The Indiana Pacers have finally traded Buddy Hield after months of animosity and speculation. The deal was announced by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN at 10:24 AM, about four and a half hours before the 3 PM deadline, and with plenty of time for the Pacers to make another move.
The trade: Buddy Hield to the Philadelphia 76ers for Furkan Korkmaz, Marcus Morris, and three second-round picks
For Philadelphia, this is a low-risk, high-reward move. Buddy Hield has been on their list of preferred players for a while now, and he provides solid spacing next to Joel Embiid and first-time All-Star Tyrese Maxey in the backcourt.
Depending on whether Hield starts or comes off the bench, he can either bolster the shooting in the lineup or provide a solid bench spark in the second unit. Of course, Philadelphia's fortunes in the playoffs do not rely mostly on Hield and mostly rely on whether or not Joel Embiid is healthy, but provided he is, this is a fantastic trade.
Even more so when you realize Korkmaz and Marcus Morris have only averaged 25.8 minutes per game combined this season.
As for Indiana, this is about as good a trade as you can get for Buddy Hield's rather large, expiring contract. For a player who is making north of $19 million this season and has been having a down year, all things considered, you take three second-round picks all day, especially when one of them is Toronto's 2024 second-round pick, which is close to a late first rounder considering how poor Toronto has been this season.
As for Korkmaz and Morris, they will most likely not play a single game as Indiana Pacers. Neither of them is a projected playoff rotation player, so don't be surprised to see them getting dealt as well within the next few hours.
With both of them on expiring contracts and perhaps holding some value to a team out there, there is little to no point in keeping them, and Indiana probably made the trade with the intention of flipping them for further assets.
We will see how the rest of the trade deadline goes. In my opinion, this is just the first move Indiana will make today. Buddy Hield's time in Indiana has just about reached two years, and in those two years or so, he has averaged 15.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and one steal on 45/40/85 shooting splits.
While those numbers have gone down this season, mostly due to inconsistency, both with shooting and playing time, he is still a valuable addition to a contending team as a building piece. This trade all but guarantees Hield will play playoff basketball for the first time in his career, and it will be interesting to see how that goes.