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OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 21: Marvin Bagley III #35 of the Sacramento Kings reacts after making a basket against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on February 21, 2019 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
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The Bagley Camp Knows EXACTLY What It’s Doing

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

“Marvin Bagley is making such a dumb mistake here,” I heard the other day.

This was in response to his latest salvo, an “explanation” as to why he liked a tweet saying he needed to “get out of Sacramento”.

The idea was two-fold:

1. It’s his twitter, he can like and say what he wishes.

2. It was his competitive nature, seeing Trae Young shine in the playoffs stoked his fires- he wants to be in that spotlight and have a relevant postseason team.

Lets start with the basics: Both sentiments are 100% true, no argument. It IS his twitter, and he CAN like and say what he wishes. But like many of the faux “free speech” arguments we see today, yes you can say what you want- but understand people can also REACT how they want.

On the second, there’s nothing wrong with saying he wants to be in the playoffs, who doesn’t? But the implication there is that in order to get into the playoffs, he needs to be on a different team. By the way, after 16 years of missing the postseason, he may be right, but woo buddy that’s a bad look.

Kevin Durant to this day gets skewered for joining the Warriors, and he was in a completely different stratosphere than Marvin Bagley. Also, juxtapose that with the video De’Aaron Fox put out a couple seasons ago, describing how obsessed he was with bringing the Kings back to the postseason.

It’s a BAD look.

But its NOT a dumb mistake.

Whether on purpose or not, Team Bagley is doing exactly what they need to do to accomplish their goal of exiting Sacramento, post haste. The only entity hurt in this saga will be the Kings, and by proxy Kings fans.

The bottom line? It is a near-certainty that Bagley has played his last game in a Kings uniform.

Kings GM Monte McNair quietly tried to shop Bagley near the trade deadline last season, to no avail. While there’s no questioning his talent, its his inability to stay healthy that has his value stymied. Couple that with a “camp” that has shown itself to be a distraction, and his almost complete inability to grasp defensive concepts, and you have a perfect storm of bottomed-out value.

Truth is, had Bagley not been a #2 pick, he would’ve been gone a long time ago. Counterpoint: Had he not been a #2 pick he also likely wouldn’t have the sense of entitlement (or to be fair, fan pressures) that we see today.

By playing the passive-aggressive social media game, by having his “camp” put out late night tweets disparaging the organization and coach, he has finally put the Kings and Monte McNair in an impossible position.

Barring a change of heart and press conference/bare-all interview professing his love for the team and city, Marvin Bagley cannot open the season in a Kings uniform.

For starters, the fans would boo him off the floor. Never in the history of the Sacramento Kings have we seen a CURRENT King get the reaction Marvin would next season at Golden One Center. Kings fans don’t ask for much, but they do require a commitment to the team and the city. Take bad shots, lose games, but if you hustle and profess your love for the fans, its all gravy.

McNair should grant Team Bagley’s wish and move him, but send him to Philly or the Knicks or Celtics. Let the Bagley camp experience life in an actual hardcore sports market with the media sharks they’re famous for.

Let Team Bagley experience Boston morning radio, and the savagery they’re known for. Let them experience brutal media and even more brutal fans who will hammer you for your lack of the number one ability in sports: AVAILABILITY.

Sacramento is a pillowfight in comparison.

The Kings drafted a lemon. It’s that simple. Maybe he’ll excel somewhere else, but it ain’t gonna be here. And when talking about team culture, you don’t want someone who doesn’t want to be here.

If Team Bagley at this point doesn’t feel a sense of loyalty and debt to the Kings for the time they’ve invested in him, the way they’ve protected and coddled him, and the way they’ve largely kept a lid on the mistakes he continually makes on the floor even when healthy, it won’t happen.

Not to mention the extremely under-publicized and private eye rolls from more than a couple teammates when Team Bagley rears its head. I have seen firsthand that these eye rolls, while nothing to be blown out of proportion, do exist.

It’s basically “here we go again” when they do.

There’s no doubt it’s been a rough road for Bagley in Sacramento, the pressure and unfair bar he’s been held to by simply not being Luka Doncic has been massive. It’s not his fault he’s been injured so much, and his work ethic has never been in question.

But the injuries have happened.

The complete lack of grasping basic team concepts has happened.

Like it or not, but his stints of being pulled in the 4th quarter for parts of last year were for reasons:

– His complete lack of defense

– The team’s want to send the message that those team concepts HAD to be grasped if he wanted crunch time

That’s called development. Some players take it as a constructive process, and meet the moment, whereas others take it as an insult and ask out of the city.

Had Gregg Popovich done the same, it would be hailed as yet another in a long line of tough love moves to make the player better both now and down the road. To be fair, Luke Walton and the Kings have nowhere near that type of credibility, but the fundamentals are still the same and are still correct.

Marvin Bagley will go down as the biggest bust in Kings history. And if he does realize his potential, he will do it on another team.

It’s not personal, by all accounts he’s a great guy from a great family trying to do great things.

But his days in Sacramento are almost surely at an end, and its EXACTLY what he and his camp want.

Don’t call it a dumb mistake, call it a sloppy yet effective strategy.

They know what they’re doing, and now the ball is firmly in Monte McNair’s court.