All season long, I’ve had a running bit on Twitter — inspired the by tinfoil hat conspiracy theories that persisted in the deepest corners of the purple-and-gold-tinged internet this summer — that the Buddy Hield trade to the Lakers trade was not off. It was merely not quite complete, just waiting for another team to loop in so that the multi-team, multiverse-spanning swap could be completed once another player agreed to a sign-and-trade.
That was all a joke, of course. That deal was dead in the water once Dennis Schröder departed for the Boston Celtics, ending any hope of a sign-and-trade he could be worked into in order to make a multi-team deal end with Hield a Laker even after the Russell Westbrook trade this summer.
Except... maybe it wasn’t actually a joke. Or at least, not entirely. Because according to the latest report from Sam Amick of The Athletic, irony is dead and the Lakers’ front office has no self awareness (emphasis mine):
That being said, it has long since been revealed that the Lakers (26-30, ninth place in the Western Conference) know they made a mistake by adding Westbrook. I wrote in early January about how they showed covert interest in discussing possible Westbrook deals early on this season. The “covert” part, in case anyone wondered, referred to the general idea that they were really hoping Westbrook wouldn’t find out.
But more specifically, sources say one such scenario involved Sacramento and — wait for it — a deal in which then-Kings guard Buddy Hield would be sent to the Lakers. Yes, that’s the same Buddy Hield who came so close to being traded to the Lakers in the summer before they prioritized the Westbrook trade with Washington and left the Kings fuming (and who was traded to Indiana on Tuesday in the Kings’ deal for Domantis Sabonis).
I’m sorry. I could try to seriously analyze what this means, but I’m exhausted by the last few days, so all I can think about is how hilarious it is that the Lakers had the absolute audacity to seriously bail last-minute on the Hield deal this summer and then... return to Sacramento attempting to reacquire him in a trade that would have sent out the guy they left the Kings at the altar for. This is like breaking up with someone on your wedding day and then asking to hang out like nothing happened a few months later.
I am in almost disbelief at the sheer stones required for the front office to seriously propose any permutation of this. Honestly, kudos to Rob and Kurt and whoever for giving it a shot. That took some serious chutzpah. Respect, guys.
Now, what would that deal have looked like? Amick doesn’t say, so who knows if Westbrook would have been sent elsewhere to actually make a multi-team deal with the Kings for Hield exit my deranged fever dreams and enter reality, or if he would have been exiled to basketball hell himself. There definitely would have had to be more players or teams involved, just from a salary perspective, because of how much more Westbrook ($44 million) makes than Hield does ($22 million).
But this is just hysterical, I’m sorry. I don’t even have any serious thoughts beyond that. I just can’t believe this was a thing. I hope the Lakers keep trying to trade for Buddy Hield for the rest of his career, just proposing progressively worse and less self-aware trade packages to every team he goes to.
After all, we all need ongoing bits.