NBA trade rumors and live updates: Everything that happened leading up to deadline day

INDIANAPOLIS — As Buddy Hield put on his shirt and pulled on his sneakers following the Indiana Pacers’ victory over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night, he shouted a question that addresses the elephant in every NBA locker room at this point in the season.

“What time is the trade deadline Thursday? 12 (p.m. ET)?” Hield asked.

“3 p.m. (ET)!” someone else in the locker room shouted back before Hield responded.

“Wow, and we have a game that day! That’s crazy.”

Hield isn’t oblivious to the rumors and reports, specifically those involving him. The 31-year-old has established himself as one of the best shooters in the NBA. But he hasn’t shot the ball as well as he has in years past, isn’t getting any younger and is on a $19.3 million expiring contract. He is averaging 12.0 points per game while shooting 38.4 percent on 6.9 3-point attempts per game this season, which is down from the 16.8 points and 42.3 percent he shot on 8.5 3-point attempts per game in 2022-23.

Those factors could dictate his future location, be it in Indiana or elsewhere, and will depend on the Pacers deciding if they would like to gain assets in a potential trade or run the risk of letting Hield slip away for nothing in free agency.

“It’s the business of basketball,” Hield said of hearing his name in trade rumors. “One thing about me, I always thank God I have a jersey on me. You always feel appreciated because somebody wants you, and if it happens, then a new team is gonna get a Buddy that’s ready to play and is excited for new opportunities. But right now, I’m here in Indiana and just taking it day by day.

“We’ll see what happens.”

All things considered, Hield appears to be unbothered. He left the locker room Tuesday night smiling and singing after a strong game off the bench in which he scored 12 points, including two 3s. The Pacers outscored Houston by 11 points in Hield’s minutes, a team high. That joy carried over to Wednesday’s practice, as Hield laughed and joked with several Pacers staffers while getting extra shots up after most players had already left the gym.

The eight-year NBA veteran has been traded twice midseason: from New Orleans to Sacramento in 2017 in the DeMarcus Cousins trade, and from Sacramento to Indiana in the Tyrese Haliburton-Domantas Sabonis blockbuster. While Hield doesn’t want it to happen a third time, he’s well aware of how the Pacers have used midseason trades to change the trajectory of their franchise. Last month, Indiana traded three future first-round picks, Bruce Brown and Jordan Nwora to the Raptors in exchange for two-time All-NBA forward Pascal Siakam. Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said the Siakam trade wouldn’t have been possible had Indiana not traded for Haliburton, who’s since become a two-time All-Star, during the 2021-22 season.

Haliburton has always been teammates with Hield in the NBA, and although he didn’t explicitly say he wants Hield to stay put, the Pacers’ leader made it very clear how much he values him.

“He’s one of the best shooters that’s ever touched a basketball,” Haliburton said after Tuesday’s win. “His gravity when he’s on the floor, in our stack actions, in our movement actions, a lot of times you have to respect what he does even if he’s not making shots in the game. You gotta run two (defenders) at him, and that kind of opens up everything for us.”

Backup point guard T.J. McConnell echoed the same sentiments about Hield while taking it a step further.

“The guy never has a bad day – ever,” McConnell said. “That’s an elite skill to have, especially in this league. People look at the money we make and say we can’t have a bad day, but that’s just not the case. We’re human at the end of the day, and the energy and charisma he brings to the locker room is unmatched.”

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