Last season must feel like an eternity ago for the Sacramento Kings. After a surprising step forward, the Kings entered this season with hopes of potentially making the postseason. They had what looked like a solid roster built around De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley III hopefully could have made a step forward, some veterans were brought in as free agents, and a new coach was in town with Luke Walton replacing Dave Joerger.
With a 21-32 record, though, the Kings season has gone nowhere close to as planned. They started off slow and had to make moves, like trading two of those offseason signings, Trevor Ariza and Dewayne Dedmon, while adjusting the rotation. This, in the short-term, has netted results, as Sacramento has won six of eight, but not everyone is happy.
Hield was recently shifted to the bench in place of Bogdan Bogdanovic. In a piece on the Kings, Sam Amick, Jason Jones, and Shams Charania of The Athletic touched on how he’s not a fan of the move, as he believes he is a starter. The trade deadline has come and gone, so Hield is with the Kings for at least the rest of this season, but his new role puts him in a spot where he may consider his future.
But Hield’s situation remains one Divac has to monitor. If Hield remains displeased with his role, a source with knowledge of his thinking said he might request a trade. He believes he is a starter in the NBA and there’s no guarantee he’ll get that job back, given how the team has played lately. And unlike last season, when he never criticized Joerger publicly and even refrained from doing so after their well-chronicled January 2019 run-in at Golden State, Hield has shown a willingness to criticize Walton that has proved at times problematic.
Hield has reason to believe he’s a starting-caliber player. He’s played extremely well ever since arriving in Sacramento and the Kings paid him like a starter before the beginning of the season when he signed a four-year extension. From the report, it sounds like Hield and Walton struggle to see eye-to-eye — there have been murmurs throughout the year of Walton clashing with Kings players, with Hield being one of the more vocal ones. It’s still only February, though, so there’s plenty of time to potentially mend whatever bridges need to be mended before Hield’s extension kicks in next season.