Last season, the Toronto Raptors had four players in the top 15 in minutes per game. Knowing that a re-run of last year is not sustainable, acquiring Buddy Hield from the Indiana Pacers would be ideal for the Raptors.
It is not surprising that Toronto had one of the worst benches in the league last year due to their lack of depth. To put things into perspective, the bench was ranked last in scoring for two seasons in a row. It is clear that overworking the starters is a recipe for disaster, as we have seen with Fred VanVleet and his knee injury.
The Raptors desperately need a shot-maker and scorer coming off the bench who can relieve pressure off the starters and give them a few minutes to rest. Hield could be this player the Raptors need, thus making him a good fit for the Raptors system.
After getting traded to Indiana following his long tenure in Sacramento, Hield averaged 18.2 points, 4.8 assists, and 5.1 rebounds on 45% shooting and 36% from deep. What’s surprising is that in his career, 36.2% is the worst he’s shot in his career from long rage, implying he could be even better with Toronto.
What will the Raptors give up to acquire Buddy Hield?
After the blockbuster Tyrese Haliburton trade, it is clear that the Pacers are rebuilding. Hield, who is turning 30 in December, does not fit the timeline of their rebuild. He has trade value, so it makes sense that the Pacers will be ready to part with him for the right price.
There are various mock trades out there, but this is the trade package I would do as a GM. I would resign Thad Young to a $30 million, 3-year contract, then send a package of Young, Khem Birch, Malachi Flynn, a 2023 first-round pick, and a 2025 second-round pick to Indiana.
The Pacers would get Flynn, a former first-round young guard with potential who hasn’t had an opportunity to display his talent in Toronto, and picks for the future. They would have a reunion with the veteran Young, who would provide leadership for the young players.
Khem Birch can be used as a salary filler in future trades or a lottery ticket that could be reinvented.
For Toronto, they would give up Birch and Young, who has provided immense value for the Raptors in the past season. It is a necessary sacrifice to make. Making this trade gives more playing time for the 33rd pick Christian Koloko and the rising star in Precious Achuiwa to develop on the court.
It would be tough to part with the Canadian Birch, Flynn, and Young along with the future picks. Nevertheless, they would be getting a crucial player in Hield that can shoot the lights out.
With the move of acquiring Hield and resigning Chris Boucher, the Raptors bench will be a threat to other teams. Precious Achuiwa, Boucher, and Christian Koloko in the front court and the Hield/Dalano Banton backcourt duo will make for a pretty good bench combo on paper compared to the prior two seasons.