The Philadelphia 76ers are rumored to be in the running for one of the best shooters in the NBA! But, it is not the one many Sixers fans have in mind. Shams Charania of The Athletic delivered news that Buddy Hield and the Indiana Pacers would be working together on a potential trade after the two sides failed to come to an agreement on a contract extension. Charania also did not divulge any specific teams that were interested in Hield in his original story, but he did provide some teams on Bally Sports' ‘The Rally.'
"The Lakers were long rumored for Buddy Hield… You look at teams like Dallas, Philly, Milwaukee. Those are the types of teams that could definitely use a shooter like Buddy Hield."
— The Rally (@TheRally) September 21, 2023
Charania mentioned the Milwaukee Bucks, Dallas Mavericks, and Philadelphia 76ers as potential destinations for Hield. Is there a trade that makes sense for the Sixers? What would a trade between the two teams look like?
Why it makes sense for the Sixers
The Sixers need more shooters on their roster surrounding Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, and James Harden (if he's still on the team). The Sixers led the league in three-point percentage last season at 38.7%. But, they only averaged 32.6 threes per game, a number that ranked in the bottom half of the NBA. Part of that is because of how frequently Embiid and Harden made trips to the free throw line. Only four players on last year's team that shot more than three threes per game remain on the Sixers' roster: Maxey, Harden, Tobias Harris, and De'Anthony Melton.
Philly's shooting surplus took a big hit when Georges Niang left in free agency to join the Cleveland Cavaliers. But that's where Buddy Hield comes in. Not only is Hield one of the best shooters in the NBA, but he also shoots a ton of them. Among players with at least 5.5 three point attempts per game, only two players had a better percentage than Hield last season: Steph Curry and Tyrese Maxey, per NBA.com. Looking squarely at players with that type of volume on catch and shoot threes, nobody was better than Buddy Hield last season. If they want to shoot more threes this season, getting Buddy Hield would absolutely help their cause.
Trading PJ Tucker might be a bridge too far for the Sixers, however. Tucker will be 39-years old in May, but he's still the best wing stopper the Sixers have defensively. But, it is fair to wonder if his reticence to shoot is doing more harm than the good he does on defense. The Sixers had a -3.4 net rating when De'Anthony Melton was on the floor and PJ Tucker wasn't in the playoffs, according to Cleaning the Glass. That's not great. Neither is the -9 net rating with Melton in Tucker's place among Philly' starters. But Philly was even worse with Tucker on the floor in both instances. Freeing up more playing time for Melton and adding what could be a great sixth man option in Hield who fits like a glove next to their stars offensively makes a good deal of sense.
Why it makes sense for the Pacers
The Pacers already have more guards than they can even play between Tyrese Haliburton, Andrew Nembhard, TJ McConnell, Bennedict Mathurin, Bruce Brown, and rookie Ben Sheppard from Belmont. With four of those players under contract long-term, it would make sense to not pull the trigger on an extension with Hield and look to get value back for him before he becomes a free agent. And they'd be getting that here.
Buddy Hield will have value across the league and the Pacers could fetch some picks back for him. They'd be getting two second-round picks already. And Jaden Springer is a worthwhile flier to take on. He's barely gotten any run in the NBA; he has 96 minutes to his name in two NBA seasons. But he impressed in Summer League and was an exciting and prolific prospect coming out of the University of Tennessee a couple of seasons ago.
— NBA (@NBA) July 13, 2023
Buddy Hield trade?
The Indiana Pacers have put Buddy Hield on the block. A few teams have been linked to him as a potential destination, one of which being the Philadelphia 76ers. They could use more shooting and Hield provides plenty of it. How this Hield situation shapes out will be worth monitoring before the season begins.