Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton, left, talks with Buddy Hield during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers on August 13 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
(Kevin C Cox/Pool Photo via AP)
By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
A POSSIBLY tenuous situation between Chavano “Buddy” Hield and the Sacramento Kings front office this offseason has already begun.
Following the Kings’ regular season finale, Hield spoke with reporters on several topics, most noteworthy was his reply when asked whether he would be content to continue his role off the bench next season.
“Y’all know me, y’all know how I talk, y’all know how I feel with a lot of stuff, y’all can read me well, so I’ll let y’all answer that for yourselves,” Hield said.
Hield played sparingly in several of Sacramento’s seeding games, including a season low 11 minutes in a win over the New Orleans Pelicans. He averaged just 14.3 points per game on 43 per cent field goal shooting in Orlando.
“I just have to work on my game, stay locked in, focused on what I got to do and just remember where I came from what got me here in the league and how I can stick around for a long time,” Hield said.
Just days after Hield’s comments, both Kings general manager - Vlade Divac and assistant general manager - Peja Stojakovic resigned from their roles in the organisation. Joe Dumars will take over as interim executive vice president of basketball operations.
Hield’s development was one of the many issues Divac discussed with the Sacramento Bee following his resignation.
“He didnt like the role he was in. I support his feeling...he has to look in the mirror and see what he does right and does wrong,” Divac said. “He is an elite shooter….but he has to provide that (more consistently). He has to do a better job defensively.”
In 72 games this season, Hield averaged 19.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and three assists per game. He shot 43 per cent from the field and 39 per cent from three-point range. He started 44 games this season before he was moved to bench in favour of Bogdan Bogdanovic on January 24. The Kings went 13-7 once Hield moved to the bench, prior to the league’s hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March.
Last November, Hield concluded his contract negotiations with the Kings and reached the most lucrative deal ever signed by any Bahamian athlete when he agreed to a four-year, $94 million contract extension. Had the sides not reached the deal, Hield could have become a restricted free agent next summer.
During the negotiations, Hield was very vocal on his situation in the national media and discussed his role in the team’s future.
“If it [the contract extension] don’t get done, me and my team will look somewhere else, probably look for another home. Until then, we’ll see what happens here. That’s the goal, to be here, and I love Sacramento. But if they don’t want me here, they don’t feel like I’m part of the core — I like respect and loyalty and I feel like I’m part of the group that’s been getting the team back to where it needs to be. So like I said I want to be here, but if they don’t want me here I’ll find somewhere else to be.”
During the same time period, the Kings offered Bogdanovic a four-year $51 million deal which remains unsigned. Third year point guard De’Aaron Fox will be eligible for his max extension next year and 2018’s second overall pick, Bagley, the following year.
In April, the Athletic reported that Sacramento considered retaining Bogdanovic a priority and would match any offer sheet toward the veteran guard.