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Buddy Hield and the Kings are not pals right now

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We have that and more in Thursday’s NBA newsletter.

Phoenix Suns v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Something pretty fascinating is happening in Sacramento, where Buddy Hield — who I wrote about last week — is going to the mat for an early extension, lightly threatening a trade request if the Kings don’t give him a contract for the 2020-21 season and beyond now. The extension deadline is Monday.

Hield is reportedly seeking close to $110 million over four years, while the Kings have offered $90 million over four years. This is slightly more than a quibble, until you remember that the Kings will pay Harrison Barnes, Trevor Ariza, Dewayne Dedmon, and Cory Joseph a combined $61 million this season, and Hield is asking for just $5 million per season more than what the Kings offered.

Barnes is the issue for the Kings here: Sacramento overpaid the market on him, and that could impact the cap as the team tries to retain Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic, De’Aaron Fox, and Marvin Bagley III. It seems unfair to make up the Barnes overpay on Hield’s second contract solely because the Kings have leverage over Hield (restricted free agent rights next summer) that they didn’t have on Barnes.

So what leverage does Hield have here? Kings fans are smartly noting that the franchise has the contractual leverage here: if Hield hits restricted free agency next summer, Sacramento can match any offer sheet he signs with another team. Hield could sign the one-year qualifying offer, but he’d be giving up a lot of short term money and risking a long-term high-dollar contract.

But the contractual leverage isn’t everything these days. Go ahead, tell me the last NBA player to request a trade who wasn’t gone in less than a year. Integral players (which Hield clearly is for Sacramento) can make things uncomfortable for teams. So it sounds like the Kings should probably up their offer or be prepared for an unhappy Hield this season.

Which one is really the bigger risk?


Five games on Thursday, including an NBA TV doubleheader.

Hawks at Bulls, 8 p.m. ET, NBA TV
Mavericks at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV

The regular season begins in five days.

Preview Season

Just a heads up that the SB Nation NBA season preview will be hitting on Thursday. There’s some good stuff from Michael Pina, Mike Prada and the gang in there! You’ll want to check in on Twitter or around 11 a.m. ET for links.


Breaking news right before the newsletter went out: Bradley Beal has reportedly agreed to a two-year extension, completely taking him off the trade market and the 2021 free agent market.

Brilliant Prada’s Pictures breakdown by Prada on how the Pelicans are using Zion Williamson to maximum effect.

Chris Haynes collects info on what the various players eligible for rookie extensions are asking for and being offered. Other than Hield, Jaylen Brown is the other most interesting candidate. Pascal Siakam is going to get a max one way or another.

Baxter Holmes with a long, reported meditation on the end of Carmelo Anthony’s NBA career.

Jonathan Tjarks on Karl-Anthony Towns’ time to shine.

I wrote about whether, had the Rockets not traded Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook, they would currently be title favorites. (This is being misread as me arguing they are now title favorites and wouldn’t have been without the trade. I am arguing the opposite.)

The Hornets switched chicken camps, from Bojangles to Chik-Fil-A. James Dator argues that this is Charlotte’s worst move of the offseason.

Jonathan Abrams goes inside the Pacers and their circle of mutual trust.

Mike Vorkunov in The Athletic on how The Alchemist became a cult classic among NBA players. If you’re interested in absorbing The Alchemist, I’m happy to report that Jeremy Irons did the audiobook, and Irons has one of the best audiobook voices ever, especially for a book like The Alchemist.

Fascinating analysis of the bot and troll army that attacked Daryl Morey’s Twitter account after his infamous deleted tweet. The expert cited has only seen one other coordinated attack like it, and that one was orchestrated by a state actor, so ...

And finally: brilliant piece by Dan Devine, who talked to non-star veterans about how you stick out a 10-year career in the NBA without a household name or marquee talent.

Be excellent to each other.