The Los Angeles Lakers may have entered the NBA’s still-ongoing hiatus with a Western Conference-leading 49-14 record, but there has still been lots of talk about surrounding superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis with a third scoring option. One of the players occasionally mentioned as a potential trade target for the 2020 offseason is Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield, and in a recent list of trade ideas, Bleacher Report suggested that the Lakers could acquire him by trading away several key players.
As explained early on Wednesday by the publication’s Eric Pincus, the Lakers’ current roster features Kyle Kuzma as the team’s third-best player. But due to the fact that Kuzma is also a natural forward, he isn’t an “ideal fit” alongside James and Davis, hence the need to land an “elite” backcourt shooter who could serve as an alternate offensive option when defenses focus on the two superstars.
According to Pincus, acquiring Hield from the Kings makes sense in a number of ways. Earlier this year, the 27-year-old shooting guard was demoted to a reserve role, with Sacramento promoting Bogdan Bogdanovic, who might be prioritized in the offseason as he is due to enter restricted free agency after the 2019-20 campaign.
Considering how Hield signed a contract extension that could pay him up to $106 million over four years, Pincus suggested that the Lakers could offer a substantial trade package led by Kuzma, but also including a number of rotation players.
“If the two Pacific Division rivals are willing to deal (Kings executive Vlade Divac was twice a Laker), Sacramento could get out of Hield’s contract while adding depth from the Lakers, starting with Kuzma but also including veterans like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo and Quinn Cook.”
42 PTS on 24 FGA
20 PTS (6-6 FG) in the 4th
The Kings came back from a 27-PT deficit and won by 4!
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) January 28, 2020
As further suggested, both teams could carry out the recommended transaction “near” the 2020 NBA Draft, with the Kings offering two additional players who could make up for the loss of bench depth — veteran forward/center Richaun Holmes and rookie wingman Justin James. However, Pincus stressed that Sacramento could “legally execute” the aforementioned five-for-one deal by having the trade take place after the post-draft moratorium on roster changes is lifted.
While the hypothetical trade could benefit both teams by giving the Lakers a third All-Star-caliber player and helping the Kings free up some much-needed cap space, there are some caveats involved. According to Pincus, Caldwell-Pope, McGee, Cook, and Rondo will all have to opt-in to the final year of their respective contracts in order to guarantee their 2020-21 salaries.