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Royal Reading: 76ers beat writer suggests Hield for Horford swap

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Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The longest season in NBA history will wrap up soon, meaning new Sacramento Kings general manager Monte McNair will begin to put together a roster that he hopes will end the franchise’s 14-year playoff drought.

Sacramento holds the No. 12 selection of the 2020 NBA Draft and will have to make some decisions on key free agents, including Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kent Bazemore and Alex Len. McNair can also make some trades to bring in some fresh blood using chips Nemanja Bjelica or Buddy Hield.

The rumors about a potential Hield deal continue to circulate after the disgruntled sharpshooter liked a post on social media that suggested the Philadelphia 76ers should make a move for him.

Sixers beat writer Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer suggests a package that would see the Kings get former All-Star Al Horford in exchange for Hield:

“Horford is set to make $27.5 million next season, while Hield is in line to receive an estimated $24.9 million. So the teams can find a way to make that trade work.

In Horford, the Kings would get a standout center to help end the squad’s 14-season playoff drought. He would be a leader by example for the Kings’ young core. Meanwhile, Hield, a 41.1% career three-pointer shooter, could provide the consistent sharpshooting the Sixers lost by not re-signing JJ Redick in free agency last summer.

I think that trade would be win-win for both players and teams.

Again, the Sixers could try to run things back. However, I don’t think Hield will be available if they wait until after the start of the season. So if they had to make a move now, it would be Horford in my opinion.

Horford has one less year on his deal remaining than Hield, but he will be 36 years old at the end of the contract. He averaged 11.9 points (his lowest since the 2008-09 season) and 6.8 rebounds per game while averaging 30.2 minutes each night. Horford is a clunky fit next to Joel Embiid, so the Sixers are looking to move on from the veteran.

The issue with this trade for Sacramento is that it already has Richaun Holmes on the roster. The 26 year old emerged as a starter and averaged 12.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. Not to mention that he is also roughly $22 million cheaper next season.

Horford — who played for the better team last season — finished the year with a +3.3 net rating, ahead of Holmes’ +1.2. Horford also had 0.108 defensive win shares, compared to 0.076 for Holmes. The veteran is the better outside shooter, which would enable head coach Luke Walton to space the floor with De’Aaron Fox running the show.

But, Holmes is the better athlete and rim-protector. He is a decade younger than Horford and will give McNair more financial flexibility moving forward, something he covets. Horford has lost a step, and I can’t imagine where his athleticism level will be at the end of the 2022-23 season.

The Kings should move on from Hield, but not if it means they’re getting an albatross of a contract in return.

What do you think of Pompey’s proposed deal?

On to some links:

Speaking of Hield, could the Dallas Mavericks be a suitor for the sharpshooter? SI’s Mike Fisher explores the possibility.

Which players on the roster this season will be back in 2021? Jason Jones of The Athletic’s looks at who will be back with the team next season.