Although most of the buzz surrounding Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield’s future has centered on a possible move to the Philadelphia 76ers, a recent article suggested a few other potential destinations for the former first-round selection, including the New York Knicks.
As explained by USA Today Sports‘ Hoops Hype on Saturday, Hield’s 2019-20 campaign was a bit of a disappointment, despite the fact that his stats (19.2 points per game, 39.4 percent three-point shooting) didn’t take much of a hit compared to his 2018-19 breakout season. The 27-year-old was demoted to the bench for the last 28 games of the season, and as the publication noted, his contract — which will pay him an average of $23.5 million per year for the next four seasons — might make him difficult to move in the 2020 offseason.
After mentioning the Sixers as a plausible landing spot, Hoops Hype‘s Frank Urbina discussed three alternate destinations for Hield if he gets traded, including the Knicks who notably struggled from beyond the arc in the 2019-20 campaign. As he pointed out, New York’s 33.7 percent shooting clip from three-point range ranked 27th out of 30 NBA teams, thus making it imperative for the organization to address this issue in order to space the floor for players such as Julius Randle and last year’s third overall draft pick, R.J. Barrett.
“Acquiring a talented shooter like Hield could be one way to do that,” the Hoops Hype writer continued.
“As far as what a potential deal might look like, it’s less complicated getting Hield to the Knicks because New York projects to have enough cap space to fit the talented shooter onto their payroll without needing to match money. They just need to put the right package together to entice the Kings.”
Urbina suggested that two of the Knicks’ younger players — small forward Kevin Knox and point guard Frank Ntilikina — might be the “likeliest candidates” to be offered as trade bait if the team makes a move for Hield in the offseason. As shown on the organization’s Basketball-Reference team page, Knox struggled in his sophomore pro season, averaging just 6.4 points and 2.8 rebounds in 17.9 minutes per game and shooting 35.9 percent from the field. He is, however, only 21 years old, thus giving him lots of time to fulfill his upside as a former top-10 draft pick.
Ntilikina, while described as a “plus defender,” was also referred to as an “extremely inefficient” player on the offensive end. As the Knicks’ second-string playmaker behind Elfrid Payton in 2019-20, the 22-year-old registered averages of 6.3 points, 2.1 rebounds, three assists, and 0.9 steals and shot 39.3 percent from the field in his third year in the pros.
As the Knicks have a number of extra first-round picks in the coming drafts, the team has lots more to offer apart from the two youngsters. However, Urbina also cautioned that the Kings might ask for even more young players, such as incoming third-year center Mitchell Robinson. This is a possibility that has been mentioned in previous trade ideas, including one from May detailing a hypothetical deal that would send Robinson, Ntilikina, forward/center Bobby Portis, and a 2021 second-round pick to Sacramento in exchange for Hield.