Fifteen months later, the Sacramento Kings got their man. After the failed Bogdan Bogdanovic sign-and-trade that eventually resulted in a league investigation and the Milwaukee Bucks losing their 2022 second-round pick, Donte DiVincenzo is finally heading to Sacramento in a deal at the 2022 NBA trade deadline.
The Kings will reportedly acquire the 25-year-old wing in a four-team trade that will send 22-year-old big man Marvin Bagley III to the Detroit Pistons. DiVincenzo and Bagley were selected 17th and second, respectively, in the 2018 NBA Draft, and both will be restricted free agents in July. ESPN first reported that DiVincenzo is going to Sacramento; The Athletic first reported that Bagley is going to Detroit. The deal was officially announced on Thursday night.
Here is how the trade shook out, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
- Kings receive: DiVincenzo (from Milwaukee), Josh Jackson (from Detroit), Trey Lyles (from Detroit)
- Pistons receive: Bagley (from Sacramento)
- Clippers receive: Rodney Hood (from Milwaukee), Semi Ojeleye (from Milwaukee)
- Bucks receive: Serge Ibaka (from Los Angeles), two second-round picks, cash
Let’s grade the trade.
Sacramento Kings: A+
For the Kings, this is a home run, regardless of whether or not DiVincenzo sticks. Bagley has had an extremely rocky three-and-a-half seasons, even by Sacramento’s standards, full of injuries, trade rumors, reported discontent, benchings and unmet expectations. He showed some flashes this season, but missed the Kings last six games with an ankle injury. If re-signing with the team that drafted him was extremely unlikely a few days ago, it became a virtual impossibility when Sacramento traded for big man Domantas Sabonis. Like Bagley, Sabonis is a skilled, offense-first, left-handed big man. Unlike Bagley, he is also a multi-time All-Star, a dominant interior presence and the NBA’s best passing big man this side of Nikola Jokic.
DiVincenzo started all 66 of the games he played for the Bucks in the 2020-21 regular season. He started at the beginning of the playoffs, too, before tearing a ligament in his left ankle in Game 3 of the first round. The injury sidelined DiVincenzo for the rest of Milwaukee’s championship run, and, when he and the team could not agree on a contract extension in the offseason, it traded for wing Grayson Allen (and signed Allen to an extension).
The Allen acquisition and extension were signals that, before this year’s deadline, DiVincenzo could be traded for real. He returned from injury on Christmas Day, and this season he has averaged 20.1 minutes off the bench, only surpassing the 27.5 minutes he averaged last year in one single game.
A couple of weeks ago, DiVincenzo told The Athletic’s Eric Nehm that he wanted to stick around, but, if a trade happens, he will be fine with it: “I went through a trade! I experienced that,” he said. “I’m cool. I want to be here. It’s not like I don’t want to be here, I’m just saying I experienced that like, ‘Hey, you’ve been traded.’ I’ve got that call. So with that being said, like what can you control? Your attitude and your effort. I come in every day, and be myself, have a great attitude and control my effort and play hard every day and wherever the chips lay, they lay.”
If you want to quibble with this deal, you can point to the numbers DiVincenzo has put up since the injury. The shooting numbers — 33.1 percent from the field, 28.4 percent from 3, 47 percent true shooting — are particularly ugly, and they suggest that he is not fit for a 3-and-D role, at least right now.
What’s appealing about DiVincenzo, though, is that he is more than a 3-and-D player. Even when he was making 38.1 percent of his spot-up 3s last season, he was better as a cutter, an offensive rebounder and an on-the-fly playmaker. DiVincenzo is a clever offensive player who will love playing off of Sabonis. He will make defensive plays that lead to De’Aaron Fox getting out on the break. The spacing won’t be ideal with the three of them on the floor, but they should be able to make up for that.
And if it doesn’t work out, then Sacramento doesn’t have to re-sign him this summer. All it cost the Kings was a player who was out the door anyway. They could have taken two second-round picks instead, but I prefer DiVincenzo’s upside.
Milwaukee Bucks: B
When the Bucks kinda-sorta traded DiVincenzo to Sacramento in 2020, he was their best trade chip. It was fair to wonder whether or not it was even worth it to trade him for Bogdanovic, provided that it didn’t tilt the odds of Giannis Antetokounmpo signing his extension in either direction. At that point, with two years left on his rookie contract, trading him for two second-round picks would have seemed insane.
To do it now is not insane. It is also not without risk. Between Allen, Pat Connaughton and Wesley Matthews, Milwaukee has wing depth, but what if one of them gets hurt in the playoffs? If Milwaukee’s title odds are lower tomorrow than they were this morning, and particularly if Ibaka’s not part of the playoff rotation and DiVincenzo thrives with the Kings, this move will look questionable.
Ibaka is an enormous variable. Shortly after the Bucks kinda-sorta traded DiVincenzo the first time, Ibaka signed what looked like a discount deal with the Clippers for the midlevel exception: two years, $19 million, with a player option on the second season. In the two seasons since then, he has been limited by a back injury. If Milwaukee were definitely getting the player it faced in the 2019 Eastern Conference finals, this would be a relatively simple case of the defending champions deciding that a dependable veteran big is more important than a young, two-way wing.
The Bucks are gambling that they won’t need DiVincenzo, they’re gambling that Ibaka will be healthy and productive when they need him and they’re protecting themselves against bad news about starting center Brook Lopez, who hasn’t played since opening night because of a back injury of his own. In the process, they have opened up two roster spots and gained two second-round picks they can include in trades. They could make another move before the deadline, and they could play the buyout market.
Detroit Pistons: B-
I’m being a bit generous here. Strictly based on value, I’m not sure that getting a look at Bagley for a couple of months is worth two second-round picks. Detroit is exactly the type of team, though, that should take a chance on Bagley, and acting now means it controls whether or not he’s on the roster next season.
Bagley is an unusually talented second-draft guy, a gifted scorer who can get second-chance points and make plays that most players his size simply can’t. As a prospect, he was widely considered a potential star. The shooting and defense have been rough, though, and NBA teams typically aren’t dying to accommodate bigs who don’t protect the rim.
Any team interested in Bagley had to consider the cost today and its chances of signing him as a restricted free agent. It is within the realm of possibility that the Pistons could have kept those two picks, let Jackson’s and Lyles’ contracts expire and signed Bagley on the open market in the summer. If another team was willing to go get him now, though, then Detroit would have had to outbid that team in July.
This way, the Pistons have a chance to get to know Bagley, to see how he acclimates to his new environment and make a more informed decision about what to offer him in free agency. It’s the same thing the Kings are doing with DiVincenzo, and it’s up to Bagley to make this look like a smart move.
Los Angeles Clippers: B+
Los Angeles could look slightly silly if Ibaka finds his form in Milwaukee. The team is not hurting for frontcourt depth, however, with Ivica Zubac and Isaiah Hartenstein on the roster and a track record of going small when it matters.
Ibaka was a rumored buyout candidate. In this context, finding a trade for him should be considered a win. The Clippers have opened up a $9.7 million traded player exception, and they’ve already made their big talent-adding move by getting Norman Powell and Robert Covington from the Portland Trail Blazers a few days before the deadline. If they get anything from Hood and Ojeleye this season, it is a bonus.