Buddy Hield is causing another stir, this time by saying nothing.
Hield, whose big four-year extension kicks in next season, is refusing to answer any of coach Luke Walton‘s phone calls, according to Jason Jones of The Athletic.
Hield hinted at a trade demand before the Kings front office handed him an extension worth up to $106MM, with $86MM in guarantees plus an additional $20MM in incentives.
His statistics took a tumble in Walton’s first season at the Kings’ head coach. He averaged 19.2 PPG while shooting 42.9% overall and 39.4% from deep. He also averaged a career-high 2.3 turnovers.
In his third season prior to signing the extension, Hield posted averages of 20.7 PPG on .458/.427 shooting while committing 1.8 turnovers per game. He started all 82 games that season but came off the bench in 28 of 72 games this season.
Hield was reportedly unhappy with a sixth man role.
In order for Hield to be dealt, he’d have to be traded to a team with sufficient cap room. Alternatively, the team acquiring him would have to match salaries. He’s apparently expressed a desire to join the Sixers, as Jones notes that he liked an Instagram post linking him to a trade there. Hield also liked a news alert on Twitter about Doc Rivers being hired as the Sixers’ head coach.
Jones provides an interesting side note that might make Hield happier in Sacramento. Jones confirmed that the Kings are interested in hiring Hield’s former Pelicans coach, Alvin Gentry, as one of Walton’s top assistants.
In any case, the situation regarding Hield, who carries a team-high $24.9MM cap hit next year, bears watching.