Will he stay or will he go? That is the $20 million question in Sacramento when it comes to veteran point guard George Hill.
After signing a three-year, $57 million deal with the Kings during the offseason, Hill is having a confusing season in Sacramento. He’s shooting the ball extremely well from the perimeter, leading the league in 3-point percentage at 45.3 percent. But his overall numbers are down across the board.
Was it a bad fit? Was Hill not prepared for the reality of the mentorship of rookie De’Aaron Fox? Or is losing just too much for a veteran who’s made the playoffs all nine of his seasons in the NBA?
The Kings certainly thought they were getting more when they inked Hill. It’s been an awkward first season for all parties involved. The 31-year-old veteran has missed a handful of games due to three separate personal issues, including the birth of his daughter.
But even when Hill is present and accounted for, he appears to be a different player than the one who posted 16.9 points and 4.2 assists last season for the Utah Jazz.
Hill shifted to the shooting guard position to make room for Fox, but that was a move of necessity, not a first option for the Kings. Hill’s overall play forced the team’s hand with an assist from his rookie counterpart.
After falling behind Fox on the depth chart at the point guard position, he’s found a similar issue at the shooting guard position with Bogdan Bogdanovic.
The Kings are undergoing a youth movement in the second half of the season, but Hill was already losing ground to Fox and Bogdanovic. He’s never looked comfortable in a Kings uniform.
It’s a well-known fact that Hill would like to finish the season in a new location. Both he and his management have actively spread the word. But the Kings shouldn’t have to damage their future to make Hill happy.
There are teams in the NBA that would love to steal the veteran away. Not many of those clubs are in the position to take on a player making $39 million between this season and the next.
Sacramento will listen. They may even be the aggressors in a deal. The harsh reality is there are very few instances where the Kings can send Hill to another team without inflicting damage to either their young core or their future salary cap situation.
There are still a few hours to go before the trade deadline comes and goes. Maybe a no-brainer deal comes along and Hill is sent on to his next location.
The more likely outcome is that he is still a Sacramento King come Friday evening when the team faces the Portland Trail Blazers and we revisit this subject all over again during the summer.