SACRAMENTO -- Boom. The Sacramento Kings jumped in the trade deadline action Thursday morning, sending George Hill to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 3-team deal including the Utah Jazz.
The final deals haven’t been announced by either of the three teams and a source confirms that the situation is still fluid.
What’s Coming In
According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the Kings receive veteran Joe Johnson from the Jazz, as well as wing Iman Shumpert from the Cavs. Also included in the deal for Sacramento is the Miami Heat’s 2020 second round pick and $3+ million in cash.
There is a good chance that the Kings will buyout the remainder of Johnson’s $10.5 million contract for this season, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent. The 36-year-old posted 7.3 points per game in 21.9 minutes for the Jazz this season.
Shumpert has missed much of the season with a knee issue and hasn’t played since Jan. 23 due to plantar fasciitis. He’s averaging a career-low 4.4 points over 14 games for the Cavs this season. He’s on the books for $10.3 million this season and has a player option for $11 million next season.
What’s Going Out
First and foremost, Hill. The deal is still fluid, but in order to make the roster spots work, the Kings have to either include a second player in the trade or waive a player to bring both Johnson and Shumpert in.
Reports have the Kings working on a second deal to send Malachi Richardson to the Raptors for Bruno Caboclo. If they consummate that deal before the three-team swap with Cleveland and Utah, they can potentially waive Caboclo to clear a roster spot.
Why Sacramento Makes the Deal
Sacramento was tied to Hill’s massive $20 million contract for this season, another $19 million for next season and a $1 million buyout for the 2019-20 season. The 31-year-old guard is having one of his worst seasons as a pro for the Kings, averaging just 10.3 points and 2.7 assists per game.
With the Kings going young, Hill has come off the bench behind rookies De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic. Rookie point guard Frank Mason is out until after the All-Star break with a plantar fascia tear in his right heel, but he showed that he’s more than capable of playing minutes before the injury.
The Kings also save a ton of cap space for next season in the transaction. If Shumpert opts into his deal and is not bought out using the NBA’s stretch provision, the Kings will clear an estimated $8 million off the books.
Why Cleveland Makes the Deal
In a mad scramble to get back on the right track, the Cavs have made over their roster with a series of deals Thursday morning, including trading away Isaiah Thomas to the Los Angeles Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.
Hill is now the Cavs starting point guard and will play a substantial role as Cleveland prepares for another playoff run.
It’s a gamble for Cleveland. They’ve made major moves and have very little time to reorganize their team. Hill is on the books for next season, which will be a tough pill to swallow if LeBron James leaves via free agency.
The Kings get out from underneath a huge contract and they clear the deck for Fox to become the man in Sacramento. The pieces coming in aren’t overwhelming, but the backcourt was littered with bodies in Sacramento, making a move like this a necessity.
In addition, Hill didn’t want to be in Sacramento and he’s underperformed all season long. The Kings might get raked over the coals by the national media, but they just successfully dealt away a gigantic contract and brought back moveable pieces.