The Mavericks have interest in acquiring Pacers sharpshooter Buddy Hield, veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein confirmed in the latest edition of The Saturday Stein Line on 97.1 FM in Dallas (hat tip to Grant Afseth of SI.com). However, according to Stein, there’s “no traction between the teams at this point.”
Shams Charania of The Athletic previously identified the Mavericks as a potential suitor for Hield. In addition to confirming that interest, Stein points out that the 30-year-old maintains an offseason residence in Dallas, meaning that – in all likelihood – he “wouldn’t exactly protest” if he were traded to the Mavs.
Dallas also has a logical outgoing trade chip in Tim Hardaway Jr., whose $17.9MM cap hit could be used as a salary-matching piece for Hield’s $19.3MM expiring deal. But Stein doesn’t get the sense that Indiana would have much interest in acquiring Hardaway.
“My read at this juncture is that the Pacers are not inclined to make that sort of swap,” Stein said. “At least not now.”
Unlike Hield, who will be an unrestricted free agent next summer, Hardaway has a second guaranteed season left on his contract and will count for $16.2MM against the cap in 2024/25. If they’re not acquiring a player who can be part of their long-term core in a Hield deal, the Pacers would likely prefer to take back expiring salaries so as not to compromise their potential 2024 cap flexibility.
Still, if the Mavericks were willing to attach the right assets to Hardaway, Indiana would have to consider such a deal. So far this offseason though, Dallas has shown no inclination to move either Josh Green or Jaden Hardy, having kept both young players out of their Clint Capela trade talks with Atlanta. The Mavs’ ability to trade future draft assets is also pretty limited — they have just one movable first-round pick and three tradable second-rounders.
If Dallas were to offer a first-rounder without heavy protection, the Pacers would presumably become more open to the idea of a Hield/Hardaway swap. I’m skeptical the Mavs would be willing to pay that sort of price for a role player on an expiring contract – even one who shoots as well as Hield – but Stein does think the Pacers will be able to extract a solid return for the veteran wing.
“My instinct is that the Pacers actually do have a pretty good chance to manufacture a first-rounder from someone out there when they trade Hield,” he said.