George Hill

Bucks Rumors: Bogdanovic, Giannis, Oladipo, DiVincenzo, More

Bogdan Bogdanovic was considered Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s preferred target for the Bucks in free agency, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who says that Thanasis Antetokounmpo had been in contact with Bogdanovic for months as the brothers attempted to lure the swingman to Milwaukee.

As Fischer explains, Giannis admires Bogdanovic’s “toughness and swagger” and considers him someone you could “go to war with in the postseason.” As a result, the Bucks pursued Bogdanovic aggressively, discussing sign-and-trade scenarios with the Kings in the hopes of effectively taking the RFA-to-be off the market before last Friday by agreeing to a deal with Sacramento.

Early discussions between the Kings and Bucks included Eric Bledsoe, according to Fischer, who points out that sending Bledsoe’s $16.9MM contract to Sacramento would have made it simple for Milwaukee to meet Bogdanovic’s asking price of $18MM per year. However, the Kings insisted on Donte DiVincenzo‘s inclusion on any deal and Bledsoe’s salary was required for Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday acquisition.

After they struck a deal for Holiday, the Bucks reached a tentative agreement with the Kings, but Bogdanovic’s camp insists it never discussed the particulars of a contract agreement with Milwaukee, per Fischer. Bogdanovic even phoned the Antetokounmpo brothers to reiterate that point, Fischer adds.

When at least one rival team filed a formal complaint about the fact that the Kings had seemingly lined up a deal for Bogdanovic days before the start of free agency, the NBA launched an investigation and essentially took Milwaukee off the table as a destination for the 28-year-old due to the risk that the league would block the deal, says Fischer.

Now, the Bucks will have to hope that their failed pursuit of Bogdanovic doesn’t cause Giannis to pass on their super-max offer. According to Fischer, the franchise had been very confident about the odds of reaching an agreement with Antetokounmpo, but there has been a “categorical step back in that confidence” since the Bogdanovic debacle. That doesn’t mean an agreement won’t be reached — just that the Bucks aren’t as sure about it as they once were.

Here’s more on the Bucks from Fischer’s article, which is packed with interesting details:

  • The Bucks and Pacers had conversations about a possible trade for Victor Oladipo, Fischer confirms, adding that a package of DiVincenzo, George Hill, and the No. 24 pick was discussed at one point. Like the Kings did, the Pacers insisted on DiVincenzo being included in any offer.
  • DiVincenzo ultimately remained in Milwaukee and the Bucks are still “bullish” on his potential, writes Fischer. They were willing to move him for Bogdanovic because the RFA was considered a “necessary target in line with Antetokounmpo’s wishes.”
  • Before the Bucks struck a deal for Holiday, the Hawks discussed a package that included the No. 6 pick, Kevin Huerter, and Dewayne Dedmon, says Fischer.

Four-Team Jrue Holiday, Steven Adams Trade Officially Complete

The Pelicans, Thunder, Bucks, and Nuggets have officially completed the four-team trade that will send Jrue Holiday to Milwaukee and Steven Adams to New Orleans, the Pelicans announced today in a press release.

In total, the mega-deal involves 10 players, five draft picks, and two future pick swaps. The trade breaks down as follows:

  • Bucks acquire Holiday and the draft rights to Sam Merrill (No. 60 pick; from Pelicans).
  • Pelicans acquire Adams, Eric Bledsoe, the Bucks’ 2025 first-round pick (unprotected), the Bucks’ 2027 first-round pick (unprotected), and the right to swap first-round picks with the Bucks in 2024 and 2026.
  • Thunder acquire George Hill, Darius MillerKenrich Williams (sign-and-trade), Josh Gray (sign-and-trade), Zylan Cheatham (sign-and-trade), the Nuggets’ 2023 first-round pick (top-14 protected), the Wizards’ 2023 second-round pick (from Pelicans), and the Hornets’ 2024 second-round pick (from Pelicans).
  • Nuggets acquire the draft rights to RJ Hampton (No. 24 pick; from Bucks).

The deal began when the Bucks and Pelicans reached an agreement on a trade sending Holiday to Milwaukee last week. From there, the Thunder got involved when New Orleans agreed to flip Hill to Oklahoma City in a trade for Adams.

A draft-night deal between the Nuggets and Pelicans that involved the Nuggets’ 2023 first-rounder and the Bucks’ No. 24 pick (sent to New Orleans as part of the original Holiday agreement) was folded in to make it a four-team trade when the Pels agreed to flip Denver’s ’23 pick to OKC as part of the Adams package.

As cap expert Albert Nahmad has pointed out (via Twitter), it’s an intricate, complex transaction that had to make use of a slew of CBA rules. The Pelicans, who are signing Adams to a two-year extension as part of the trade, needed to sign-and-trade Williams, Gray, and Cheatham to Oklahoma City and guarantee most or all of Miller’s $7MM salary in order to abide by salary-matching rules.

Meanwhile, Adams gets a trade bonus worth a little over $2MM as part of the deal, while the Thunder create the largest trade exception in NBA history, worth $27.5MM, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link).

Unfortunately, as Nahmad observes (via Twitter), Oklahoma City will likely have to use that massive TPE immediately to accommodate the acquisition of Al Horford. Still, as John Hollinger of The Athletic writes, the Thunder should come out of their series of transactions with a handful of usable trade exceptions, including one worth $15.4MM.

A full breakdown of this offseason’s trades – including the ones not yet made official – can be found right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Thunder Trading Steven Adams To Pelicans

9:00am: Wojnarowski has another update on this deal, reporting (via Twitter) that George Hill will indeed end up with the Thunder rather than the Pelicans. New Orleans will also send Oklahoma City Darius Miller‘s $7MM expiring contract, Washington’s 2023 second-round pick, and Charlotte’s 2024 second-round pick, Woj adds.

New Orleans is still acquiring Bledsoe in the multi-team trade, per Woj (Twitter link), so Miller’s contract will likely need to become fully guaranteed for salary-matching purposes and the Pelicans will still probably have to send out a bit more salary. So I expect there are still more parts of this deal to be reported.

ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter) that Adams may also need to amend his trade kicker to make the money work.

12:41am: The lottery-protected 2023 first-round pick that the Nuggets agreed to send to the Pelicans on draft night in order to land RJ Hampton will be rerouted to Oklahoma City as part of this deal, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). The Thunder will also receive two future second-round picks from New Orleans, per ESPN.

12:00am: Having already traded away guards Chris Paul and Dennis Schröder, the Thunder are now finalizing a trade that will send veteran center Steven Adams to the Pelicans, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The deal is becoming a part of the Jrue Holiday blockbuster that New Orleans and the Bucks previously agreed upon, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports (via Twitter) that the Holiday trade will expand to include more teams and players. It still has “a lot of moving parts” and will take some work to finish, tweets Wojnarowski.

The Thunder will be receiving a first-round pick and second-round picks as part of the expanded swap, per Woj (Twitter link).

While it’s tricky to evaluate the deal before we know all those moving parts, we can at least break down Adams’ fit in New Orleans. He’ll fill the hole in the frontcourt created by the free agent departures of Derrick Favors and Jahlil Okafor earlier this evening. The Pelicans were said to have interest in Aron Baynes, among other big men, but it looks like Adams will be the team’s new man in the middle.

In 2019/20, Adams averaged 10.9 PPG, 9.3 RPG, and 2.3 APG in 63 games (26.7 MPG) as Oklahoma City’s starting center. His contract is somewhat onerous, with a $27.5MM cap hit for 2020/21. However, it’ll be an expiring deal and will come off the Pelicans’ cap next summer.

With the Pelicans now taking on Adams’ salary, it seems likely that at least one of the point guards they were set to receive in the Holiday trade – Eric Bledsoe and George Hill – will be rerouted elsewhere — most likely to OKC.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pelicans To Trade Jrue Holiday To Bucks

NOVEMBER 17, 9:39am: ESPN’s Bobby Marks has the details on the picks headed to New Orleans in the trade, reporting (via Twitter) that in addition to this year’s No. 24 pick, the Bucks will also give up their unprotected first-rounders in 2025 and 2027. The Pelicans will have the right to swap first-rounders with Milwaukee in 2024 and 2026.

In order to ensure the 2025 and 2027 picks are freed up and don’t violate the Stepien rule, the Bucks are sending a future second-round pick to the Cavaliers, who were owed Milwaukee’s 2022 first-round pick. In exchange, the Cavs will agree to lift the top-10 protection on that first-rounder, ensuring it changes hands in ’22, per Marks (Twitter link).

Milwaukee will also receive the No. 60 pick in Wednesday’s draft as part of the deal, tweets Jonathan Givony of ESPN. That pick was originally the Bucks’ own, but was one of the second-rounders they sent to New Orleans in 2019 for Nikola Mirotic. Now they’ll have it back.

That pick will help the Bucks fill out their roster on the cheap, since a rookie drafted in the second round can likely to be signed to a minimum salary that will only count for $898,310 against the cap and tax.

There are conflicting reports on whether the Bucks will also receive the No. 42 pick in this year’s draft from New Orleans. Eric Nehm of The Athletic reported (via Twitter) that the pick is part of the deal, while Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link) has been told that Milwaukee is only receiving No. 60.

NOVEMBER 16, 10:33pm: The Bucks have reached a deal to acquire standout guard Jrue Holiday from the Pelicans, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that New Orleans will receive Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, and draft compensation in return.

That draft compensation is substantial — the Pelicans will receive three future first-round picks from Milwaukee, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). One of those three selections is this year’s No. 24 pick, tweets David Aldridge of The Athletic. New Orleans will also acquire a pair of future draft pick swaps in the deal, per Charania (Twitter link).

Holiday, 30, is coming off a 2019/20 season in which he averaged 19.1 PPG, 6.7 APG, 4.8 RPG, and 1.6 SPG with a shooting line of .455/.353/.709 in 61 games (34.7 MPG) for New Orleans. Although he didn’t earn a spot on one of this season’s All-Defensive teams, he has done so twice in the past and is widely considered one of the NBA’s best perimeter defenders.

Acquiring Holiday is an all-in move for the Bucks and general manager Jon Horst, who are trying to convince two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to sign a super-max contract extension to remain with the team long-term. Antetokounmpo has repeatedly stated that he’s interesting in staying in Milwaukee as long as he believes the club is capable of winning a title.

[RELATED: Giannis Says He’s Not Looking To Leave Milwaukee]

Upgrading their backcourt by acquiring Holiday should make the Bucks – who have posted the league’s best regular season record in each of the last two seasons – an even more formidable title threat. However, the acquisition cost is significant, particularly given Holiday’s contract situation.

The 30-year-old’s deal will pay him $25.9MM in 2020/21 and includes a $26.8MM player option for ’21/22, meaning he can reach free agency a year from now. While Antetokounmpo and Holiday are both eligible to hit the open market and sign elsewhere in 2021, it sounds like the Bucks are betting heavily on their ability to lock up both players to new deals.

On that note, Marc Stein of The New York Times tweets that the last couple weeks have been “filled with chatter” about the possibility that Antetokounmpo will sign his super-max offer this offseason. Milwaukee’s willingness to give up so many future assets seems to reflect the team’s optimism, Stein observes.

Holiday’s age and contract situation prompted the Pelicans to explore the trade market in search of a deal this offseason, as president of basketball operations David Griffin looked to acquire pieces that better line up with the timeline of the club’s young core, led by Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.

While the Pelicans were reportedly willing to hang onto Holiday if a favorable deal didn’t materialize, a return of three first-round picks and two pick swaps was too appealing to turn down. Having landed a substantial haul in last year’s Anthony Davis trade as well, New Orleans now has five extra first-round picks in future seasons, as well as three pick swaps.

It remains to be seen whether Bledsoe and Hill – both veterans in their 30s who probably aren’t part of the Pelicans’ long-term plans – will spend the season in New Orleans or if the team will look to flip one or both players in subsequent deals.

Bledsoe, a strong defender whose offensive limitations have hurt the Bucks in the last two postseasons, averaged 14.9 PPG, 5.4 APG, and 4.6 RPG on .475/.344/.790 shooting in 61 games (27.0 MPG) in 2019/20. He has three years and about $54MM left on his contract, though his 2022/23 salary ($19.4MM) is mostly non-guaranteed.

Hill, meanwhile, was a reliable rotation player in Milwaukee, averaging 9.4 PPG, 3.1 APG, and 3.0 RPG on .516/.460/.842 in 59 games (21.5 MPG) last season. The 34-year-old has a guaranteed $9.6MM salary in ’20/21 with a lightly guaranteed $10MM salary for ’21/22.

With Holiday off the market, teams like the Nuggets and Nets, who were linked to the veteran guard, will have to look elsewhere for a potential upgrade on the wing.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Central Notes: Donovan, Bucks, Oladipo, Thomas

New Bulls head coach Billy Donovan will greatly help the Chicago’s young roster, Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times opines. In Donovan, the Bulls finally have a coach who will work to factor in the strengths of his players as he game-plans, as opposed to striving to make players conform to his system. Former Bulls head coaches Fred Hoiberg and Jim Boylen both struggled to fit their players into their preferred offensive systems.

“[O]ne of the things I’ve always felt is important when you’re building out different things offensively is I think you’ve got to spend time with players to hear how they want to be used,” Donovan said recently of the coaching philosophy he brings to the Bulls. “And then you build out how you want to play from there.’’

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Eric Nehm of The Athletic brainstorms potential routes through which the Bucks can upgrade their point guard position. Currently, 30-year-old starting point guard Eric Bledsoe, a two-time All-Defensive Team inclusion with Milwaukee, is earning $16.9MM and is with the team through the 2022/23 season. His contract for the final year is only partially guaranteed. Bledsoe’s limitations as an offensive creator hamper his fit with the Bucks. Backup point guard George Hill is earning $9.6MM through 2021/22, though the 2021/22 season is only partially guaranteed. Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday is weighed as a trade option were the Bucks to flip Bledsoe and other pieces, while D.J. Augustin and Jeff Teague are considered as viable biannual exception signings.
  • The Pacers front office has recently spoken a couple times with star guard Victor Oladipo, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star tweets. Last week, there were rumblings that Oladipo, a free agent in 2021 and a two-time All-Star with Indiana, would be amenable to a trade.
  • As we previously relayedKhyri Thomas impressed Pistons coach Dwane Casey during Detroit’s recent mini-camp team practices. After undergoing a foot surgery last fall, Thomas was limited to just playing in eight games of the 2019/20 season.

And-Ones: Disney, 2020/21, AD Trade, Community Assist Awards

While appearing on NBA TV last week, league commissioner Adam Silver stressed that, though no player on the league’s restart campus in Orlando has tested positive for COVID-19 since July, the coronavirus remains a danger to the NBA’s remaining Disney World inhabitants.

“Nobody’s tested positive who lives on this campus, but we’ve had positive tests in our vicinity,” Silver said, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times (Twitter link). “Every night … I am sort of (braced) for that call to say, ‘We have an issue.'”

There’s more from around the NBA:

  • In a conversation with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols (video link) prior to last night’s Game 3 of the NBA Finals, Silver remarked that there’s no set deadline that the 2020/21 regular season must start by. “We love our fans and we want to bring them back into the arenas and we want to do it safely,” Silver said. “And so if there are advancements right on the horizon (related to coronavirus testing or treatment), that will be a reason to wait.”
  • ESPN’s Kevin Pelton wonders if the blockbuster summer trade that landed Anthony Davis in Los Angeles may wind up ultimately benefiting both the Lakers and their trade partner, the Pelicans. The move gifted the Pelicans with a treasure trove of draft picks, plus 2020 All-Star Brandon Ingram and intriguing young guards Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart. Pelton notes that the Lakers will be in good position to retain the role players that have helped bring Davis and All-Star teammate LeBron James within two games of the Lakers’ 17th NBA title.
  • The NBA has announced its 2019/20 Community Assistant award winners. All-Star Thunder point guard Chris Paul is joined by Celtics forward Jaylen Brown, Kings forward Harrison Barnes, Bucks point guard George Hill, and Mavericks big man Dwight Powell. The award honors players who have made significant community impacts in the arenas of social justice and COVID-19 help this season. The NBA and Kaiser Permanente will donate $10K to a charity of choice for each of these five players.

George Hill On Resuming Season: “Last Thought On My Mind”

Amid civil unrest in the United States, the resumption of the 2019/20 NBA season has taken a backseat. After a Kyrie Irving-led conference call on Friday, the possibility of not reporting to Orlando and canceling the season was discussed as a means of not overshadowing the current social issues.

One player, in particular, who has been focusing on social justice issues rather than basketball is Bucks veteran guard George Hill, ESPN’s Eric Woodyard writes. While the 34-year-old maintains he is in good physical shape, the fallout of the George Floyd murder and the ensuing unrest around the world has shifted his perspective.

“I’ve been working every day since this all started with my body, my game and things like that, but as a whole, I can care less about basketball right now. … that’s my last thought on my mind is basketball,” Hill said. “I can care less what’s going on. I think there’s bigger issues and bigger things to tackle in life right now than a basketball game.”

In addition to the social impact, some doubt has been cast on the NBA’s plan to resume in Orlando given a recent spike of coronavirus cases in Florida and unclear safety protocols.

Hill stressed his role as a prominent athlete is to advocate for change that goes beyond the basketball court. While he feels physically up for the challenge, Hill noted his mental state still needs time to catch up.

“I don’t know how it’s going to affect me on the basketball court,” he said. “I know that I, physically, have been working my ass off this entire time I’ve been off. I haven’t taken one day off since this whole hiatus has came into effect. … I’m in great physical shape, but mentally, I’ve still got a little more work to do.”

George Hill: Life Is More Important Than Basketball

Some NBA facilities could reopen in five days, but Bucks guard George Hill is concerned that the league is moving too quickly, writes Sacha Pisani of The Sporting News. Speaking on a conference call with reporters, Hill expressed concerns that the coronavirus is still too widespread for players to return safely.

“I’m a little 50-50 . . .  life itself is bigger than the money aspect of the game,” Hill said on the possibility of canceling the season. “Yes, as competitors and athletes we want to play this season. But if more lives are in jeopardy, I couldn’t care less about the season. Life is way more precious than this ball that we play in. If they cancel the season, as an athlete I would be upset, but we can’t do anything about it. If we play, I’m excited to play again and get back on the court. We had something special going on and I’d love to finish it.”

Milwaukee has as much incentive as anyone to try to salvage the season. The Bucks were on top of the Eastern Conference with a 53-12 record when the hiatus began and are among the favorites to capture the NBA title. Hill believes Milwaukee fans, and NBA fans in general, will be understanding if the season has to be called off.

Hill also addressed the financial aspects of the shutdown, as many players have millions of dollars at stake if the season cannot be finished. He’s in the first season of a three-year, $29MM deal that he signed last summer.

“The world is bigger than just NBA fans. To our fans, it will be exciting to get the season back, to get it up and going and get something to watch on TV,” Hill said. “But if this is the cost for safety and health, what we have to ask is, ‘Is it worth it? Is it worth putting yourself on the line, putting your family and kids on the line to make a couple more dollars?’ For me, personally, no. I didn’t grow up with money and I don’t define my life by money. I define my life around happiness, being safe, being able to enjoy life and live this life for a long time.”

Central Notes: Hill, Oladipo, Jackson, Bulls

Sweet-shooting Bucks backup point guard George Hill may be on one of the best teams in the NBA as he visits the Pacers, but he will always be an “Indianapolis boy” at heart, as the Indianapolis Star’s Dana Hunsinger Benbow details.

An alum of Broad Ripple High and IUPUI, Hill has been a solid NBA mainstay since being drafted in 2008. Hill apparently does not harbor much nostalgia for the Pacers, who traded him in the 2016 offseason to the Jazz. “I hope we beat them (by 20),” Hill said. “The Pacers didn’t want me.” The 46-8 Bucks sure do. Hill is connecting on an astronomical 51.1% of his 6.4 three-point attempts per game this season.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Though Pacers shooting guard Victor Oladipo has been back on the court for seven games, he knows he has yet to reclaim his All-Star caliber play, per Royce Young of ESPN. “I missed a whole year of NBA basketball, not just basketball,” Oladipo said. “It’s the highest level of basketball. It’s different.” Oladipo is averaging 11.1 PPG, 2.9 APG, and 2.0 APG in 25.0 minutes per contest.
  • Oft-injured Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson is in the final season of his five-year, $80MM contract, but the Pistons may not want to buy him out due to their limited options at his position, according to Keith Langlois of
  • The slumping Bulls, losers of six straight games and owners of a paltry 19-36 record, offer more intrigue over the rest of this season than meets the eye, per Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Cowley notes that head coach Jim Boylen, several young prospects, and even Chicago’s front office decision-makers might be fighting for their futures with the franchise during the 2019/20 home stretch.

Central Notes: Rose, Beilein, Giannis, Brogdon

Guard Derrick Rose signed with the Pistons because he feels the team can contend, Vince Ellis of the Free Press writes. Rose inked a two-year, $15MM deal with Detroit in free agency to lead its second unit. “I’ve had all the accolades in the past. I’m past that. Now I want to win,” he said. “The only thing on my résumé I’m missing is a championship and being here, seeing what happened last year with the Raptors in (the) East, you never know what can happen.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers are amazed by new coach John Beilein’s work ethic and the 66-year-old’s energy level, according to Chris Fedor of “He has more energy than I do,” forward Larry Nance Jr. said. “He’s always going, always has something on his mind, always something he’s ready to talk about, teach and coach. It’s really exciting to see because as a player that’s what you want. You want somebody that is so eager to get started that they can’t even slow down.
  • The Bucks bet on continuity in their efforts to convince Giannis Antetokounmpo to sign a super-max extension next summer, Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes. They managed to re-sign Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez and George Hill in free agency and only lost one starter, Malcolm Brogdon. “We brought back a big part of the group; we believe in continuity,” GM Jon Horst said. “We think that gives us an advantage to have continuity. … This group looks like they’re growing, looks like they’re getting better, looks like they fit and they make sense and that we can compete and sustain success for a long period of time with this group and that’s been the goal.”
  • Despite Brogdon’s departure, the Bucks have plenty of options at shooting guard and small forward, Ben Steele of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel points out. “I think the vision going forward is with the addition of Wes Matthews and Kyle Korver as wings that have proven that they are elite-level shooters and great defenders,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Got young guys like Donte (DiVincenzo), Pat (Connaughton) and Sterling (Brown) that are all proven to some degree.” Hill, who signed a three-year, $29MM deal, is another option for Budenholzer.