Are the stars aligning for the Sixers to poach Buddy Hield from the Kings?

NBA: DEC 26 Kings at Clippers
LOS ANGELES, CA – DECEMBER 26: Sacramento Kings Guard Buddy Hield (24) looks on before a NBA game between the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Clippers on December 26, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

Once again Buddy Hield finds himself linked to the Philadelphia 76ers. The four-year guard has been the center of many trade rumors ever since he was benched in January.

It’s not uncommon for those rumors to involve the Philadelphia 76ers. After all, they appear to be a perfect fit on paper. Both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid clearly need shooters around them and Buddy Hield is one of the best in the game.

Hield also has not been shy about both, wanting out of Sacramento and even flirting with the Sixers’ fan-base.

With the draft approaching, rumors were obviously not going to slow down. In fact, one “insider” suggests that a trade may be materializing sooner than many thought.

Now, before I get into this “rumor” I do want to mention that this, like almost every rumor, should be taken with roughly one cup of salt. In fact, this particular “rumor”, considering the source, is more of a hypothetical than a rumor. Now that that is out if the way:

The “Rumor”

According to one Twitter “insider”, the Sacramento Kings may be looking to tank, meaning that Buddy Hield would be more available than ever.

Now, to repeat, take this with an immense amount of salt and neither the Twitter “insider” nor their source can be counted as reliable. That being said, it does bring up an interesting hypothetical: What if the Kings tank?

While this is certainly not a “sure-thing”, the Sacramento Kings could actually tank this up-coming season.

Why Would The Kings Tank?

The franchise has been a laughing stock for years. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2006. Trade after trade has gone by with the Kings consistently coming out on the losing end. The only chance they’ve had at signing free agents is to vastly overpay them.

After a front-office makeover, the organization may finally realize that they are not anywhere close to the playoffs.

While De’Aaron Fox is undoubtedly a talented player, the list of assets ends shortly thereafter. It makes all the sense in the world for the Kings to tank.

If the Kings were to tank, their list of untouchables would likely start and end with Fox. Should that be the case, then Buddy Hield would officially be on the trade market, as would other potential additions for the Sixers.

Potential Buddy Hield Destinations

Whether or not the Kings decide to tank, Buddy Hield will likely have a long list of suitors. Teams are always in the market for more shooting so why not target the reigning 3-point contest champion.

The list of teams potentially interested would likely be long but in my mind, the most likely contenders (in no official order) would be: Atlanta, Brooklyn, Dallas, Golden State, Milwaukee, and of course, Philadelphia.

All contenders who have the right combination of need and assets to pull off a trade.

Let’s not focus on the teams who can keep Hield out of Philly though. Instead, let’s focus on what the hypothetically tanking Kings may want for Hield.

A Buddy Hield/Sixers Deal

The Sixers would find themselves in a position to land one of the league’s top shooters but they would have to assemble a future-focused package. It would be tough for the Sixers to assemble a package that does not include Shake Milton or Matisse Thybulle but Sacramento may prefer future assets in any case.

Sacramento Receives: Al Horford, Zhaire Smith, the 21st overall pick, the 36th pick, and a 2023 second-round pick (most favorable via ATL, BRK, or CHA)

Philadelphia Receives: Buddy Hield and Nemanja Bjelica

Why The Kings Do It

While the Kings have been linked to Al Horford in the past, they wouldn’t be trading for him to help the team “win-now”. Horford would be used to match salary, and even, demand more draft capital.

The Kings would receive a young player who is full of athletic potential (though none of it unlocked and a total of three draft picks. The Kings would add two extra chances to take advantage of this deep draft and add another future high second-round pick.

The difficulty with trading while tanking is getting one-to-one value. We saw this when the Sixers traded Evan Turner for the literal last pick in the 2015 NBA draft.

While the Kings could likely receive more total value from another team, that deal would likely include a player that keeps the Kings from truly tanking.

Why The Sixers Do It

The reasons are fairly obvious. The Sixers need shooters and they add two high-quality ones in Buddy Hield and Nemanja Bjelica.

Both finished in the top 25 among all NBA players in three-point percentage (min. 300 att.). Both have also shot above 39% from three over their careers.

While neither are positive defenders, the Sixers should roll confidently with players like Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Matisse Thybulle at the defensive end. The Sixers’ coaching staff should also help negate the deficiencies of the new additions.

Giving up three picks will always be difficult but the Sixers have five this draft alone. Thanks to the lessons from one Samuel Blake Hinke, the Sixers find themselves in a place to make such a sacrifice.

And in any case, Buddy Hield is just the type of talent the Sixers need. Even if the team does need to give up Shake Milton (in which case the trade fewer picks) the Sixers will have their first sharpshooter since JJ Redick.

The Sixers shouldn’t trade for Hield “at all costs” but in this tanking hypothetical, they should make a strong offer, and soon.

Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire