Although the relationship between the Sacramento Kings and Buddy Hield has seemingly been on shaky ground for some time now, the team appears to have taken a methodical approach to decide on his future with the organization. On Friday, a report from SportsNet New York‘s NBA insider Ian Begley may have shed some light on a contributing factor in the team’s perceived reluctance to deal the embattled sharpshooter.
Per Begley’s sources, Sacramento’s conversations with teams around the association about trades involving Hield have involved requests for draft compensation.
In some ways, a trade package including desirable draft assets may sound like reasonable compensation for a player of Hield’s ilk. At 27 years old, the 2016 John R. Wooden Award winner is still firmly in his athletic prime. Moreover, he’s been one of the league’s better shooters and scorers throughout most of his professional career.
As tracked by the NBA website, Hield boasted an effective field goal percentage of 54.5 during the 2019-20 campaign while averaging better than 19 points in 30.8 minutes per game. He also put up nearly five rebounds, three assists and one steal per game over his 72 appearances.
However, his defensive output has largely failed to match his offensive prowess. As a result, he’s typically been a negative-impact player for the Kings despite those gaudy numbers. Last season, the Kings conceded nearly 112 points per 100 possessions when Hield was on the court. Moreover, they were actually two points better in terms of net swing when he was on the bench.
Consequently, Kings coach Luke Walton cut back on the former Oklahoma Sooners star’s playing time as the campaign progressed. During his club’s stay in the league’s Orlando, Florida, bubble campus over the summer, Hield only crossed the 30-minute threshold once and was given 21 or fewer minutes in five of the eight games that were played there.
Since then, the guard has appeared to show his dissatisfaction with the situation in a variety of ways.
As reported by The Inquisitr, he reportedly would not answer or return Walton’s phone calls for an extended period. He also appeared to lobby for a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers via social media.
While that kind of behavior may be a red flag for potential suitors, it also could make for a potentially problematic partnership in the event that Sacramento is unable or unwilling to move him.
In any case, the four-year, $94 million contract extension he signed with the club in October 2019 (per Spotrac) will officially go into effect this season.
For his part, Begley opined that the New York Knicks could use some of their draft capital and the contract of big man Julius Randle to bring hield to the Big Apple. However, he also noted that “no Knicks trade with the Kings or any other team was imminent.”