No one stokes the trade rumor flames better than Buddy Hield.
The disgruntled Sacramento Kings sharpshooter has been sending hints since February that he wouldn't mind a change of scenery, and that he might be interested in relocating to Philadelphia.
His latest breadcrumb came Thursday night, when Hield liked a tweet from SportsCenter reporting that the Sixers were hiring Doc Rivers as the team's new head coach:
Buddy approves of the hire? Well then, mission accomplished. Start working those phones, Elton.
This isn't the first time that Hield himself has fueled rumor chatter. He liked an Instagram post earlier this year with a hypothetical trade moving him to Philly.
Hield signed a four-year extension with Sacramento last October, but the Kings regressed in their first year under head coach Luke Walton, and The Athletic reported in February that Hield, unhappy with his role, might be eyeing a move elsewhere.
And it doesn't sound like Hield's concerns about his role have changed much since then; after the Kings exited the NBA Bubble, the 27-year-old sounded unimpressed with the way he's being used in Sacramento.
I examined the potential fit back in April, including a hypothetical Hield-for-Horford deal from that fateful Instagram post:
"In terms of contract length and salary hit, the Hield and Horford deals are strikingly similar, and Hield's game would be an instant improvement for the Sixers' offensive spacing: he's a two-guard who shoots a career 41.1 percent from deep, and can create his own shot. Plus, he's substantially younger than Horford. Will the move happen? If the Kings deem their relationship with Hield unfixable, it's possible. Horford hasn't fit well in Philly, but he's still a savvy veteran with a good track record. And Hield would certainly check the boxes for the Sixers' front office."
Hield shot 39% from beyond the arc this year on more than nine three-point attempts per game. He's a career 41% three-point shooter in more than 300 games. He'd be a perfect match for the Sixers.
Now, a potential snag did emerge Thursday night, when ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Alvin Gentry might be up for a spot on Rivers' coaching staff. Hield played for Gentry back in New Orleans as a rookie and second-year player, and after he was traded to Sacramento, Hield didn't have entirely complimentary things to say about the way Gentry used him.
But perhaps the two have moved on from those differences, and would be able to make things work here in Philly.