Buddy Hield hinted about leaving the Kings in free agency next summer if they don’t sign him to a contract extension by Monday’s deadline.
He and Sacramento remain apart in negotiations. The Kings have reportedly offered $90 million over four years. Hield reportedly wants $110 million over four years.
So, Hield is intensifying his rhetoric.
Hield, via James Ham of NBC Sports California:
“I just know where my value is at, and I’m not going to budge for nobody,” Hield said. “I work hard. I come in here every day and I do my job.”
“It’s not frustrated, I’m just speaking to my heart,” Hield said. “I feel like people get mixed up with being frustrated. I’m just speaking what I believe and what I think. Like I said, there are 30 teams out there. If they don’t want to give me what I think I deserve, some team will give it to me. They’ll have the ability to match, or they’ll have the ability to let me go.”
“The goal is to be here,” Hield told a larger contingent of media. “I love Sacramento, but if they don’t want me here, if they don’t feel like I’m part of the core. … I like respect and loyalty, and I feel like I’m part of the group that’s getting the team back to where it needs to be.”
“Name one big free agent that came to Sacramento,” Hield said in the scrum. “I’ve been here three years trying to grow the program, grow the organization, and I feel like I could be rewarded close to that. But that’s just me. That’s my gut feeling.”
Hield, via Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee:
“I see it like an insult,” Hield said. “I feel like I’m worth more than that. If you say I’m your guy and you want to build around me, I just need you to show it. Actions speak louder than words. If you’re just talking and not showing nothing, I’m not going to respect it. I love playing here. I want to be here. This is my home. I’m trying to buy a house here, but everything is on stall mode because I don’t know if they’ll really commit to me.”
“I don’t know if things are going to get done,” Hield said while standing in front of his locker with more than a dozen reporters gathered around and three team staffers hovering nearby. “If it don’t get done, me and my team will look for something else — probably another home. Until then, we’ll see if they really want me here.
Chris Webber re-signed with the Kings in 2001, when he was the biggest free agent on the market. But that was back when they were good. They’ve been in a long rut since.
Sacramento appears on the verge of breaking through now. That’ll make the team more attractive to free agents.
Of course, Hield is a big part of the Kings’ rise. They might fear disrupting chemistry if he’s unhappy without an extension. He’s clearly trying to prey on that potential concern. That’s his leverage.
But Sacramento has far more leverage. Without an extension, Hield would be a restricted free agent, the Kings able to match any offer he signs. He can’t unilaterally leave next summer.
Hield could accept the $6,484,851 qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent in 2021. But that will be a stronger free-agent class, and Hield will be 28 then. That’d be quite risky.
The Kings also have another good young shooting guard in Bojan Bogdanovic. That gives them even more leverage with Hield.
There’s just not much Hield can do now except make waves through the media. So, that’s what he’s doing.
If he doesn’t get an extension, will it get worse? Sacramento should be wary of that. However, there’s also a chance the perceived slight motivates Hield into even better play. That’d be the Kings’ gain, because – again – they can still pay him next summer with no risk of losing him until 2021 at the very earliest (and that’s only if Hield is willing to take an unprecedentedly risky route with the qualifying offer).
There’s still plenty of time for Hield and Sacramento find common ground. He’ll likely keep applying pressure until a deal is reached or the extension deadline passes.