The sharpshooter’s relationship with Kings head coach Luke Walton has deteriorated to the point that he is no longer answering the coach’s phone calls, according to The Athletic’s Jason Jones.
It was already known that Hield was unhappy with his place on the Kings and interested in a trade. The Athletic reported in February that he was considering a trade request after Walton had benched him. Nearly eight months and a pandemic later, things do not seem to have improved:
Buddy wants to be a Sixer. Make it happen Elton pic.twitter.com/UGMq9W3Jc0— Will🦅 (@simmons_szn) September 23, 2020
That right there is the Kings’ young guard liking an Instagram post speculating a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers, then endorsing a message of “Trust the Process” in the comments.
Walton benched Hield back in January in favor of Bogdan Bogdanovic. Hield started well in his new role, but reportedly remained convinced he is still a starter. The Kings eventually finished 31-41 and 2.5 games back from a shot at the playoffs in the NBA bubble.
Hield also hasn’t been too shy about criticizing Walton in the past, alluding to “trust issues” and implying he wanted more time on the court in December.
What is Buddy Hield’s trade value?
Hield signed a four-year, $86 million contract last October that was supposed to keep him in Sacramento until the 2024 offseason.
Even with Hield’s move to the bench and the Kings’ struggles this year, he remains one of the best shooters in the NBA and a likely asset in trade talks. In his last two seasons, Hield has averaged 20 points per game while shooting 41% from 3-point range on 8.7 attempts per game. He’s also thrown in 4.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.
There are few teams that would say no to that kind of shooter in today’s NBA, but figuring out the logistics of a trade could be another story. The Sixers, Hield’s apparently preferred destination, rank toward the bottom of the league in cap space next season, per Spotrac.
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