The Kings and Buddy Hield have 10 more days to work out a contract extension that would lock him up beyond the 2019/20 season. If the two sides don’t reach an agreement by the October 21 deadline, Sacramento would still be in position to re-sign Hield next summer when he becomes a restricted free agent, but the shooting guard would prefer to get something done sooner rather than later, as he tells Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.
“We need to get that done,” Hield said. “I want to get that done, for sure. If it doesn’t get done, things could go the other way. This is where I want to be, so it would be good for me to be here in Sacramento. If I’m their guy, I think they should make it happen already. I want to build a future here. I want to be here, but we have to see something. Something’s gotta come to the table. We have a week and a half to see what that brings, but I want to be here.”
Few players have a better case for a rookie scale extension this fall than Hield, who enjoyed an underrated breakout season in 2018/19, establishing new career highs in PPG (20.7), RPG (5.0), APG (2.5), and several other categories. He increased his productivity while maintaining his impressive efficiency, converting 42.7% of 7.9 three-point attempts per game.
Kings general manager Vlade Divac suggested last month that the team wants to work out a deal with Hield, and the 26-year-old confirmed that his agent – Brandon Rosenthal of Landmark Sports – is talking to Sacramento. However, it doesn’t sound like any agreement is imminent.
“They’re talking, but nothing is moving yet,” Hield said. “Nothing has moved. I’m ready to make things happen, man. I want to make Sacramento my home. I’m ready to get this s–t done. I want to be here and if it doesn’t happen, then things can go the other way.”
Although Hield wouldn’t be able to sign outright with a new team as a restricted free agent in 2020, he could put pressure on Sacramento by threatening to ink a non-team-friendly offer sheet with a rival suitor. If the Kings finalize an extension for Hield, they’d likely want to make it at least a four-year deal, whereas he could make the team match an offer sheet that gives him an out after just two or three years.
In addition to weighing that risk, the Kings must determine how heavily they want to invest in Hield when so many of their other young building blocks will up for new deals soon too. Bogdan Bogdanovic will also be a restricted free agent in 2020, while De’Aaron Fox will be extension-eligible at the same time. Marvin Bagley will become eligible for an extension in 2021.
In a discussion with Zach Lowe, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (video link) noted that many of the teams projected to have substantial cap room next summer are rebuilding clubs – including the Hawks, Grizzlies, Knicks, and Cavaliers – who may be more inclined to make a maximum-salary offer to an RFA like Hield than to pursue a top unrestricted free agent, since he fits their contending timeline. As such, there will be pressure on the Kings to offer an amount approaching the max.
Based on the NBA’s latest cap projections, a five-year max from the Kings for Hield would be worth about $168MM, while a four-year max would come in at just under $130MM. As a free agent, Hield’s maximum salary with a new team projects to be $124.7MM over four years.