The Buddy Hield Dilemma

Following his move to the bench, General Managers around the league felt the ripples of discontent from one of the game’s best sharpshooters. Buddy Hield’s displeasure in Sacramento has brought us to an offseason where whether or not Buddy will be traded is the main topic of conversation.

Sacramento’s new GM, Monte McNair, is the one left with the final say on that topic. Like everyone else, McNair senses the conundrum, acknowledging the elite skill of Hield:

“I think we all know in this league spacing is of the utmost importance and Buddy is one of the absolute elite shooters in this league, and we’re going to be able to utilize that skill set as we implement our system,” McNair said.

Indeed, this is not some opportunity equipped with an easy solution. This is one of reality’s cruel dilemmas. What really twists this piercing knife of a debacle is the fact that Hield and Fox looked electrifying just two seasons ago, looking to be a formidable 1-2 pairing in the eyes of many around the league. 

Now the hyenas begin to circle the limping lion cubs; teams see now, in September of 2020, that there is a fractured relationship or two in that locker room that may prevent these cubs from becoming full-grown lions and kings of the jungle. For many teams, it’s time to go in for the kill.

The Philadelphia 76ers are one of those groups of hyenas ready to pounce. What makes them stand out most from the crowd of potential hunters is Hield’s constant engagement with social media posts including photoshopped images of the shooting guard in a 76ers uniform.

Sadly, Philadelphia, who is not in any way independent from locker room dysfunction, does not have what it takes to steal Buddy away. Most rumors speculate that a Kings-76ers trade would include a horrific Al Horford contract. In fact, most of the Buddy-Philadelphia speculation seems to be a last ditch effort for Philadelphia to maintain whatever fleeting prestige they have left.

On another note, recent reports have indicated that Victor Oladipo is looking to move on from Indiana in the offseason. This presents McNair with the possibility of trading Hield straight up for Oladipo. Of course, this does not secure Oladipo in the long term; he has one year remaining on his deal. But we’re looking at the possibility of a Fox-Oladipo backcourt which has more than enough punch-potential to keep Oladipo in Sac.

Perhaps the most agonizing fact is that these fraught relations between Hield and Sacramento could have been avoided altogether. It was, after all, Luke Walton who attempted to transform Hield into a combo guard, rather than playing him to his strengths. The explosion of that failed experiment has left all of those spot-up, catch-and-shoot abilities that are so valuable in today’s NBA scattered around for other GM’s to grab, and all because Walton skipped out on reading Buddy’s owner’s manual. 

Now, Kings fans must continue to listen to Hield’s displeasure whilst simultaneously hunkering down in preparation for the trade that will send off what was once, and very well could still be an integral piece to the Kings’ success.

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Kings Talk: Episode 78

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