Shooting guard Buddy Hield is unhappy with his role on the bench and may want out of Sacramento, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Sam Amick and Jason Jones. Hield has come off the bench since Bogdan Bogdanović was swapped into the starting lineup on Jan. 24,
While Hield has performed well since the move, putting up a team-high 22.2 points on 52.6% shooting and a career-high 42-point game on Jan. 27, he reportedly believes he has a place as a starter in the NBA. The Kings have gone 6-3 with Hield on the bench, an improved showing after a 16-29 start to the season.
The motivation for Hield to request a trade also branches from his frustration with coach Luke Walton, according to The Athletic. He has not held back in criticizing his head coach, which has been "problematic" in the eyes of general manager Vlade Divac.
“Seems like we’re all over the place,” Hield said after a Dec. 26 loss. “Trust issues going on, I guess. They stop believing in players. It is what it is.”
Walton, who is in his first year as the Kings' head coach, has reportedly been watched closely from a Sacramento front office that has "found issues" in his coaching. Co-owner Vivek Ranadivé airs his feelings toward the situation in a text group chat that involves Walton, Divac and chief operating officer Matina Kolokotronis, per The Athletic.
After finishing with a 39-43 record under Dave Joerger last season, the Kings stand at 21-32 and 12th in the West entering Wednesday. They have lost a league-high eight games by three points or fewer.
Hield has averaged 20.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists this season on 43.2% shooting. The Kings reportedly see Hield as a "key player" to move forward with in their program.