After a report from Sham Charania of The Athletic, it would appear Buddy Hield and the Indiana Pacers are looking to part ways.
After contract extension negotiations stalled out, Buddy Hield and the Indiana Pacers have started dialogue to work on finding a potential trade, league sources say.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 20, 2023
Story at @TheAthletic: https://t.co/B7H26hxR26
The 30-year-old sharpshooter spent the 2022-23 season with the Pacers where he played 80 games and scored 16.8 points per game.
It was a really good season for Hield, shooting over 42 percent from three and over 61 percent in effective field goal percentage.
Why the Pacers are moving on:
Entering the last year of his four-year, $94 million contract, Hield is set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season. He played a big role on a Pacers team that got off to a nice start but petered out as the season went along, finishing 11th in the Eastern Conference.
The Pacers made three moves this summer that have dried up the well for a player like Hield. First, they signed Bruce Brown to a two-year, $45 million deal following his great run with the Denver Nuggets to win the NBA title. Second, they signed point guard Tyrese Haliburton to a mega-contract extension. Third, the Pacers traded with the Knicks for forward Obi Toppin. Toppin comes into this season making $6.8 million in a club-exercised option. He will be a restricted free agent in 2024. Indiana will likely match any offer for the 26-year-old and want him to be a part of their future if he has a strong season.
Then there is also Bennedict Mauthrin. The 2022-23 All-Rookie First Teamer will be looking at a bigger role this season. It makes a lot more sense for the Pacers to prioritize the 21-year-old's development over the older Hield. Guard Andrew Nembhard, the 31st pick in the 2023 draft played 75 games (started 63) last season. On draft night, the Pacers also acquired eight overall pick Jarace Walker.
All of this is to say that the Pacers depth chart is a little crowded and full of young talent.
As has been talked about many times, the Knicks’ outside shooting last season left much to be desired. In the regular season, they attempted the eight most three-pointers per game and shot 35.4 percent from three, 19th in the league.
It got really bleak in the playoffs, with New York only hitting 29.2 percent of their threes.
Buddy Hield, known as one of the top shooters in the league, has been a consistent deep threat. The former Oklahoma Sooner has shot 36-42 percent from three every year of his career. He is one of five players in NBA history to hit 200+ three-pointers in five straight seasons. The other four are Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, James Harden, and Damian Lillard (Per ESPN Stats & Info).
An area the Knicks struggled with last season was above-the-break three-pointers. They shot 34.4 percent in the regular season, which was the tenth worst in the league. Hield hit 228/553 of his threes from that area, shooting 41.2 percent. His shooting would definitely help elevate an offense that found itself falling into lulls last season. Hield scored at least 20+ points in 27 games last season.
When it comes to defense, Hield is not as bad as advertised. Last season, he was +1.6 defensive win shares which was the same as Knicks shooting guard Quentin Grimes. I’m not saying Hield is a lockdown defender, but he is not the negative defensive asset he gets talked about as. He also made more of an effort to rebound last season, pulling in five per game, and had a career-high 14.9 rebounding percentage. His playmaking won’t wow you, but he’s had 200+ assists each of the last five seasons. The Pacers shooting guard had at least four assists in 27 games last season, showing an ability to move the ball and not just be a shooter.
Buddy Hield can get trigger-happy from deep, but there is a lot more he brings to the table than just that.
The price/Is it worth it?
I’m not sure what it would take to get Buddy Hield, but I would assume the Pacers would ask for a first-round pick. Last season, the Pacers traded Caris LeVert to the Cleveland Cavaliers and got back a lottery-protected first-round pick, two send-round picks, and Ricky Rubio.
The Knicks have first-round picks to offer but will likely hold onto them in order to make a big splash at a player like Giannis Antetokounmpo.
New York has also noted that Quentin Grimes will be a part of their future. A trade for Hield would likely move Grimes to the bench and cut into playing time. The guard position is a little crowded with Jalen Brunson, Quentin Grimes, Josh Hart, Immanuel Quickley, and Donte DiVincenzo.
I think Hield is a valuable player and would be electric when he’s rolling in a Knicks uniform. It is probably unlikely the Knicks made a serious play for him, but they might as well make a call.
The sharpshooter will garner a lot of interest around the league for his services.
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