Storyline: Marvin Bagley Injury

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He has to be frustrated seeing second-year players such as Luka Doncic (a legitimate league MVP candidate) and Trae Young (a legitimate All-Star candidate) receive praise while he’s missed Sacramento’s past 20 games after breaking his right thumb in the season opener Oct. 23 at Phoenix. This has to weigh heavily on Bagley’s mind, right? If it does, Bagley is adept at not letting it show. “It’s not tough for me,” Bagley said. “I want to play bad, but at the same time, my body is important. I can’t afford to come back and have something else hurt and miss some more time. I’ve got to make sure the body feels great, everything’s back, I’ve got to take care of my body, continue to push. I’m almost there.”

“The bone is healing and everything is feeling good on that part,” Bagley said. “As far as the strength in my hand, it’s not where I want it to be yet. I’m getting there, day-by-day, just doing what the team wants me doing, strengthening it, exercises on it with playdough, this thumb (tool) that I use to test the strength in it. So I’m getting there. I’m going in the right direction, I’m almost there. It’s around the corner for me, I think it’s around the corner. It’s hard to say when, but I’ll be back soon.”

Kings forward Marvin Bagley III is ramping up individual workouts and nearing a return after missing the past month with a broken thumb, but coach Luke Walton said he hasn’t determined how he will use Bagley when he gets back. Walton said Bagley is scheduled to be reevaluated Wednesday and will accompany the team on a four-game East Coast road trip. Bagley has been out since suffering a non-displaced fracture of his right thumb in the team’s season opener against the Phoenix Suns.
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January 19, 2020 | 6:54 am UTC Update

Hawks an option for Montrezl Harrell?

If the Clippers don’t believe they can win with a 6’7″ center, especially one hoping for what is believed to be a $20 million-per-season payday, then they risk losing Harrell as a free agent. (Multiple executives believe the Atlanta Hawks could be a summer destination.) Los Angeles would have his rights and the ability to sign-and-trade him to another team, but that’s a move entirely dependent on Harrell’s participation.
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Another possibility for Harkless and considerations, one NBA source suggested, could be Thaddeus Young of the Chicago Bulls, who has $34.6 million of his $40.6 million guaranteed through the 2021-22 season. “They could go after Drummond, but if they’re sending out Zubac, Harkless and filler [like Rodney McGruder], they still have the issue that they’re not going to play Drummond with Harrell,” the Eastern Conference executive said.

Clippers eyeing Aron Baynes?

“They take up the same space on the court. The Clippers simply don’t play them together,” the Eastern Conference executive said. “Montrezl is getting 29 minutes a game, so even if the Clippers added on another center, where would those minutes come? They would need a floor-spacer.” In part, that’s why the Clippers have had their eye on Aron Baynes of the Phoenix Suns (17-24), though they are still looking to make a playoff push, just two games behind the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies (20-22). Baynes is a strong, experienced defender who can space the floor. Giving up Zubac for Baynes could make sense if the Clippers reinvest in Harrell, but would the Suns have any interest in Zubac’s four-year, $28.5 million deal as a backup for Deandre Ayton?
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I don’t have any data to immediately quantify this, but I can say with certainty that LeBron has never spoken less frequently to reporters than he has this season. I’m going to leave last year to the side because he missed a career-high 27 games. He’s healthy this season, just not nearly as available. I’m not criticizing him for this, it’s simply true. Between the Lakers’ lack of practices and shootarounds, and LeBron’s being more willing to share the spotlight with veteran teammates, we’re just hearing less from him on a daily basis than ever before.
When the Hornets head to France next week, there will be a familiar face awaiting their arrival. As in the one who wore the No. 9 in purple and teal last season. Tony Parker is expected to be at some of the festivities, soaking up the retired life. Other than native Frenchman Nic Batum, there probably will not be anyone more thrilled to give Parker a bear hug than Willy Hernangomez. The two became tight during Parker’s 10 months in Charlotte. Hernangomez was almost like a little brother to Parker and they still communicate frequently.
“He helped me out a lot,” Hernangomez said. “Honestly, hanging with Tony on and off the court is always unbelievable. He’s always given me good advice. Even right now we are pretty close. Almost every two weeks we are in touch to see how the situation is and how he can help me. I’m looking forward to seeing him in Paris. He’s a really close friend of mine. It’s a really good thing that happened to me last year. A legend in Europe, a legend in the NBA. We really enjoyed playing together and I missed him this year. And hopefully, I can see him and spend time with him.”
January 19, 2020 | 1:16 am UTC Update
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