pick for pennies on the dollar, no matter how dysfunctional the situation has gotten.
Bagley's agent, Jeff Schwartz, blasted the Kings in October after learning that the forward would not be part of the opening night rotation.
So who could the Kings potentially get in exchange from the Pistons for Bagley? The Athletic's Jason Jones and James Edwards III agreed on one potential name that might work for both sides, in 24-year-old wing Josh Jackson.
Jackson, a former top-five draft pick himself, has struggled to latch on with an NBA team and signed with Detroit this offseason. Jackson is averaging 8.5 points and 4.2 rebounds in 22.1 minutes per game so far for the Pistons, shooting 42.1 percent from the field and just 25.7 percent from behind the 3-point line.
The forward is due $4.7 million this season as part of the two-year contract he signed in the summer. Bagley is collecting $11.3 million in the final year of his rookie contract. The financials would be complicated here, as the Pistons likely would need to send another player to level out the money changing hands. Jones and Edwards both threw out Trey Lyles -- who is set to earn $2.5 million in 2021-22 -- as a potential sweetener on the deal.
Taking on an extra player would force the Kings to make a corresponding move, as they would be over the roster limit.
Jackson and Lyles both theoretically could shore up the Kings' guard-heavy roster. Jackson in particular would provide some much-needed depth behind Harrison Barnes and Moe Harkless.
Depending on how desperate the Kings are to fulfill Bagley's long-standing trade request, more offers likely will come in as the season wears on. Perhaps a contender believes Bagley's talent is worth the potential headache and gives him a chance, or a fledgling squad like Detroit simply hopes the forward can thrive in a new setting and takes a flyer.
This will be a developing situation all the way up to the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 10. Expect to see Bagley's name as part of plenty of hypothetical trade scenarios until then.