Despite frequently popping up in discussions regarding the NBA's best young players, Sacramento Kings shooting guard Buddy Hield and New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson were, at the time of the league's mid-March hiatus, both coming off the bench for their respective teams. However, a new report has suggested that the Kings and Knicks could swap these players for each other in a deal that might benefit both teams and possibly allow Robinson to get substantially more playing time.
As explained by Bleacher Report's Greg Swartz, a case could be made for Robinson as the best player on the Knicks, who had a 21-45 record at the time the NBA paused operations in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite his height, athleticism, and shot-blocking ability, the former second-round pick has recently been coming off the bench behind 34-year-old journeyman Taj Gibson.
Per Basketball-Reference, Robinson has averaged 9.7 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks, and shot a league-leading 74.2 percent from the field while starting only seven out of 61 games and averaging 23.1 minutes per contest. But with the Knicks seemingly content to use him off the bench, Swartz suggested that the Kings could acquire him and give him the starting role he deserves, while also landing point guard Frank Ntilikina, power forward Bobby Portis, and a 2021 second-round pick in a theoretical deal that would send Hield to New York.
"Sacramento has gotten strong play from Richaun Holmes at center this season, but Robinson has the potential to be a franchise staple at the position for the next 10 years," he added. "If Marvin Bagley III can develop his three-point shot, the Kings would possess one of the most athletic, versatile big-man combos in the league."Regarding the other components of the suggested trade, Swartz predicted that Ntilikina — a former No. 8 overall draft pick who hasn't panned out as expected — could also "benefit from [the] new scenery" if traded to Sacramento. The Kings, however, have De'Aaron Fox established at point guard, with 2018 second-overall pick Bagley starting at the power forward position Portis usually plays.
As the trade idea mostly focused on Robinson's potential impact in Sacramento, not much was mentioned about Hield aside from the possibility he could give the Knicks a "dynamic" presence at shooting guard. He was, however, still among the Kings' top scorers -- despite his demotion to the bench earlier this year -- averaging 19.8 points and shooting 39.5 percent from three-point range, in spite of Bogdan Bogdanovic's move to the starting lineup.