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Buddy Hield bemoans 'trust issues' after Kings' 2OT loss to Timberwolves

Buddy Hield did not play for most of the latter stages of Sacramento’s 105-104 double-overtime loss to Minnesota on Thursday, and the fourth-year guard was not happy about it.

“It seems like we’re all over the place,” Hield told reporters after the game. “The coaches and everybody, trust issues going on, I guess guys stop believing in players.”

The head coach, Luke Walton, insisted that his late-game rotation had more to do with the players on the floor than those that were kept on the bench. He subbed out Hield with the Kings ahead 86-85 with 4:09 remaining in regulation. Sacramento lost the lead, then tied the game before both teams went scoreless over the final two minutes.

Hield re-entered and promptly hit a 3-pointer to tie the game, 97-97, with one minute left in the first overtime. He was then subbed in and out before scoring the Kings’ final five points; Sacramento ultimately fell by one.

“I didn’t sit Buddy as punishment,” Walton explained. “I played the guys that had it going. They earned that right to finish that game and they got within striking distance. It wasn’t a punishment at all.”

Hield, who finished with 17 points on 6-for-20 shooting, was not as willing to dismiss his absence from the final minutes of regulation.

“I feel like we should have won that game before (overtime) but I’m not the coach,” Hield observed.

Hield figured to be a focal point of the Kings’ future after signing a four-year, $86 million extension with Sacramento earlier this season. It was thought that he and fellow top-10 picks De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley would help the franchise take the next step toward playoff contention after its encouraging 39-win campaign in 2018-19.

Instead, the Kings have struggled with injuries and fluidity under Walton, whom the team hired in April to replace David Joerger. Hield’s 3-point accuracy has fallen from 42.7 percent last season to 35.8 percent in 2019-20. Even with a 12-19 record, however, Sacramento is still just 1.5 games out of eighth place in the West.

However the rest of the season plays out, Hield appears unwillingly resigned to endure whatever decisions Walton employs moving forward.

“It is what it is, man,” Hield said. “They have who they have playing out there and I just have to be supportive.”