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Is Buddy Hield Worth a Max Contract?

Buddy Hield

Sacramento Kings shooting guard Buddy Hield is not happy with his reported contract extension offer.

According to sources, the Kings have offered him a contract in the realm of four years, $90 million. Hield and his agent are seeking something closer to $110 million over that time frame. This $110 million figure would be pretty close to a max contract for a player with less than seven years’ NBA experience.

The max contract for a player with 0-6 years in the NBA is 25 percent of a team’s total cap. According to Sportrac, the Kings have a total cap of $115,647,475. That makes Hield eligible for a contract worth $28,911,868 per year. Hield is asking for $27,500,000 per year with the $110 million figure he is requesting.

So, is he worth a max contract? Or anything that close to one?

Production

During Hield’s rookie year, he played for both New Orleans and Sacramento. But for simplicity’s sake, those 57 games in New Orleans will be ignored, as his specific production for the Kings alone is why they will be extending him.

Buddy Hield
Buddy Hield had his best season in 2018-2019. (Photo by LM Otero/Associated Press)

Over his 187 games (112 started) in Sacramento, he has averaged 16.9 points per game in 28.7 minutes played. His total field goal percentage is 45.6 percent, while he knocks down threes at almost a 43 percent clip. Hield also pulls down 4.4 rebounds per game, with 2.2 assists and 0.9 steals.

Those numbers are very good, if lacking in some of the “hustle” categories, like rebounds and steals. But Hield had his best year during the 2018-2019 season. Sacramento clearly hopes his best years are ahead of him, so last year’s numbers are most important.

In all 82 games last year, Hield averaged 20.7 points. He had his second-best three point shooting year at 42.7 percent. But, he also took 2.4 more threes per game than his previous high mark. His total rebound, assist and steal averages were also the best of his career.

If these numbers grow, or even stay the same, it is hard to argue against a rich contract for Hield. He may have not even reached his peak.

Conclusion

A $90 million contract seems exactly right for a player like Buddy Hield. He is a bona fide offensive weapon, who can score a multitude of ways and has a very high ceiling.

The problem with a $110 million-plus contract is that it will hamstring the team. It may preclude them from signing players that can help Sacramento get over the hump and get back to the playoffs. Asking for that extra $20 million smacks of selfishness on Hield’s part. That is backed up by him feeling “insulted” by that $90 million offer.

It is important for a player to know their worth and believe in themselves. Hield clearly has a good opinion of himself, and nothing but respect for him for making it known. But he has to recognize what a tough spot a max or near-max contract would put the team in.

Hield is a borderline star, but he has not shown quite enough to make NBA fans believe he can put the Kings on his back and carry them to the playoffs by himself. Regardless, if a number is not agreed upon soon, he may demand a trade. Furthermore, he could end up in restricted free agency this summer if an extension is not signed.

The deadline for an extension is Monday, October 21. The Kings begin their season against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, October 23.

Featured Image courtesy of Tyler Kaufman/Associated Press

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