Minnesota Timberwolves: 3 stars the Wolves should not acquire via trade

Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings could be a trade target. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings could be a trade target. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Buddy Hield
Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

Minnesota Timberwolves should not trade for Buddy Hield

No. 2: Timberwolves should not take on Buddy Hield’s contract

There’s a pretty good argument to be made that Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield doesn’t even belong in the “next tier of stars” category.

But his contract and big-name status suggest otherwise, and there’s been something of a clamoring for Hield to don a Timberwolves jersey, so here we are.

After all, the Wolves are always looking for more shooting, and Hield is one of the best 3-point shooters in the league.

Hield averaged 20.7 points and five rebounds per game while starting all 82 games in the 2018-19 season. He appeared to be on the verge of breaking through to true stardom and was awarded a four-year, $94 million pact prior to the 2019-20 season.

But Hield fell out of new head coach Luke Walton’s starting lineup around the time the calendar flipped to 2020, and the disappointing Kings instead brought their nearly-$100-million-man off the bench. He still had a decent season, although his 3-point percentage dipped below 40 percent for the first time since his rookie year, his free throw rate dropped, and he turned the ball over much more frequently.

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Hield remains a poor defender, which essentially wiped out everything he brings to the table offensively last year.

The contract declines in annual value as it ages, from $24.4 million in 2020-21 all the way to $18.5 million in 2023-24, the final year of the deal. That will make him more tradeable in a couple of years, but taking on $94 million for a player with a limited offensive game and no defensive value is tough to stomach.

And that doesn’t even take into account the acquisition cost. What would the Kings need to trade Hield? Surely, it would be something like this:

The Wolves would absolutely not give up the No. 1-overall pick for the opportunity to take on Hield’s unsightly contract, but perhaps they could move up five slots in the draft for their trouble.

In this scenario, the Kings are essentially unloading Hield’s contract and taking a flyer on 21-year-old Jarrett Culver while the Wolves are hoping they can unlock any remaining star-caliber potential for Hield while they move up slightly in the draft and keep the No. 1 pick.

Even this deal would clog up the Wolves’ cap sheet and not be the best use of Johnson’s expiring deal.

Don’t expect Buddy Buckets in a Timberwolves uniform anytime soon.