The Sacramento Kings are 3-3 to start the season, have beaten red-hot Phoenix, and show some promise with their young core. For a team trying to snap a 14-year playoff drought, that’s a promising start — and that’s the talking point the Kings want out there.
So Marvin Bagley III’s father cast a shadow over everything. It’s all just so very Kings.
The father Tweeted, then deleted, a request for the Kings to trade Bagley.
Deleting a Tweet never stops anything. It was a big enough story that after the Kings’ loss to the Rockets Saturday, coach Luke Walton had to answer a question about it.
“My message is always the same: We don’t listen to any of that. It’s us within these walls, us within this locker room. We’re in this together. Good or bad, whatever people are saying, we’ve got to do everything we can to not let that affect what we’re trying to get done here.”
Bagley, the former No. 2 pick (in front of Luka Doncic and Trae Young, which was part of Vlade Divac’s downfall as GM), has averaged an inefficient 11.8 points and 8 rebounds a game for Sacramento this season and has not looked like a guy who has found his rhythm yet coming off injuries that held him to 13 games last season. Injuries have held Bagley back since the start of his NBA career — Saturday was just game 81 in three seasons — but Sacramento believed this was the year he would break through.
Bagley is shooting 37.5% overall, 30.8% from three, and has a dreadful 43.7 true shooting percentage, so far this season.
Bagley’s father has a long history of unflattering Tweets about the Kings, particularly shots at coach Luke Walton.
This Tweet — whether or not he supports it — puts the younger Bagley in an impossible spot. If he supports his father it looks like he wants to be traded; if he says, “No, I don’t want to be traded,” then he throws his father under the bus. It’s no win for him.
The Kings have gotten off to a faster start than expected in the West, with De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, and Harrison Barnes leading the way. Instead of talking about that and dreaming of the playoffs, Sacramento’s focus is suddenly on Bagley and his father, with trade talk thrown in. It’s all just so very Kings.