Buddy Hield reportedly willing to take slightly less than max, but will Kings offer it?

Kurt Helin
NBC Sports

What is this player worth: 20.7 points per game, with just less than half his shot attempts coming from three, where he hit 42.7 percent, an elite shooter with a 58.7 true shooting percentage, a 17.5 PER, with the second-highest win shares and value over replacement player on the team. And at 26 he is just entering his prime?

Max? A little less than max?

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Those are Buddy Hield‘s numbers, and right now the Kings and Hield’s agent are talking possible contract extension. The teams have until Oct. 21 to get a deal done or Hield becomes a restricted free agent next summer.

If the Kings thought Hield was a max player the contract would already be in front of him to sign. Hield would accept a little less than the max, sources told Jason Jones of The Athletic.

A league source said Hield is willing to accept less than the max he’s eligible for but doesn’t want an offer that would be an “insult.”

The max for a rookie-scale extension is five-years, $170 million, so far only Ben Simmons (Philadelphia) and Jamal Murray (Denver) have gotten those. Caris LeVert signed a slightly under-market three-year, $52.2 million contract. That’s been it for rookie extensions out of this class. The No. 2 pick Brandon Ingram is not getting one with his new team in New Orleans (especially after his blood clot health scare last season) and the Celtics and No. 3 pick Jaylen Brown are not near a deal. (The No. 4 pick, Dragan Bender, is out of the league already.)

Hield’s shooting is critical to the Kings’ offense, with the slashing De'Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley III trying to get to the rim. Both of those guys will be looking for a max extension in the coming years, don’t forget, and the Kings signed Harrison Barnes for four-years, $85 million. That’s a lot of committed salary, and Sacramento has Bogdan Bogdanovic who could fill in at the two for Hield if needed.

So what will the Kings offer? Whatever the number is, it will be less than the max, but will it be enough for Hield to jump at it?

If Hield doesn’t like it he can play this season — hopefully once again show he’s one of the top shooters in the game — then enter next summer as a restricted free agent. With a down free-agent class, a team with cap space could step up, make a max offer, and try to poach Hield.

Most likely no deal is reached and Hield is shooting for his contract this season, but it’s something to watch the next nine days.

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