Kings guard Buddy Hield said he feels undervalued by the organization and hinted he might demand a trade if the team doesn’t bring a better offer to the table before Monday’s deadline for rookie-scale extensions.
Hield’s voice quivered at times during an emotional postgame interview following a 124-110 victory over Melbourne United on Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center. After addressing a larger group of reporters, Hield told The Sacramento Bee he was insulted by the team’s four-year, $90-million offer, the terms of which were first reported Wednesday by Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports.
“I see it like an insult,” Hield told The Bee . “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.”
Hield, 26, isn’t demanding a max contract extension, but he told The Bee $100 million over four years would not be enough. League sources told Yahoo! Sports Hield and his agent, Brandon Rosenthal, are seeking a deal closer to $110 million. Hield said he was not confident the two sides could come to terms before the deadline and indicated for the first time he might seek a way out of Sacramento if that doesn’t happen.
“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. That’s the goal, to be here. I love Sacramento, but if they don’t want me here, if they don’t feel like I’m part of the core … I want to be here. If they don’t want me here, find somewhere else to be.”
Hield is eligible for a four-year deal worth about $130.7 million or a five-year, designated-player extension worth up to about $170 million. He will likely become a restricted free agent this summer if Monday’s deadline passes without an agreement. The Kings will have the right to match any offer he receives from another team, but the relationship could be damaged if the two sides don’t come to terms on an extension now.
Kings coach Luke Walton addressed the impasse before Wednesday’s game. Walton said he frequently talks to general manager Vlade Divac and the rest of the front office about basketball matters, but he stays out of financial discussions.
“As a coaching staff, you don’t get into the numbers,” Walton said. “That’s between the players and the front office and agents — and hopefully agents and front office so the players can focus on what we’re trying to do as well.”
As a former player who spent 10 seasons in the NBA, Walton said he understands the strain contract talks sometimes create.
“I know it’s real,” Walton said. “I’ve gone through it as a player and you overanalyze. I, as a player, overanalyzed things at times during free-agent years … but as a coach, I try to hang onto that as a positive, as a way to be able to talk to the guys and relate to them if I feel like we need to. And just being aware of, not just contracts, but as a player, there’s always family, there’s always something going on, a human element that is important and we are aware of as a group, and we support each other as a group. So teammates and coaches, we have each other’s back, and contracts are one of those things.”
Hield first expressed his feelings in an interview with The Bee last week. He reiterated them even more publicly Wednesday night with cameras rolling and a full contingent of Sacramento media standing by. Just before leaving the locker room, with the clock ticking closer to the deadline, Hield was asked if his relationship with the organization had been frayed.
“I’m cool with everybody,” he told The Bee. “They’ve just got to make something happen before the deadline. I have people I need to take care of. If they don’t trust me or they don’t believe in me, then I might be able to move on and try another option.”
Sacramento Kings preseason results
Oct. 4: Indiana Pacers 132, Kings 131 (OT)
Oct. 5: Indiana Pacers 130, Kings 106
Oct. 10: Kings 105, Phoenix Suns 88
Oct. 14: Kings 128, Utah Jazz 115
Oct. 16: Kings 124, Melbourne United 110
Sacramento Kings upcoming schedule
Oct. 23 at Phoenix Suns
Oct. 25 vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Oct. 26 at Utah Jazz
Oct. 28 vs. Denver Nuggets
Oct. 30 vs. Charlotte Hornets