There’s very little reason to believe that the Sacramento Kings won’t trade guard Buddy Hield this summer. His continued contentious relationship with embattled head coach Luke Walton and some major regression last season has led to the guard’s likely departure from California’s capital city.
Hield, 28, touched on that just recently with Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports, stopping well short of committing himself to the Kings next season. “My job is to play basketball, “Hield said. “I can’t control all that.”
Acquired from the New Orleans Pelicans in the blockbuster DeMarcus Cousins trade during the 2016-17 season, Hield has not morphed into the star that Sacramento initially envisioned. He’s also set to count a combined $61 million against the cap over the next three seasons.
With that said, there’s going to be a decent market for the 28-year-old’s services. After all, the former Oklahoma standout is still averaging 18.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists on a stellar 40% shooting from distance over the past three seasons. Below, we look at three ideal Buddy Hield trade scenarios from the Sacramento Kings.
Buddy Hield trade to the Denver Nuggets
- Nuggets get: Buddy Hield
- Kings get: Aaron Gordon
Given what the Nuggets yielded to get Gordon from the Orlando Magic during the NBA trade deadline, this trade might not make a whole lot of sense. Then again, the 25-year-old forward struggled to make an impact for the Nuggets down the stretch and in the playoffs. He averaged just 10.2 points and 4.7 rebounds in 25 games with the Nuggets.
Perhaps, Denver looks to sell relatively high on Gordon given the fact that he’s slated to be a free agent following the 2021-22 campaign and might still be in line for an expensive contract. With Will Barton’s future up in the air, these Nuggets need a traditional two-guard to team up with Jamal Murray. Despite his limitations on defense, Hield would provide that. On the other hand, Sacramento adds a needed component to the frontcourt in the ultra-athletic Gordon.
Buddy Hield trade to the Toronto Raptors
- Raptors get: Buddy Hield
- Kings get: Rodney Hood, Chris Boucher
This would almost be akin to a salary dump for the Kings. General manager Monte McNair would be acquiring two expiring contracts for a player with three more years remaining on his contract. It’s something Sacramento might have to consider depending on how the market plays out for Buddy Hield. With that said, Boucher does offer upside in the frontcourt. The 28-year-old forward averaged 13.6 points and 6.7 rebounds on 38% shooting from distance a season ago. That’s nothing to scoff at.
For Toronto, this would only make sense if the team is looking to get back into playoff contention in 2021-22 after some major struggles this past season. It would also only work if franchise stalwart Kyle Lowry does in fact depart in free agency. But the idea of teaming Hield up with point guard Fred VanVleet actually works out from a basketball standpoint.
Buddy Hield trade to the Atlanta Hawks
- Hawks get: Buddy Hield, second-round pick
- Kings get: Cam Reddish
We know that the Kings could be looking to move off small forward Harrison Barnes this summer. We also know that they are set to build around the star young backcourt duo of Tyrese Haliburton and De’Aaron Fox. Why not add a still-young 24-year-old three-and-D wing in Reddish to the mix? Reddish played well in the playoffs once returning from injury and boasts a tremendous amount of upside. A trade of this ilk would also enable Sacramento to target another position with the ninth pick.
From Atlanta’s perspective, it would be a no-brainer. Fresh off a shocking appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals, it has the cap room to add a salary to the mix. Hield would be an absolutely tremendous fit next to star guard Trae Young. Another element here is that acquiring Buddy Hield with cap room wouldn’t prevent Atlanta from retaining restricted free agent big man John Collins.