Why is that, though?
Sure, the Lakers likely have interest in Hield. If there’s a skill set they’re missing or could at least use more of, it’s 3-point shooting. And since entering the league, the only shooters who have been better than Hield have a cool nickname and a spot in Springfield waiting on them when they retire.
Hield would step into the Lakers lineup and provide spacing and gravity right away. Fans have thought about what he would bring to the table for years and years. Everyone is well aware of how perfectly he’d fit next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
So, again, why are they not going after him?
Well, quite simply, they don’t have players to trade. There could be interest there, but it doesn’t really matter. The flurry of signings and extensions the Lakers agreed to this summer has left them with the team that they currently have, at least to start the season.
The Lakers only have a handful of tradeable players, and most of those aren’t even realistic. Obviously, LeBron and AD aren’t available, so mark them off. All of D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura, Austin Reaves, Gabe Vincent, Jarred Vanderbilt, Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish, Jaxson Hayes and Christian Wood can’t be traded.
That leaves you with the draft picks the Lakers made — Jalen Hood-Schifino and Maxwell Lewis — and last year’s draft pick, Max Christie. Even if they were open to trading any or all of those players, which they probably aren’t for Hield as a one-year rental, grouping the three of them together doesn’t get you close enough.
Pairing those three together leaves you about $12 million short in a trade. So, again, even if they wanted to trade for Buddy, they could not.
That doesn’t technically mean he can’t be a Laker this season, though. Once Dec. 15 comes, a number of Lakers will be available to be traded. If the Pacers haven’t worked out a trade for Hield or if his new team doesn’t like the fit, the possibility remains that he could be dealt to the Lakers.
But with the Lakers having a number of long-term contracts, that feels unlikely as well. It would take some assets attached to those players to convince a team to do the trade, but then you’re getting into specifics of hypotheticals and it’s a rabbit hole from there.
The main takeaway, though, is that the Lakers probably aren’t going to be in the Buddy Hield sweepstakes this year. And there’s a sweet, sweet irony to the fact that, finally, Hield is back on the trade market and the Lakers aren’t much of a realistic option.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.