Sacramento Kings

Divac says Kings are ‘working on’ contract extension for Hield, but it could be a while

Buddy Hield on breaking the Kings 3-point season record held by Peja Stojaovic

Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield talks Saturday, March 23, 2019, about how it felt to break the 3-point season record set by Peja Stojakovic in 2004.
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Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield talks Saturday, March 23, 2019, about how it felt to break the 3-point season record set by Peja Stojakovic in 2004.

The Kings believe Buddy Hield is an important part of their future and they want him to stay in Sacramento for years to come.

Kings general manager Vlade Divac told The Sacramento Bee the organization hopes to re-sign Hield, who is entering the final year of his contract. Divac and his front office have about six weeks to sign Hield to a rookie-scale contract extension or the 26-year-old sharpshooter will likely become a restricted free agent next summer.

Divac wouldn’t reveal much regarding negotiations with Hield, one of the premier 3-point shooters in the NBA, but he indicated the two sides are talking when asked if they are working toward an agreement.

“We are … every day is working and Buddy’s a big part of this team, and we’ll figure something out down the road,” Divac said. “We’re working on it and we’ll figure out something. Buddy is (a) very important piece to this franchise.”

Hield is entering the final season of the four-year, $15.9-million rookie contract he signed after the New Orleans Pelicans selected him with the sixth pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. He has flourished since coming to the Kings, who acquired him in the trade that sent DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans in February 2017.

Under the collective bargaining agreement, Hield is eligible for a rookie-scale extension worth up to $158.1 million over five years. The deadline for that deal is Oct. 21, the day before the 2019-20 season begins.

If the two sides don’t reach an agreement before the deadline passes, the Kings will have to wait until next summer to address Hield’s future. Under that scenario, they could extend a $6.48-million qualifying offer to make Hield a restricted free agent, which would give them the right to match any offer he receives from another team.

Hield has proven worthy of a long-term commitment as he enters the prime of his career, but the Kings might be reluctant to offer the full $158.1 million. Bogdan Bogdanovic is entering the final year of a three-year, $27-million deal. De’Aaron Fox and Harry Giles III will be eligible for extensions in 2021 with Marvin Bagley III to follow in 2022.

The Kings will have to be savvy in order to keep their young core intact, but Divac has repeatedly expressed his desire to do so with the intention of building a championship contender. The team signed free agents to front-loaded contracts this summer in order to preserve future cap flexibility.

Hield averaged 10.6 points per game as a rookie and 13.5 points in his second season, but he blossomed after emerging as a starter in 2018-19. He averaged 20.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists, shooting 45.8 percent from the field, 42.7 percent from 3-point range and 88.6 percent at the free-throw line.

Hield became the first player in NBA history to make 600 3-pointers in his first three NBA seasons, surpassing the likes of Damian Lillard, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Hield finished third in the 3-point contest at All-Star Weekend and was fourth in Most Improved Player voting, finishing right behind Fox.

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Jason Anderson is an award-winning sportswriter for The Sacramento Bee. He started his journalism career at The Bee more than 20 years ago and returned to cover the Sacramento Kings in September 2018.
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