Just over four months ago, Kings sharpshooter Buddy Hield – upset about hardly seeing any fourth-quarter action in a pair of close losses – told reporters there were “trust issues” in Sacramento. Less than a month later, in January, he was removed from the Kings’ starting lineup in favor of Bogdan Bogdanovic. And a few weeks after that, in mid-February, a report from The Athletic suggested it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Hield requests a trade in the offseason.
It looked like a troubling series of events for the Kings, particularly since Hield had raved about establishing an “instant connection” with new head coach Luke Walton in September and signed a four-year, $86MM extension with the franchise in October. That long-term contract, which goes into effect beginning in 2020/21, was supposed to make Hield one of Sacramento’s core building blocks. An up-and-down season raised uncertainty about whether that’s still the case.
Still, there have been recent signals that any tension between Hield and the Kings may not be as bad as it looked. As we relayed earlier this week, Sam Amick of The Athletic wrote that Sacramento’s late-season surge significantly reduced the likelihood that Walton or GM Vlade Divac will be replaced before ’20/21. And it seems possible that Hield, who insisted in December that he’s a team-first who only cares about winning, will be increasingly receptive to a sixth man role if it’s helping the Kings win games.
Speaking to Amick, Walton downplayed the idea that the Hield situation was any sort of cause for concern, adding that he and the 27-year-old have a “very good relationship” and get along well.
“Buddy was not happy about not starting, but he didn’t b—h,” Walton said. “He said, ‘You’re the coach. I’m going to do what I need to do.’ … Even with Buddy (coming off the bench), he was still playing starter minutes, he was still finishing certain games, and it’s one of those things where if you’re truly bought into being on the team, you end up accepting it because that’s a huge value. … And I thought Buddy had really, really done a nice job of embracing that and making our team better.”
The Kings played their best basketball of the season with Hield coming off the bench, winning 13 of 20 contests. His per-minute production improved noticeably during that stretch as well. After averaging 20.0 PPG with a .416/.360/.816 shooting line in 44 games (34.4 MPG) as a starter, Hield recorded 19.4 PPG on .465/.476/.970 shooting in 26.6 MPG off the bench.
After clearing some future money from their cap at the trade deadline, the Kings are considered likely to re-sign Bogdanovic, an RFA-to-be who is “very good friends” with Hield, according to Walton. That means that Hield could remain in his reserve role beyond this season.
It will be a fascinating situation to watch. Hield has become one of the NBA’s very best three-point shooters and would be highly coveted on the trade market if he were made available. But his four-year commitment to Sacramento wouldn’t give him much leverage, and he may be happy to stick with the Kings if the team continues building on its second-half success, regardless of whether or not he’s starting.
What do you think? Do you expect Hield to push for a trade this offseason, or is this a non-issue, as Walton suggests? Are you bullish on the Kings’ outlook, or would you be worried about another disappointing season reigniting Hield’s frustrations? Will he be satisfied with a sixth man role, or do you expect him to reenter the starting lineup at some point?
Head to the comment section below to weigh in with your thoughts!
10 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: Buddy Hield”
The kings will find a way to screw it up
Ever since the Sonics left the kings were always my second favorite team. I hope they figure it out soon but I honestly want to see Walton gone. Never liked him as a coach and he was over hyped at coaching cause he coached a warriors team that won 70+ games based off the talent not him.
Anyways I think yield is better suited for the bench and is a Lou Williams comparison if you ask me. He never looked right as a starter. But put him the second unit and he’ll get better shots and can get hot and carry it towards the end of the game
I still don’t understand why they dismissed Joerger. He had them fighting for the postseason after years of irrelevance. I agree about Hield; The numbers indicate he’s more efficient in the deadly sixth man role
Well, I think we saw this movie before, when Cousins and the coach didn’t quite see eye to eye. I think there is more division here than whats being reported. I’d rather see Hield traded for a Draft Pic, Bogi resigned and become the starter, and then resign Bazemore as Bogi’s Back Up. plus, I’d like to more of Len and Parker before I pass any judgement on them. This Virus stopped everything before we got a good look at them.
I keep seeing him being linked with my Sixers and I love that idea.
Heild isn’t exactly young anymore at 27 so I don’t think he suits a rebuilding or young team such as the Spurs, Grizzlies, Hawks or Cavs.
He’s already signed his new deal last offseason meaning he’s going to go to the highest bidder in FA, he going to want to go somewhere more for the location, team success, playing role and teammates.
My Sixers could give him the starting SG role next to Ben Simmons meaning he gets to keep his role as a starter. He would be on a playoff team in the easier Eastern conference. His teammates would be superstars like Ben and Joel and close to all star Tobias Harris. Heild was drafted in the same draft class as Simmons in 2016 and is the same age as Harris. Philly is also a good city and would probably be a preference over maybe Memphis, Detroit, Cleveland and so on.
On the court his 3 point shooting would be great next to Ben Simmons and they could be a great duo together. He also able to handle a little and create which would help in lineups with Ben.
I still think getting rid of Al Horfords contract for an asset should be our biggest goal but maybe be can tie the deals together.
Al Horford, Josh Richardson, Zhaire Smith, a protected first round pick and a second round pick for Buddy Heild and Harrison Barnes.
Sixers get Heild and Barnes who would be great fits on our roster. Heild joins forces in the backcourt with Simmons, Barnes and Harris are both combo forwards and could switch easily and Joel gets to be the main big man and gets shooters outside of him so he can play closer to the paint.
Kings get back a haul of assets for two players they don’t exactly value highly. Barnes they have openly said they regret giving him such a big contract and Heild they also paid a big amount to they now want to play him off the bench. They instead get back Horford who has a bad deal but helps them improve defensively which is what they need and can be a leader for a young team and help young Bagley improve. Richardson at 26 is younger than Heild and would be a good backcourt partner with Fox. Both are very smart players, both can play on the ball and off the ball, both are good defensively.
Sixers say NO!!!
J-Rich & Buddy are at similar level
Horford is way better than Barnes, as all the advanced stats for this year show.
Then you add Zhaire plus a first & a second.
No way, Philly is giving all to SAC, should be the Kings adding 3-4 picks & other young guys in this scenario!
Buddy is way better than Josh Richardson and three point shooting is probably the most valuable thing in the game. Harison Barnes’ contract isnt great but he is 6 years younger and makes less money than Horford. I think it has less negative value. Who knows though. With Vlade the kings will probably throw in some future draft picks and just take back Horford.
Buddy is better than Richardson and gives you 3 point shooting which has value. Horford and Barnes are about the same in terms of production and who’s better. Barnes is 6 years younger and has better contract so he has less negative value.
So to even the deal out Sixers give up Smith who was a first round pick a few years back but now struggles in the G LEAGUE, maybe the Kings can fix him. Plus we give up a protected first and a second round pick. Sixers have 3 seconds this year so giving up one of those is easy.
Either way after the deal your left with
Which looks like a much better team that ready for wining. Simmons gets a bunch of solid shooters and Embiid gets players than can shit and get off their own shot too. Defensively Embiid can dominate in the paint by himself and Simmons and Barnes are both solid defenders who can take guards and wings. It’s a younger and faster line up which can move quickly on transition or switch well defensively.
Buddy is a better shooter & scorer, J-Rich a better defender & ball handler, so they are very different, but I would give them a similar value.
Again all the stats show that Horford has been much better than Barnes this season, so I still wonder why would you give Zhaire plus picks to SAC? It should come the other way, SAC would need to add a young guy or 2, with a few picks, to make it fair. But still I don’t see this benefiting PHI. Now if you do a swap of J-Rich for Buddy straight up would be good for PHI, I do know though that Buddy earns double than J-Rich so some salary fillers would be needed.