Will the Miami Heat help another disgruntled star or franchise out of their misery? Rumors are circulating about the Sacramento Kings of Hassan Whiteside and DeMarcus Cousins fame wanting to salvage their season by shaking up their roster.
James Ham of NBCSports writes, “At 14-22, the Kings are set to be movers and shakers at the NBA’s trade deadline. Sources have confirmed to NBC Sports California that the team has been extremely active on the phones over the last two weeks.”
“’Rival executives say [Marvin] Bagley III is up for discussion in trade talks, but the interest in him is widely seen as minimal because of his struggles these past two seasons,’ Amick writes.”
Not knowing that much about Bagley III except that he’s a big guy (6’11”, 235 lb) who was picked instead of Luka Doncic, I looked at Sactown Royalty’s comments about the uproar in “The Kings have reportedly made Marvin Bagley III available in trade talks.”
“The Kings aren’t trying to get Bagley out of Sacramento. Rather, they have made an effort to feature Bagley this season by keeping him in the starting lineup. This is despite the fact that the team’s best five-man unit does not include Bagley, and that Nemanja Bjelica has outplayed him in limited minutes, even though Bjelica is often in reserve-heavy lineups while Bagley has the benefit of playing with the starters.
“In fact, the team’s insistence on prioritizing Bagley as a part of the future has upset Bjelica, to the point where he chose not to play while Bagley was in the starting lineup, per Amick and Jones.”
Some of the unfiltered comments on that post include,
“Bagley can’t be traded soon enough so I can quit reading this kind of crap. The worst decision in franchise history was drafting Marvin Bagley over Luka Doncic.”
“Marvin, we know you want to be traded, but you are not as good (to NBA decision makers) as you think you are. Try harder.”
“McNair already has an acceptable trade lined up, but it’s not a big return, so this leak is designed to soften the blow a bit for Kings fans.”
Despite what some vocal Kings’ fans believe about Bagley, Ham writes, “At 21-years-old, the former No. 2 overall pick from the 2018 NBA Draft is having a solid season for the Kings. He’s currently averaging 14.1 points and 7.6 rebounds in 26 minutes per game for Sacramento.”
“When the Kings made it a priority to start Bagley at the start of this season, sources say the veteran who lost his starting spot — 32-year-old forward Nemanja Bjelica — was incensed at the idea that he’d been supplanted simply because he wasn’t part of the long-term plan,” the Athletic Sources say Bjelica chose not to play from Jan. 9 until his return to the rotation on Feb. 12, in large part, because of his strong disagreement with the decision and the reasons behind it.”
At this point of the season the main purpose of a trade for the Heat is to win a championship by giving Bam Adebayo much needed help against bigger players at the rim, and a breather to keep his knees healthy. Bagley and Bjelica offer contrasting solutions towards that goal: one is youthful presence, the other a skilled veteran.
Befitting a high lottery pick Bagley checks the boxes as an athletic big man who needs validation that he belongs in the NBA. His role for the Heat would be the opposite of what it is Sacramento. Bagley would join Precious Achiuwa as a duo in backing up Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk. Bagley III was born in March of 1999 and Achiuwa in September of 1999. The two would have a similar timeline to polish their skills over the remainder of the season.
Bjelica’s role might be to slide in alongside Goran Dragic and provide an outstanding bench unit which could log starter’s minutes. That strategy would also serve to keep starters healthy, but in a different way than Achiuwa and Bagley. Bjelica did well with Butler as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Besides his skill as 3-point shooter, this video in a game versus the Heat highlights his ability to score at the rim as two of three Heat defenders watch during one play.
A major issue of Bagley III versus Bjelica swap is what Miami might have to give up in return. The pieces needed to do a deal could be quite different depending on the player. For instance the Kings might demand Achiuwa for Bagley, versus Kelly Olynyk for Bjelica. An old cliché is the best trade happens when both parties believe they gave up too much.