According to NBA insider and analyst Jordan Schultz, the Sacramento Kings are open to trading Buddy Hield.
The sharpshooting wing has been in the rumor mill for years. However, in hopes of ending the NBA's longest playoff drought (15 years), the Kings haven't found a deal enticing enough for them to prioritize their long-term growth over making a push for the playoffs. After falling short of that goal again last season, the franchise was on the verge of sending Hield to the Los Angeles Lakers before the latter opted to acquire Russell Westbrook instead.
Perhaps the Kings are finally prepared to place a greater emphasis on their future than their present, and they won't be as stubborn about being sellers. Then again, they currently hold the last spot in the Western Conference play-in tournament.
Beyond doing their due diligence, how aggressively should the Boston Celtics, in need of upgrading their shooting from beyond the arc, pursue Hield?
Naturally, the answer is Boston should do what it can to acquire the sixth-year sharpshooter. The problem is that the Celtics' offer won't be tough to top. Their best realistic proposal likely includes Romeo Langford, Aaron Nesmith, and a protected first-round pick. Josh Richardson would probably be involved, too, since his $11.6 million contract would help make the money work. However, Richardson, who signed a one-year extension before the season, won't become trade-eligible until Jan 29.
Rather than a package such as the one mentioned above, the Kings are hopeful by including Hield, they'll land Ben Simmons, or at least a more promising return than two unproven former lottery picks and a first-round selection that presumably would be at least top-14 protected. It's also unlikely that's where the Celtics are drafting next year.
Maybe they include another first-round pick; perhaps Sacramento still has better offers for the former sixth overall selection, who turns 29 on Dec 17. But Boston could reasonably conclude it can do better for that price than a one-dimensional player making $22.4 million this season and $20.5 million for the 2022-23 campaign, per Spotrac, granted Hield's a 40.1 percent three-point shooter.
Someone easier for the Celtics to acquire is Doug McDermott. While not the sexiest name or the only realistic option who could boost Boston's long-range proficiency, he fits alongside Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, and the Celtics could trade for him without sacrificing anyone from the top eight of their rotation.
McDermott, a career 40.8 percent shooter -- on significantly fewer attempts (3.2) than Hield's per game average of 7.5 shots from beyond the arc -- is knocking down 2.1 of the 4.9 (41.9 percent) threes he's taking per contest. Furthermore, according to NBA.com, McDermott's making 1.7 of the 4.1 (42.3 percent) catch and shoot threes he's hoisting. Excluding Brook Lopez, who's played in one game this season, of the players taking at least four of that type of three per game, McDermott's shooting percentage ranks ninth, per NBA.com.
His efficiency off the catch without requiring a high volume of touches would complement Tatum and Brown nicely. It would give them an option they can trust to knock down threes when they swing the ball to him. The same goes for drive-and-kick situations. Plus, there are the benefits from him further spacing the defense.
In the offseason, McDermott signed a three-year, $41.2 million contract with the San Antonio Spurs with $13.7 million cap hits each year of the deal, per Spotrac. The Celtics could use the $17.1 million trade exception they created in the sign-and-trade that sent Evan Fournier to the New York Knicks to acquire McDermott without giving up any players. Of course, that depends on whether the Spurs are willing to make the deal for only a protected first-round pick. If not, including Langford or Nesmith is still a reasonable offer that wouldn't propel the team too far into the tax or cost Boston any of its top-eight rotation players.
While there are other options one might prefer, including Hield, on top of the points made above about the luxury tax and not having to subtract any of their top-eight rotation players, McDermott addresses a need and fits alongside Tatum and Brown. Furthermore, the acquisition cost would allow them to make more deals, like acquiring someone skilled at facilitating offense for his teammates.