Buddy Hield was supposed to be a big part of the Kings' success during the 2019-20 season. Instead, he struggled and was moved to the bench, and now his name is being floated in trade rumors ahead of a critical offseason for Sacramento.
The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner and Peachtree Hoops’ Andrew Kelly recently discussed the idea of Hield being traded to the Atlanta Hawks to join forces with fellow former Oklahoma Sooner Trae Young.
“[Hield’s] simply one of the best shooters in the game,” Kelly said. “From a Hawks perspective, Young pick-and-rolls with either John Collins or Capela and the option to kick out to Hield has to be mouthwatering given what a problem shooting was for them.”
Despite hoisting the eighth most 3-point attempts per game, the Hawks ranked 30th in percentage. Hield struggled in the bubble for the Kings, but he’s an elite 3-point shooter that knocked down 39.4 percent from long range on 9.4 attempts per game.
Hield finished second in the NBA in 3-point makes at 271, just 18 behind James Harden for tops in the NBA.
It’s an interesting fit. A starting backcourt of Young and Hield would be exciting to watch, but Atlanta would have all kinds of defensive issues.
What would the Hawks need to offer to get Hield and his new four-year, $86 million contract out of Sacramento? The pairing of Kirschner and Kelly had some ideas.
“As for the cost to acquire him, given his tenuous position in Sacramento, he could be had a bit cheaper — perhaps Atlanta and Sacramento could swap picks in the lottery, with the Hawks also taking Hield in the deal," Kelly wrote. "That way, Atlanta adds a nice player who dramatically helps its shooting problem and Sacramento moves up in the draft and sheds a large contract in Hield with no money coming back due to Atlanta’s cap space, increasing its flexibility to re-sign restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic. Maybe Atlanta needs to add more to this hypothetical, but those are solid parameters. Still, I might prefer to avoid taking on another defensive liability in Hield, especially since his contract approaches $100 million, but he’s an available option who could make sense for the Hawks.”
On paper, the Hawks and Kings make very good trade partners. They pulled off a transaction at the trade deadline in February that sent Dewayne Dedmon back to Atlanta in exchange for Alex Len and Jabari Parker.
The idea of swapping the No. 12 overall pick to move up to No. 6, while saving massive cap space should also appeal to the Kings. Players like Obi Toppin or Isaac Okoro could be available for the Kings and both would fit in well.
There is a line hiding in that long quote paragraph that should be highlighted, “Maybe Atlanta needs to add more to this hypothetical.”
Hield has a declining scale contract and fits the Kings system, either as starter or off the bench. While signing Bogdanovic to an extension is a priority, the Kings have the ability to keep both players.
The Kings are going to want more than just a straight pick swap and salary dump for Hield, if they consider moving him, which isn’t a forgone conclusion at this point.
Atlanta has pieces to sweeten the pot and the Kings have assets to balance a trade as well. If the base trade idea is built around the pick swap, the Kings are going to want one of the Hawks young wings.
With Hield on board, the Hawks could move on from one of Kevin Huerter or Cam Reddish. The Kings could offer one or more of their three second round selections in the upcoming draft to sweeten the pot.
Like Hield, Huerter is a knockdown 3-point shooter. He just turned 22-years old and at 6-foot-7, he can play both the shooting guard and small forward position.
Reddish struggled in his rookie season after being taken 10th overall last year, but he just turned 21-years-old and has time to mature. He started 34 games, averaging 10.5 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. At 6-foot-8, he might be a player that develops into the combo forward the Kings have been looking for.
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Before the Kings dive into the trade market, they have a lot of issues to figure out. First up, they need to decide who is making franchise altering decisions like whether or not they trade Hield. If they decide to move on from their second leading scorer, there should be plenty of options.
Atlanta might be a perfect trade partner, but it’s early in the process. At a minimum, the Kings are going to need a major upgrade in draft position, salary cap relief and a young asset. The Hawks might not be the only team that can fill these needs.