Picture this. Its 2am early Monday morning and Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield is sitting in a room with general manager Vlade Divac with just 13 hours left before the deadline for rookie extensions expires. A life-changing decision for one and a critical financial commitment for the other is on the line. Tick tick tick.
The weeks leading up to this moment were filled with public drama and serious concerns by both sides that a deal might not get done and the fallout could wreck what could have been a magical season in Sacramento.
Yes, it was starting to look like one of those obnoxious sports reality television shows, but cooler heads prevailed, and the result was a contract extension that both parties can live with. And that’s all you can really ask for in negotiations like this.
Hield landed a 4-year $86 million contract extension that will keep him in Kings purple through the 2023-24 season. Not bad for a kid from the Bahamas who never could have imagined such a windfall while playing high school ball just 10 years ago.
Divac locked up the first member of his young core for the next five years that includes Bogdan Bogdanovic, De’Aaron Fox, and Marven Bagley. Those deals loom, ahead for the Kings GM and he really needed to get this one done now.
Beginning in the 2020-21 season, Buddy will earn a contract-high $24.4 million and then his salary will decline by roughly eight percent in each of the remaining three years. By the final year of the contract, his salary would be a rather manageable $18.6 million. Or, just 13 percent of the team’s total cap. Assuming cap projections hold true.
2020-21: $24.4 million
2021-22: $22.4 million
2022-23: $20.5 million
2023-24: $18.6 million
So now to the fun stuff…
On top of Buddy’s base salary, is approximately $20 million in performance incentives. This amount is broken out over the life of the contract and includes both individual performance and team performance bonuses that could total some $106 million when it is all said and done. While some incentives are quite attainable, others are, well… Let’s just say that as Kings fans we would love for Buddy to get the full $106 million.
According to Jason Jones of The Athletic, here are the available incentive bonuses for year one. Years 2-4 are likely similar in nature.
Play at least 70 games AND shoot 85 percent from the free-throw line ($500,000)
Average fewer than two turnovers per game ($500,000)
Lead the league in made 3-pointers ($500,000)
Post a defensive rating below 110.5 ($500,000)
Be named an All-Star ($500,000)
Help the Kings make the playoffs ($500,000)
Help the Kings make it to the second round of the playoffs (additional $250,000)
Help the Kings make it to the Western Conference Finals (additional $500,000)
Help the Kings make the NBA Finals (additional $1 million)
This is a nice combination of individual and team goals to motivate Hield to improve in areas of his game that the team feels he needs to work on. If he achieves the individual goals, the team goals should fall into place and everyone wins. It will be fun to track his progress during the season
And that’s what came out of that 2am marathon. One can only imagine what kind of crazy incentives were on the table that morning, but the result was the first step to keeping this young “super team” together for many years to come.