After an encouraging 39-win season in 2018-19, the Sacramento Kings were a young team on the rise with playoff intentions. But after a regrettable coaching change and obvious failed roster decisions, Sacramento is in a familiar place, trying to keep a star-type player happy and in a Kings jersey while the front office is influx. On the Locked On Kings Podcast, host Matt George was joined by Tim Maxwell from The Kings Herald to discuss Buddy Hield, his relationship with coach Luke Walton, and how the Kings can keep Buddy in Sacramento.
Tim Maxwell: I think there’s a way to work it out, but that window is very narrow. I think the first step you have to take, and I don’t think this is going to happen, so this is why I think Buddy Hield is probably gone either this summer or by the All-Star Break. I think you have to remove Luke Walton from his coaching position.
Luke Walton, his theory around what Buddy Hield should be is Zach LaVine and Buddy Hield is not Zach LaVine, he shades a lot more—on the offensive side—towards Klay Thompson, certainly not defensively.
I think Buddy struggles with his role and with his placement on the team both on a ‘starting versus subbing’ standpoint and from a ‘how much should I have the ball in my hands’ standpoint.
But Buddy Hield did succeed really well under Dave Joerger. Now he didn’t get along with Dave Joerger, I think we all saw that and heard that. If you can bring in the right coach and the right GM and the right players around those guys, I think it’s possible.
But that’s a very narrow window between probably getting rid of Luke Walton, hiring the right coach that can make Buddy Hield who he should be as a player, and getting Buddy Hield to buy in. I think you probably have to start Buddy Hield if you want to keep him.
And if the Kings don’t want to start him, I don’t think Hield is going to sit there as a sixth man, at least not on a non-playoff team.
Hield has three guaranteed years left on his current contract worth over $66 million, but as we’ve seen all across the league, players can demand trades and almost anything can happen.