Buddy Hield and the Indiana Pacers are reportedly exploring trade destinations for the shooting guard after both sides failed to agree on a contract extension, sources told Shams Charania of The Athletic. While the Pacers did have an offer on the table for Hield, it reportedly did not make the 30-year-old “feel desired.”
Hield is down to the final year of his current contract worth $19.2 million. A lot of teams should be on Indiana's phone lines following this news because of what the Pacers guard brings as one of the elite marksmen in the NBA today.
This 2022-23 season, Hield averaged 16.8 points on 45.8 percent field goal shooting and 42.5 percent three-point shooting in his first full season in Indy. The Oklahoma standout is a career 40.2 percent shooter from beyond the arc. He also owns the highest total of three-pointers made (1,381) over the last five seasons above guys like Stephen Curry (1,261) and Damian Lillard (1,118).
With Buddy Buckets' desire to be traded, let's look at the best potential destinations for Buddy Hield amid stalled contract talks with the Indiana Pacers.
The Boston Celtics seem to be always looking to improve their depth — no matter how deep they already are. Boston re-tooled once again this past summer, trading for Kristaps Porzingis while parting ways with a beloved figure in Marcus Smart. They also let go of backup forward Grant Williams, who signed with the Dallas Mavericks. Perhaps a trade for Buddy Hield will be Brad Stevens' next move.
To acquire Hield, Boston could send back Malcolm Brogdon to the Indiana Pacers. The veteran guard is reportedly not in the best of terms with the Celtics following their failed attempt to trade him earlier this offseason. If Brogdon enters training camp unhappy with his current squad, they should consider pushing through with trading him — and Hield could be a potential target.
The Pacers may want to acquire Brogdon back and bring him in as a veteran mentor for Tyrese Haliburton.
Corner threes are a staple in the Celtics offense. They shot over 40 percent from that area of the floor last season. However, Boston lost one of its best corner specialists in Williams this offseason. The burly forward has shot at least 42 percent from there three times in his career.
With Hield, they not only get to replenish what they lost in that department, they add one of the deadliest corner snipers in the NBA. Hield is a career 47.5 percent shooter from the corner and he should thrive with the amount of open looks the Celtics can generate for him on offense.
The New York Knicks are another potential trade destination for Buddy Hield. New York hasn't made big splashes in this offseason despite all the assets they have. They could use some of those assets to cash in on a player who will address one of their biggest weaknesses as a team.
The Knicks struggle with the three-point shot. They ranked just 19th in the NBA during the regular season at 35.4 percent and were dead last among all 16 teams (29.2 percent) during the 2023 NBA Playoffs. They did sign Donte DiVincenzo, who shot 39.7 percent from three with the Golden State Warriors last season, in the offseason. But Hield would be the perfect acquisition to address their concerns in that department.
To acquire Hield, the Knicks could send out the remainder of Evan Fournier's two-year deal, which has a team option in 2024-25. Fournier is set to make $18.8 million as an idle piece on Tom Thibodeau's roster, so it makes sense for New York to find a trade for him. The Knicks could use his contract to match salaries while attaching some of their draft assets. New York could potentially own four 1st round picks in 2024 and two in 2025, which still leaves the organization with enough picks if ever they want to acquire a huge star.
Buddy Hield already has a house in Dallas. Why not just bring Buddy home?
There is nothing more that complements Luka Doncic than three-point shooters — and Buddy Hield is as elite of an option as they come. Though Hield would likely prefer to be a starter on his next team, maybe a featured role off the bench for a playoff contender like the Dallas Mavericks will excite him just as much.
The Mavericks were one of the top three-point shooting teams in the league last year, finishing at 8th with 37.1 percent. Still, they could use a more consistent sniper off the bench, than perhaps Tim Hardaway Jr., who they could send over to Indiana in a potential trade.
In a 21st-ranked offense that doesn't feature many elite scoring options, Hield shot 42.5 percent from long distance while making 3.6 triples a night. Just imagine how efficient he would shoot with the open looks he'll get playing alongside Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.
The Mavs may need to get creative in acquiring the sharpshooter, however, as they don't necessarily have the draft assets that the Pacers may desire in a trade for Hield. Perhaps they may need to call on a third team to strike a deal.