Since last season, rumors have been continuously swirling around veteran shooting guard Buddy Hield and his future with the Sacramento Kings. Though he remains a part of their core, multiple signs are pointing out that he’s no longer happy with the team, making most people believe that he’s highly likely to be moved before the 2021 trade deadline. One of the potential trade partners for the Kings in the deal involving Hield is the Indiana Pacers.
According to Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report, the Kings could send Hield to the Pacers in exchange for Oladipo. If the proposed scenario goes through, Bailey believes that it would benefit both Sacramento and Indiana.
“Swapping out Oladipo (more of an on-ball threat) for Hield (a devastating catch-and-shoot option) may be a better fit in Indiana. And Hield’s declining contract (the salary drops by about $2 million each season till 2023-24) makes it less of a burden on the salary cap. So, why would Sacramento do this? Perhaps the Kings get the 2017-18 version of Oladipo (and his start in 2020-21 suggests that’s a possibility), which would certainly help them make a playoff push. If not, they can let him hit free agency in 2021, opening up some financial flexibility that would not have been there with Hield.”
For the Kings, the suggested deal is about getting rid of a disgruntled player and his massive salary while acquiring a veteran replacement at the starting shooting guard position who could help them open up a huge chunk of their salary cap space in the summer of 2021. Oladipo may have gone through plenty of ups and downs in the past years, but this season he appears to be regaining his All-Star form.
If he succeeds in bringing back his old self, he would boost the Kings’ chances of returning to the playoffs and making noise in the loaded Western Conference. Even if he remains inconsistent on both ends of the floor, they could simply let him walk away in the 2021 free agency and focus on the development of their young players.
For the Pacers, the proposed scenario would prevent them from losing Oladipo without getting anything valuable in return. As a reliable catch-and-shoot option, Bailey believes that Hield would be a much better fit with their core of Domantas Sabonis, Malcolm Brogdon, TJ Warren, and Myles Turner than a ball-dominant guard like Oladipo.
Being traded to the Pacers would also be beneficial for Hield. Having a fresh start in Indiana could help him rebuild his value and start living up to expectations of his lucrative deal.