Whether you’re a Sacramento Kings fan because you just happened to pick the only bad basketball team in California or you just liked Chris Webber, being their fan should feel easier than this. It can’t be normal to feel such resentment towards your own front office for inexcusable draft decisions or to still be irritable about past playoff conditions with shady referees. It just can’t be.
But for every grueling season that ticks by, we wonder if our Kings can end the longest-running playoff drought in the NBA, NFL, and NHL. I think the path to achieving that goal starts with none other than Buddy Hield.
Instead of just rubbing salt in our wounds, I believe there is a Buddy Hield-sized window open that could change everything for the Sacramento Kings.
Yes, the Los Angeles Lakers overlooked us and instead used their limited bargaining chips to acquire Russell Westbrook of the Washington Wizards after reportedly showing interest in Hield. Yes, our Kings drafted—yet another—guard, pushing this from a “Maybe he will get traded” plan of action to an “If we don’t trade this guy, we’re screwed” situation. Yes, it increasingly seems like everyone’s original plan B is getting signed, flipped, and traded so fast that the Kings might be on plan V by the time something goes down. But the only thing of any importance is that something goes down.
Why be so rushed? Because there is a legitimate market right now for Buddy Hield that might not exist next deadline. Hell, it might not even exist tomorrow. Hield’s owed 61.6 million over the next three years! That’s actually very valuable for a player who was just third in three-point attempts behind Steph Curry and Damian Lillard. This is no empty stat as he and Dame share even the same shooting percentage from deep at 39.1 percent from deep.
A player that can shoot like Lillard from deep does not need much more of an explanation about his immediate trade value. That alongside solid playmaking and excellent off-the-ball movement, Hield can make any team better in a shooter’s first league. That being said, the reason this deal needs to be made so fast is more complex.
Buddy and coach Luke Walton don’t get along. Oh, maybe it was actually more simple than I thought. Because when you come to work every day for a boss you do not like, for an organization that supported the downgrading of your role while hearing rumors for three years, that you were on the way out – some would not be at their best.
To be specific, Walton’s and Hield’s relationship started to hit the bumpers when Hield was forced out of his catch-and-shoot specialist role to be a facilitator but it finally fell off the road when he got dragged to the bench. We will call the reported considered traded requests and Hield’s refusal to take the coach’s calls as the emergency services did not arrive in time.
But even with Walton second-guessing it again and allowing him to start, someone by the name of Tyrese Haliburton will get in the way of that. Now there is something noble about an organization refusing to move unhappy contracted players. So by all means, we can ‘fight the power!’ of the player mobility movement and hope for the best. Or we can recognize that a 28-year-old, depreciating asset is sitting on the shelf collecting dust.
If he was moved three years ago, the Sacramento Kings could have potentially received more for him than the year after and so forth. So maybe instead of taking a play from an organization like Cleveland, that being keeping unhappy players to be role models for the young core—maybe, just maybe… we prioritize standards over an unattainable one-sided trade win.