As expected, the Detroit Pistons have reached an agreement with their lone restricted free agent.
The Pistons re-signed 23-year-old big man Marvin Bagley III to a three-year, $37.5 million contract Thursday, league sources confirmed to the Free Press, on Day 1 of NBA free agency. The deal is fully guaranteed with no options on either side.
The Pistons later Thursday agreed on a deal with free agent forward Kevin Knox II, and now have roughly $9 million in available cap space remaining. They have 15 players on the roster.
Bagley, who arrived from Sacramento at the 2022 trade deadline for Trey Lyles, Josh Jackson and picks, made a strong impression last season and is now positioned for a large role next season.
In 18 games after the trade, Bagley averaged 14.6 points and 6.8 rebounds on 55.5% shooting — the best percentage of his career, had it been a full season. He quickly found chemistry with the Pistons young guard duo of Cade Cunningham and Killian Hayes, and made it clear he feels comfortable in Detroit after a tumultuous start to his career with the Sacramento Kings.
“When I got here, the spirits were high in the locker room,” he said during his end-of-season news conference in April. “We took every game seriously and we approached every day with a mindset of just getting better. These past few weeks have been exciting for me. Probably the most fun I’ve had playing the game, and that’s how it’s supposed to feel. I’m used to being in an environment and group where playing basketball is fun.”
Bagley carved out a role as a high-energy big man who can finish lobs and score from nearly anywhere inside the arc. He filled a need for a Pistons team lacking frontcourt depth and athleticism. Injuries cut his season short, as a strained left hip caused him to miss Detroit’s final five games.
Even with Nerlens Noel and Jalen Duren on the roster now, Bagley is expected to be a key rotation piece next season. He can play power forward or center, depending on who his frontcourt mate is, though defense remains a concern and he is a career 29.1% 3-point shooter on 1.9 attempts per game. He thrived as an offensive release valve at the rim and should continue to be used in a similar role.
“That’s how I like to play,” Bagley, the No. 2 overall pick out of Duke in the 2018 draft, said. “That’s the type of style I like to be a part of. Getting up and down, being athletic, running, that’s a part of my game. Being in a situation where I’m able to show that off definitely brings that excitement back. It’s supposed to feel like that, and that’s the feeling that I’ve had ever since I started playing basketball. To feel that again, I’m excited.”
Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes was first to report the deal.
Contact Omari Sankofa II at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. The Free Press now has a digital subscription model. Here’s how you can access our most exclusive Pistons content. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.