Buddy Hield says he’ll “probably look for another home” if he can’t work out an extension with the Kings in the next four days, writes Jason Jones of The Athletic. Hield’s comments after Wednesday’s preseason game indicate that the stakes are extremely high for the team as Monday’s rookie scale extension deadline approaches.
Hield is reportedly seeking $110MM over four years, which is about $20MM below the maximum four-year deal he’s eligible to receive. Sacramento’s best offer so far has been about $90MM, which Hield has been unwilling to accept. That gap raises the prospect of an unhappy season for one of the team’s key pieces, who will become a restricted free agent next summer if no deal is reached.
“I don’t know if things are going to get done,” Hield told reporters last night. “If it don’t get done, me and my team will look somewhere else, probably look for another home. Until then, we’ll see what happens here. That’s the goal, to be here, and I love Sacramento. But if they don’t want me here, they don’t feel like I’m part of the core — I like respect and loyalty and I feel like I’m part of the group that’s been getting the team back where it needs to be. So like I said I want to be here, but if they don’t want me here I’ll find somewhere else to be.”
Hield played all 82 games last season and led the team in scoring at 20.7 PPG. He was the centerpiece of the trade that sent DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans in 2017 and launched the Kings’ latest rebuilding effort.
Negotiations with Hield are especially significant, Jones notes, because they may affect the way that other young players view the organization when it’s time for their extensions. GM Vlade Divac reportedly promised a super-max deal to Cousins before the trade, and the decision to change course has created a sense of distrust toward the front office among some players and their agents.
Coming off a 39-win season and with a wealth of young talent on their roster, the Kings have started to shed their reputation as a poorly-run franchise. But letting a player like Hield get away would be a major setback. Of course, if Hield reaches restricted free agency, Sacramento would be able to match any offer sheet he signs, but the club may want to risk the situation getting more contentious.
The fourth-year shooting guard believes he deserves to be rewarded for his role in putting the franchise on the right track.
“My job is to go out there and hoop and play for the max,” Hield said. “If every player is not playing for the max, I don’t know why you’re in the NBA. And some people will get the max, some people won’t, that’s how it works. But my job is to go out there and kill every night so I can be that max player. And I feel like, especially a market like this, Sacramento, you guys have been covering basketball all your life. Name one big free agent that came to Sacramento.”