George Hill

Central Notes: Turner, Hill, Bucks, Sabonis

Pacers center Myles Turner has struggled since signing his contract extension with the team, averaging 11.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in 12 starts this season. He faced criticism after Wednesday’s game against Joel Embiid and the Sixers, only to have a teammate immediately jump to his defense.

“I think he shouldn’t concern himself with what people are saying or thinking,” Victor Oladipo said of Turner, according to Jim Ayello of the Indianapolis Star. “He’s just got to play within himself. He’ll figure it out. He’s still young. I’m not making no more excuses for him, but the truth of the matter is he’s just got to find it within himself.

“He’s perfectly fine,” Oladipo continued. “He’s going to find his groove, and then everybody’s going to be like, ‘Whoa, he’s playing great. So what do you think about him playing great?’

“Everybody’s so quick to judge someone when they don’t play well. But everybody’s not in here. Nobody is in his shoes. Nobody’s putting on the jersey he’s putting on. Nobody’s out there playing the game he’s playing. So you can’t really judge him. We have no right to. But people are going to anyway. Me, personally, I really don’t care what people think about him. I love him to death. His upside is huge, and he’s just going to continue to keep getting better. And when he figures it out, watch out.”

Turner is well-liked in the Pacers organization and is in his fourth season with the team. Despite struggling to effectively rebound, he remains an intriguing two-way player with plenty of room to grow in his NBA career.

Here are some other notes from the Northwest:

  • Cavaliers guard George Hill will miss approximately one to two weeks with a shoulder sprain, the team confirmed. Hill was evaluated at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health on Thursday, where he underwent an MRI that revealed the sprain. He will now undergo a period of treatment and rehabilitation.
  • Stephen Curry believes this season’s Bucks are similar to the Warriors in their first season without Mark Jackson. “They’re very similar to four years ago here,” Curry said, according to Mark Medina of the The Mercury News (Twitter link). “A change of scenery sometimes helps. You get a little boost of energy, a little shift in focus and perspective. And that little bit (of a) difference can unlock something. It’s still early. They’re taking care of business like they should. It’s important when you have that much potential to get off to a good start.”
  • Domantas Sabonis‘ solid play could shift the Pacers‘ rotation this season, Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star contends. Sabonis could work his way into the starting center position, which would force Myles Turner to either play off the bench or share the frontcourt with him.

Western Notes: Deng, Hill, Mavs, Capela

The Lakers and Luol Deng agreed to a buyout earlier this week, which will allow Los Angeles the ability to offer a top free agent a max contract next offseason. Adrian Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter) that the final figure on what Deng agreed to give up in the agreement came out to $7.3MM, slightly less than what was previously reported.

The Lakers are projected to have approximately $38MM in cap space next offseason, enough to be a major player in the market. While we wait to see if the team makes any other moves, let’s check out some notes from their rivals in the Western Conference:

  • The Suns are not interested in George Hill, Ashish Mathur of Amico Hoops reports. Phoenix traded away Brandon Knight over the weekend and has made inquiries on a few veteran options.
  • The Mavericks lost Doug McDermott in free agency, but Ryan Broekhoff, who signed a multiyear, minimum-salary deal with Dallas, may be a suitable replacement for the former first-round pick, Eddie Sefko of Sports Day writes. The Mavericks need all the shooters they can get, Sefko adds, so Broekhoff may find himself getting some playing time as the season goes along.
  • The Rockets and Clint Capela took some time to arrive at their five-year, $80MM+ deal but many of the team’s prominent members never doubted that the big man would return, as they tell Kelly Iko of The Athletic.  “Oh, we’re not worried about stuff like that,” head coach Mike D’Antoni said of Capela possible slipping away. When James Harden was asked if he was concerned about Capela leaving, he replied “Nah.”

Western Rumors: Rozier, Williams, Durant, Rockets

The Celtics’ Terry Rozier and the Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie are two of the logical trade targets for the Suns in their search for a point guard, according to Frank Urbina of HoopsHype. Rozier is a solid two-way player coming off a career year but the Suns would likely have to offer a package that included an unprotected first-rounder to catch Boston’s attention. A trade for Dinwiddie would be more plausible and he’d be a good fit with Phoenix considering his size, perimeter shooting and pick-and-roll prowess, Urbina continues. The Clippers’ Patrick Beverley, the Cavaliers’ George Hill and the Hornets’ Kemba Walker are some of the other names Urbina throws out as potential targets. The Suns are searching for a starting point guard after trading away Brandon Knight to the Rockets last week.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Pelicans signed Troy Williams, Kenrich Williams and Garlon Green to partially-guaranteed contracts in the hope of finding one reliable small forward, Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Advocate notes. That trio will compete for a roster spot, though the potential addition of swingman Tyrone Wallacesigned to an offer sheet on Monday — could change that. “They just told me they’re bringing some guys in and having them go head-on to see who wins a spot,” Kenrich Williams told Kushner.
  • By buying out Luol Deng‘s contract and using the stretch provision, the Lakers gave themselves a chance to offer Kevin Durant a max salary in free agency, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders examines. The Lakers now project to have $38.2MM in cap space, which would be just enough to afford Durant, Pincus continues. If they can’t land Durant, they’ll certainly have enough to bring in another All-Star level talent. Other high-level potential free agents, including Kawhi Leonard, Klay ThompsonDeMarcus Cousins, Jimmy Butler, Walker and Kyrie Irving, could command a first-year salary of $33MM, leaving the Lakers with another $5MM to spend in other ways, Pincus adds.
  • The Rockets took a frugal approach this summer and it could cost them a title, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post opines. They traded away Ryan Anderson and allowed two key wing players to walk in free agency. In turn, they signed three players on veteran’s minimum deals and adding a couple of bench players in the Anderson trade, Bontemps notes. So while Houston execs had said they were unconcerned about the luxury tax, their actions showed they wanted to save some money, Bontemps adds.

Cavs’ Kyle Korver On Trade Block?

The Cavaliers are looking to move Kyle Korver, Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com writes in his latest round-up of Cavs-related notes and rumors. Ashish Mathur of AmicoHoops.net recently reported that Cleveland was exploring the possibility of trading both Korver and point guard George Hill.

While the Cavs have repeatedly insisted that they have no interest in moving Kevin Love, Korver might make more sense as a potential trade chip. His mid-level salary ($7.56MM) would be easier for a potential suitor to absorb, and there’s no shortage of teams around the NBA that wouldn’t mind adding a shooter of his caliber.

Dealing Korver could also clear a path for the Cavs to lock up Rodney Hood to a new multiyear deal without risking going back into luxury-tax territory. The team currently has about $106.4MM in guaranteed money on its books for 10 players. If Hood were re-signed on a salary of about $10-12MM, it would significantly limit the Cavs’ options as they try to fill out the rest of their roster without crossing the tax threshold.

While Pluto doesn’t provide any specifics on what the Cavs might be looking for in exchange for Korver, Mathur suggests the team would like to acquire draft picks. Cleveland has traded its second-round selections for the next two years, and its 2019 first-rounder will head to Atlanta if it doesn’t land in the top 10, so it makes sense that the Cavs would be looking to restock their supply of picks.

Korver, 37, was his usual effective self from three-point range in 2017/18, averaging 9.2 PPG with a .436 3PT%. The veteran marksman is a career 43.1% shooter from beyond the arc and has averaged 2.5 threes per game over his last six seasons.

Korver is under contract for one more year beyond 2018/19, but his 2019/20 salary ($7.5MM) is only partially guaranteed for $3.44MM.

Cavaliers Notes: Nance, Clarkson, Hill, Leonard

The Cavaliers aren’t likely to launch a complete rebuilding project if LeBron James leaves in free agency, writes writes Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. Three of the players Cleveland acquired at this year’s trade deadline — Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson and George Hill — are all under contract for next year, and the Cavs want to see what they can do when they’re with the organization from the start of the season.

Cleveland is likely to discuss an extension with Nance, who will make $2.3MM next season on the final year of his rookie contract. Teams have called about trading for Nance, Pluto states, but the Cavaliers seem committed to keeping him. Clarkson struggled in the playoffs, but was a valuable bench scorer during the regular season and the Cavs recognize that this was his first postseason experience. Hill has limited trade value with a $17MM contract.

The future is more unpredictable for Rodney Hood, who seemed like a good young player in Utah but had a miserable time after the trade. Pluto expects the Cavaliers to tender a $3.4MM qualifying offer, giving them the right to match any offer Hood receives in free agency.

There’s more Cavaliers news this morning:

  • Cleveland is among the teams trying to pry Kawhi Leonard away from the Spurs, but assembling a workable offer won’t be easy, Pluto adds in the same story. Kevin Love, who will make $24.1MM next season with a player option close to $25.6MM for 2019/20, would be useful for salary-matching purposes, but San Antonio seems more interested in acquiring young talent than an established player like Love.
  • Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t think LeBron James should let the pursuit of more championships guide his free agency decision, relays Scott Gleeson of USA Today. “My problem toward the end of my career was I was trying to shut everybody up and I was greedy [for more championships],” O’Neal said. “After I got to three [titles], everybody was saying I couldn’t get another. So I got four. After I got the fourth, they were saying I couldn’t get another one. So I was trying to make quick stops to get it. Phoenix, Cleveland, Boston.” O’Neal adds that it will be difficult for James to overcome the Warriors no matter where he goes.
  • James’ decision will dominate the summer, but the Cavs have some under-the-radar moves to make as well, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN. Cleveland has a team option on veteran center Kendrick Perkins that must be exercised by June 29. His $2.4MM salary for 2018/19 would be non-guaranteed. Okaro White, who was signed late in the season, will get a chance to show what he can do during summer league. Half of his $1.5MM salary for next year will become guaranteed if he is still on the roster Aug. 5.

Cavaliers Notes: James, Irving, Lue, Hill

As the Cavaliers prepare for Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Warriors, the fourth consecutive meeting between the two franchises in the Finals, the journey for Cleveland was not easy. A midseason roster purge cast doubt over the Cavaliers’ ability to construct the team chemistry necessary for a deep postseason run.

In an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, LeBron James acknowledged that, at certain points, there were doubts about the Cavaliers’ ability to reach the postseason.

“It was at points where, ‘OK, will the Cavs even make the playoffs?'” James said. “And I was like, ‘OK, I am not settling for that conversation. Now that is just ridiculous. Now I have got to get into the postseason.'”

James has been instrumental in leading the Cavaliers to this point as the team escaped tough series against the Pacers, Raptors, and Celtics to face Golden State. However, James also divulged that his doubts began forming last summer when the team decided to trade Kyrie Irving.

“Even if you start back to the summertime where I felt like it was just bad for our franchise just to be able to trade away our superstar point guard,” James said. “A guy that I had been in so many battles with over the last three years, and obviously I wasn’t a part of the communications and know exactly what went on between the two sides. But I just felt like it was bad timing for our team.”

Check out more Cavaliers notes below:

  • Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer looked back at the Kyrie Irving trade and the repercussions it had on the Cavaliers, Celtics, and even the point guard’s own career. Irving last played on March 11 before he was ruled out for the remainder of the year due to a knee injury which predates his Boston tenure.
  • George Hill was traded from the Kings to the Cavaliers just before the deadline and he said he’s excited to be suiting up for the NBA Finals after playing for a losing team in Sacramento, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes. “You’re competing for an NBA Finals (with Cleveland),” Hill said, “In Sac we were just playing. I feel like my teammates in Sac, I love them to death. … But it’s a whole different feeling when you’re playing for something, totally different. We’re playing for something and that’s why we’re here today.”
  • Head coach Tyronn Lue temporarily left the team two months ago due to medical reasons and he revealed to ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that he’s been treated for anxiety. “I’m glad it wasn’t anything serious,” Lue said. “Just anxiety, and the medication I’m on is great. No more chest pains, so everything’s been great.”

Cavaliers Notes: Smith, D. Jordan, James, Draft Pick

J.R. Smith won’t face any repercussions from the league for a hard foul on Al Horford in Tuesday’s Game 2, according to an ESPN report. Horford was in the air late in the fourth quarter when Smith shoved him from behind, causing him to crash to the court. The officials called a flagrant 1 on Smith after a video review.

Smith agreed with the call when interviewed after the game, admitting he “blatantly” shoved Horford.

“It wasn’t like I was trying to low-bridge him or something to make sure he didn’t get it. It was a good, hard foul,” Smith said. “I can understand why they gave me a flagrant.”

There’s more today from Cleveland:

  • Smith has been through a lot of scrapes in his 14-year career and doesn’t mind playing the role of villain in playoff road games, relays A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. “I don’t want the opposing fans to like me,” he said. “That’s not why I’m here. They can chant and scream all they want.”
  • LeBron James  and coach Tyronn Lue both wanted to trade for Clippers center DeAndre Jordan at the deadline, according to Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. Lue felt the team needed a rim protector to anchor the defense.
  • The trades the Cavaliers made instead in February are letting them down in the conference finals, notes Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. George Hill managed just three points in 33 minutes of Game 2 and couldn’t contain Celtics guard Terry Rozier. Rodney Hood didn’t take a shot from the field in 11 minutes, while Larry Nance Jr. was scoreless and Jordan Clarkson didn’t play.
  • The Nets’ first-rounder the Cavaliers acquired in the Kyrie Irving trade will strengthen their position whether LeBron James stays or not, contends Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. The Cavs will have 14 of their 17 players under contract for next season if James returns, but they have minimal guarantees beyond that, which will make rebuilding easier if it becomes necessary. Vardon suggests the team might try to trade Kevin Love again this summer and speculates that the Hornets could be interested in the No. 8 pick as a way to part with Kemba Walker‘s contract.
  • A podcast on Cleveland.com examines whether James’ future with the organization is tied to how the team performs in the conference finals.

Central Notes: Hill, Prunty, James, Porter

The Cavaliers got their first real payout from the George Hill acquisition during Game 7 against the Pacers on Sunday, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. Hill returned from a back injury to score 11 points in 19 minutes but his health remains an issue in the upcoming series against the Raptors, Pluto continues. Hill was a pricey acquisition from the Kings, as Cleveland picked up a contract that will pay the veteran point guard $20MM this season and $19MM next year.

In other news around the Central Division:

  • Interim Joe Prunty will be a candidate to retain the Bucks’ head coaching job but there will be an open, active search to fill that spot, Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. There’s no timeline on the coaching search, but the Bucks will likely make a decision prior to the free agency period in July, Velazquez adds.
  • LeBron James run of seven straight Finals appearances will end abruptly in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Martin Rogers of the USA Today predicts. James’ heroics won’t be enough against the top seeded Raptors, who are better, younger, fresher, and more technically sound than Cleveland, Rogers adds.
  • Landing Michael Porter Jr. in the draft would be a best-case scenario for the Bulls, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times opines. Chicago wants to improve at the wing and Porter would fill that need as long as the medical reports on the Missouri freshman are positive, Cowley continues. The Bulls are not far enough along in their current rebuild to attract a top-level NBA wing player, so the draft is probably the best place to upgrade that area, according to Cowley.

Cavaliers Notes: LeBron, Hill, Hood

LeBron James may be facing a unique “win or leave home” scenario in tomorrow’s Game 7 with the Pacers, writes Tom Withers of The Associated Press. No matter when the Cavaliers’ season ends, speculation will immediately begin about James’ destination in free agency. Considering the heavy load he has carried for his team in the regular season and playoffs at age 33, James may be looking for a situation where he has more help.

After Friday’s loss in Indiana, James said he hasn’t given any consideration to free agency or the potential magnitude of Sunday’s contest.

“The thought that if we don’t play well that it will be my last game of the year will probably hit my mind,” James responded when asked about the possible end to a second era in Cleveland. “But I haven’t thought about that.” (Twitter link).

There’s more today out of Cleveland:

  • Count Marc Stein of the New York Times among the voices who expect James to leave the Cavaliers. In his weekly newsletter, Stein speculates that Philadelphia is the most likely destination for James, stating the Sixers have “growing behind-the-scenes confidence” that they can land this summer’s top free agent. He adds that the path to the NBA Finals remains easier in the East, which is why he expects James to pass on offers from the Lakers and Rockets.
  • Coach Tyronn Lue is “optimistic” that George Hill will be ready for Game 7, but his status may not be determined until game time, relays Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Hill was able to participate in practice today and did extra shooting work afterward. “Moved around good today, played 5-on-5 with some of the guys and felt decent so just have to see how his back reacts after that,” Lue said. “Moved around pretty good, so we will see.” Hill has missed the past three games with back spasms.
  • Rodney Hood will draw on experience as he prepares for the second Game 7 of his career. In a video posted on the Cavaliers’ website, Hood reflects on going through the same thing with the Jazz last season when they topped the Clippers in a series-deciding game. “Last year’s Game 7 was on the road, so you know the type of atmosphere,” said Hood, who was acquired from Utah at the trade deadline. “It’s kind of different, but at the same time it’s win or go home. We don’t want our season to end, so we’ve got to come out ready to play. Play confident and I think we’ll be all right.”

Injury Updates: Curry, Porter, VanVleet, Mbah a Moute

Stephen Curry is officially listed as questionable for the start of the Warriors‘ series with the Pelicans tomorrow night, relays Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News.

The star guard, who is recovering from a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his left knee, was able to go through a full-court scrimmage today for the first time since suffering the injury March 23. However, the team isn’t ready to commit to playing him in Game 1, and Curry calls his chances “50-50.”

“Still to be determined. They come up with those snazzy words for a reason – doubtful, questionable, probable,” he said. “Just trying to work my way up whatever I need to do with whatever [trainer] Chelsea [Lane], the rest of the athletic training staff and coaching staff need to see before I can get back out there.”

Curry and Lane spent about 20 minutes after practice talking to coach Steve Kerr, who said Curry will be re-examined tonight and after Saturday’s morning shootaround before making a decision.

“It’s not as simple as, ‘Does he feel good? Then throw him out there,’” Kerr said. “It’s more about, ‘Let’s give him a few days and see how he responds from it.’”

There’s more playoff-related injury news to pass along:

  • Wizards forward Otto Porter, who is out indefinitely following a surgical procedure today on his left leg, has been experiencing pain since Game 4 of the series with Toronto, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports. The decision to perform a lower leg fasciotomy to address a build-up of blood flow in the contusion area was made after reviewing the results of an MRI conducted today. Kelly Oubre will take Porter’s spot in the starting lineup, with Tomas Satoransky and Ty Lawson both expected to get more playing time, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk (Twitter link). “We need Kelly on the floor,” coach Scott Brooks said to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. “Now that Otto is out, we need Kelly to give us great minutes. … It’s a great opportunity for him.” (Twitter link).
  • The Raptors will have guard Fred VanVleet available for tonight’s Game 6 with the Wizards, Lewenberg tweets. VanVleet has been limited to three minutes in the series because of soreness in his shoulder stemming from a collision on the final night of the season. “I don’t know what to expect,” said coach Dwane Casey, “but we’ll get him in.”
  • The Rockets had hoped to get Luc Mbah a Moute back for the start of their second-round series, but it appears that won’t happen, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Sidelined by a dislocated shoulder, Mbah a Moute won’t be re-evaluated until next week, although he was able to participate in the non-contact part of today’s practice, said coach Mike D’Antoni.
  • Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue still wasn’t sure of George Hill‘s  status when he met with reporters before tonight’s game, relays Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Hill, who has been experiencing back spasms, warmed up before the game with a heat wrap on his back, notes ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (Twitter link).