Buddy Hield and the Indiana Pacers could not come to terms on a contract extension. Now, the two parties are working together to find a potential trade. There are a lot of teams who could really use a sharpshooter like Hield, including the Milwaukee Bucks.
For what it's worth, after Shams Charania of the Athletic dropped the surprising development, he shared in a follow-up report that the Bucks are one of the teams that could be interested in trading for the marksman. The Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers have been mentioned as potential suitors as well, so that means Milwaukee will be facing some tough competition if they are to pursue Hield.
"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
Of course, the Bucks are a curious addition because not only are they in the same conference as the Pacers, but they're also in the same division. That doesn't matter as much in the NBA as it does in leagues like the NFL, but it might be enough to serve as a tiebreaker if Indiana has equal offers elsewhere. It depends on what the Bucks would offer.
With that said, let's take a look at the best trade offer the Bucks can give to the Pacers to land Buddy Hield.
Perfect Buddy Hield trade Bucks must offer Pacers
Bucks get: Buddy Hield
Pacers get: Pat Connaughton, Grayson Allen, Chris Livingston, 2024 2nd-Round pick
Why it makes sense for the Bucks
It's hard to make a trade for Hield involving the Bucks for a few reasons that intertwine with each other. One of those being that the Bucks are a second apron team. According to the new CBA signed this offseason, going a second hard cap over the luxury tax requires teams to send out equal or more money than what they receive in a trade. The Bucks are one of those teams after splurging in the offseason to bring back key members of their (aging) core in Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez.
In order to trade for Hield, they must send out at least $19.2 million. It would be pretty easy to assume that Grayson Allen and his $8.9 million expiring contract would get sent out for a much better version of him. But coming with that other $10-plus million is a difficult task. Bobby Portis makes $11.7 million, but is a key contributor for them off the bench and is a beloved fan favorite. That's a tough sell.
They aren't trading Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, or Brook Lopez, so if they aren't trading Portis, that leaves one other option: Pat Connaughton. Connaughton is also a fan favorite who routinely steps up in the postseason in a three-and-D role for the Bucks. He's a better defender than either Hield or Allen. Milwaukee should not part with Connaughton if they don't haveto, but there is a case to be made they should here. Connaughton did not play in Game 1 of the Miami series this April even though he was healthy. Connaughton never supplanted Allen from the starting lineup even though he probably should have.
Connaughton is an awesome role player that helps teams win, but he's still mainly a role player. Hield is one of the best shooters in the NBA that would help one of the most potent shooting teams become even more lethal.
Buddy Hield is a shooter that EVERY near-contender or contender should be clamoring to get.
Tied for 𝟮𝗡𝗗 in spot-up PPP (𝟭.𝟮𝟯) out of players with at least 4.0 spot-up possessions per game, while having a 58.0 eFG% in hand-off situations (𝟳𝟱𝗧𝗛%).
Buddy also shot 42.0%… pic.twitter.com/EHgW24JWup
— 𝗕𝗠𝗢𝗥𝗘🚨 (@bmoretalks_ball) September 22, 2023
The Bucks shot 40.3 threes per game last season; the fourth most in the NBA. But their 36.8 shooting percentage on those looks ranked 10th in the league. Imagine the bind Hield could put defenses in screening for Giannis and either giving him a runway or flaring out to the three-point line like this.
Buddy Hield Ghost Screen for the go-ahead 3: pic.twitter.com/xmXlh4kRvi
— Coach Gibson Pyper (@HalfCourtHoops) April 22, 2021
Losing Pat Connaughton, Grayson Allen, and Chris Singleton, 2023's Mr. Irrelevant who the Bucks gave a hefty contract to, would hurt, especially with how much youth and athleticism the Bucks need. But Hield would be a tremendous fit.
Why it makes sense for the Pacers
Pat Connaughton would bring valuable playoff experience to a very young Pacers team. Grayson Allen could play Hield's role in smaller doses. There is a logjam for minutes at guard in Indiana, but Connaughton and Allen could help some young players learn the ropes. Indiana could also trade Allen for more picks. And Portland's second-round pick this year will be very valuable. That pick could land in the early 30s. All that for a player the Pacers might not re-sign? That's great value for Indiana.
Buddy Hield is one of the best shooters in the NBA. The Bucks are one of the more aggressive shooting teams in the league. There could be a fit there. With Hield on the block, maybe that fit can come into fruition soon.