Less than a week after changing his Indiana Pacers’ jersey number from 24 to 7, Bahamian professional basketball player Chavano ‘Buddy’ Hield is in limbo as contract extension negotiations between himself and the Pacers has stalled, according to reports late Wednesday. That means that the Grand Bahama native and his team have begun dialogue on finding a potential trade destination.
It is not written in stone that he will be traded as the two sides can still come to an agreement. For now, Hield is with the Pacers and is set to make $18.5 million this year, which can go as high as $19.2 million through bonuses.
The specifics of the contract extension offered by the Pacers are unknown, but what is known is that Hield did not accept the extension. He is eligible for an extension of up to four years. The 30-year-old signed a four-year $94 million contract with the Sacramento Kings in 2020 before being traded to the Pacers in February 2022. This is Hield’s final year on his contract before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. With the way the game is being played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) nowadays, requiring more focus on the long ball, it is believed that Hield could find a suitor quickly.
The Pacers are stacked at the guard position this season with the likes of starting point guard Tyrese Haliburton and Benedict Mathurin, Andrew Nembhard, T.J. McConnell and the recently signed Bruce Brown.
As for which team wants to grab Hield, that is not known, but the Los Angeles Lakers have been rumored to be a potential landing spot for the Bahamian. Hield was drafted with the sixth pick by the New Orleans Pelicans in 2016 and was traded to the Kings before the season ended. He spent four seasons with the Kings before he was traded to the Pacers.
Hield had a good season, recording a franchise record and career high for made three-pointers with 288. His previous season-high of 282 was done in the 2020-21 season. Those 288 made three-pointers this past season ranked him at number two in the league behind the Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson, the son of Bahamian retired basketball player Mychal ‘Sweet Bells’ Thompson, who had 301.
The veteran fell just 12 made three-pointers short of the elusive 300-made three-point shots club that was entered into by Thompson this year. Thompson joined teammate Stephen Curry and the Philadelphia 76ers’ James Harden in that club.
The Grand Bahama native averaged 16.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game in his 80 games played this season. He started at the two-guard spot in 73 of those 80 games. Hield was able to post a career-high of 1.2 steals per game. He shot 45.8 percent from the field and 42.5 percent from deep, which was his best clip from deep since the 2018-2019 season.
The Pacers had a promising season but they struggled in the second half of the season. They finished with a 35-47 win/loss record, five games off the pace from advancing to the play-in tournament in the Eastern Conference of the NBA. They finished 11th overall.