The Sacramento Kings laced Buddy Hield’s contract with incentives. Which ones could he possibly hit?
Buddy Hield ended his contract negotiations with the Sacramento Kings on Monday when he signed a four-year deal with $86 million in guaranteed money. The contract is incentive-laden, with Heild scheduled to make an extra $20 million should he reach certain performance-based benchmarks.
What are those benchmarks and how much extra money might the Kings realistically be on the hook for?
(Facts and numbers from Jason Jones and Sam Amick of The Athletic. Subscription required)
Play at least 70 games AND shoot 85% from the free-throw line
Likelihood: This goal should be achievable barring a major injury to Hield. He has played in 238 out of a possible 240 games in his three-year career, displaying exceptional durability. He will likely meet his free throw requirements as well, as he is an 87.4% shooter for his career and posted an 88.6% average last season.
Average fewer than 2 turnovers per game
Likelihood: This will likely be a tossup. While Hield has never averaged two turnovers, his rate has increased every season, which is likely due to added usage. He averaged 1.8 per contest last season. With new coach Luke Walton’s plan to shoot more threes, Hield’s usage rate might be in for an increase as well.
Lead the league in made 3-pointers
Likelihood: To achieve this goal, it would likely take an injury occurring to multiple opposing players. The only guys to make more threes than Hield last season were James Harden, Stephen Curry, and Paul George. Harden’s usage rate will certainly decrease given the Rockets acquisition of Russell Westbrook, but he finished 378 made threes, a full 100 more than Hield.
Post a defensive rating below 110.5
Likelihood: We’re not even going to pretend like we know how defensive rating is calculated, but Hield hovers around 108 for his career. We’re going to go ahead and say that with added incentive, he will be able to keep his number below the 110.5 threshold.
The rest of the incentives are harder to reach and seem unlikely:
Be named All-Star: $500,000
Kings make playoffs: $500,000
Kings make second-round: $250,000
Kings make WCF: $500,000
Kings make NBA Finals: $1,000,000
The one of these that is most likely to hit this season is the playoff incentive, and Hield would likely be an All-Star should he play in the Eastern Conference. The rest of the benchmarks are essentially moot, for this season at least.
Hield will be eligible for each one of these incentives every season for the duration of the contract. While the million-dollar Finals bonus might seem laughable today, don’t be surprised if Hield has himself a nice payday in June of 2022.