George Hill

Bucks Re-Sign George Hill

JULY 9: Hill has officially re-signed with the Bucks, the team announced today in a press release.

“George is a consummate pro and an important part of our team,” GM Jon Horst said in a statement. “His veteran leadership and steady guard play were instrumental to our success last season, both during the regular season and the playoffs. We are thrilled to have him back with the Bucks.”

JULY 2: The Bucks officially waived Hill on Monday, according to the NBA’s transactions log. He’ll clear waivers this week, and then Milwaukee will be able to officially re-sign him once the moratorium ends on Saturday.

JUNE 30: The Bucks are set to re-sign veteran guard George Hill on a three-year, $29MM deal, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. The deal has a partial guarantee in year three, tweets Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Milwaukee plans to waive Hill, who was originally set to make $18MM next season, and formally sign him to his new contract once the moratorium period ends on July 6.

Hill was a key cog for the Bucks during the postseason, scoring 11.5 points per game on 53% shooting from the floor and 42% shooting from 3-point range. Milwaukee values his experience, leadership and mentality on the hardwood and in the locker room.

The Bucks lost guard Malcolm Brogdon to Indiana on Sunday, but the team also worked to secure multi-year commitments from Hill, Khris Middleton, and two Lopezes — Brook Lopez and Robin Lopez.

Milwaukee will need to make at least one more roster move to fit Hill’s new contract in under the cap, notes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter). While the deal is worth the same amount as the mid-level exception, the Bucks won’t have that exception available because they’ll need to use cap room to re-sign Brook Lopez.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agent Rumors: Middleton, Butler, Kanter, Temple

According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, the quietness surrounding the free agency destination of Bucks’ All-Star forward Khris Middleton is because interested front offices are universally presuming that Middleton is going back to Milwaukee on a “monster” five-year deal.

Middleton, 27, is eligible to sign a five-year, $189.904MM maximum-salary contract with the Bucks, while rival suitors can only (relatively speaking, of course) offer up to $140.791MM over four years.

Echoing Stein’s sentiment from rival front offices, Gery Woelfel of Woelfel’s Press Box reports that Middleton is expected to re-sign with Milwaukee, adding that Brook Lopez and George Hill are also considered good bets to return.

Free Agent Rumors: Randle, Gibson, Bullock, Bulls

The Kings will be among the teams in pursuit of Pelicans forward Julius Randle, tweets Jordan Schultz of ESPN. He cites the Nets, Knicks and Bulls as other expected suitors.

Randle, 24, had a career-best season after signing a one-year deal with New Orleans last summer. He averaged 21.4 points and 8.7 rebounds in 73 games while shooting 52% from the field. He also improved as a long-distance shooter, hitting 34% of his shots from 3-point range.

Here are more rumors as we move to within 24 hours of the start of free agency:

  • The Timberwolves will have plenty of competition for Taj Gibson, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News, who lists the Clippers, Nets, Bucks, Bulls, Warriors, Raptors, Trail Blazers, Hornets and Lakers as having interest in the veteran forward (Twitter link). Gibson has averaged 11.5 PPG and 6.9 RPG during his two years in Minnesota.
  • There’s mutual interest between the Knicks and shooting specialist Reggie Bullock, according to Ian Begley of SNY.TV. Bullock averaged 11.3 points per game while splitting last season between the Pistons and Lakers.
  • The Bulls are looking for a point guard, but want to limit the contract to two years, reports K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. That may take them out of the running for Malcolm Brogdon or Patrick Beverley, Johnson notes, but he cites other options such as Cory Joseph, Tyus Jones and George Hill who might be willing to accept a shorter contract. The Bulls are counting on first-round pick Coby White to take over the position within two years and want the free agent’s contract to expire in the summer of 2021 at the same time as Otto Porter‘s and Cristiano Felicio‘s.

Free Agency Notes: Mirotic, Kanter, Knicks

Nikola Mirotic helped kick off free agency weekend by opting to play in Barcelona next season. It’s a surprising development considering he was a coveted free agent.

The Jazz had their eye on Mirotic and had “major interest” in trying to sign him to a three-year deal in the $45MM range, Marc Stein of The New York Times hears (Twitter link). The market for stretch fours is even thinner now after Mirotic’s decision.

Let’s take a look at more free agency notes from around the league:

  • The Clippers have interest in Enes Kanter, Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard reports (Twitter link). Broussard also confirms that the Celtics and Lakers are eyeing the center, as was previously reported.
  • There’s been no indication that the Celtics are still pursuing Clint Capela, whether it be a Rockets‘ sign-and-trade involving Jimmy Butler or any scenario, Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald tweets. Capela had previously been linked to Boston.
  • The Knicks will not extend a qualifying offer to Isaiah Hicks, Ian Begley of SNY.tv tweets. Hicks was on a two-way contract last season.
  • New York has interest in George Hill and Wayne Ellington, Begley relays in a full-length piece. Both veterans will be targets regardless of whether the Knicks land any stars in free agency.

Bucks To Waive George Hill

As expected, the Bucks will release George Hill, putting him on track to become an unrestricted free agent, league sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The final year of Hill’s contract in 2019/20 featured a $18MM salary, but only $1MM of that figure was guaranteed. By cutting the veteran guard before July 1, the Bucks will avoid having that full guarantee hit their cap for next season.

According to Charania, the Bucks are working to find the space to re-sign Hill, if possible. That suggests they won’t stretch his $1MM cap hit, since doing so would make them ineligible to sign him for 2019/20.

After trading away Tony Snell, the Bucks currently project to have about $13MM in cap room, as I noted in my preview of Milwaukee’s offseason this morning. However, the team is expected to use that room to try to re-sign Brook Lopez before going over the cap to lock up Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon.

The Bucks could open up additional cap room for Hill by waiving and stretching Jon Leuer or by trading away Ersan Ilyasova without taking back salary. Alternately, the team could use its current cap room to try to bring back Hill if Lopez signs elsewhere.

If the Bucks aren’t able to re-sign Hill, he should draw interest from several other teams. He had a strong postseason run in Milwaukee, averaging 11.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 2.8 APG with a .534/.417/.818 shooting line in 15 games (26.3 MPG). The Bulls are one team with interest, per K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link).

Free Agent Rumors: Klay, Horford, Brogdon, Jordan

The Warriors have long hinted that they plan to offer Klay Thompson a five-year, maximum-salary deal, and there have been no signals that they’ll change that stance in the wake of Thompson’s torn ACL. So why are there rumblings about Thompson potentially meeting with other teams if the Warriors don’t put that offer on the table right away?

According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst, there are some “outstanding issues” that could force Thompson to try to generate some added leverage. Stephen Curry‘s five-year deal with the Warriors didn’t include a fifth-year opt-out or a no-trade clause, setting a precedent for what Golden State’s five-year max deals might look like going forward, as the ESPN duo notes. If Thompson prioritizes a player option or a no-trade clause, talking to the Lakers and/or Clippers may be his best chance to create a little extra leverage with the Warriors.

Elsewhere on the Warriors front, Draymond Green is eligible for a contract extension and is open to discussing a new deal before he reaches free agency in 2020, sources tell ESPN. Those talks are expected to happen later in the offseason, though I’d be surprised if they get something done, since Green could earn more in free agency.

Here’s more from Shelburne and Windhorst on the 2019 free agent class:

  • The Sixers and Kings are among the potential suitors for Al Horford, according to ESPN’s report. Sacramento, in particular, has a clear path to making Horford a big offer, but the club is believed to have other centers – including Brook Lopez and Nikola Vucevic – on its list of potential targets, per ESPN.
  • League executives believe a team may look to pry Malcolm Brogdon away from the Bucks by putting together an offer sheet that starts at a high number and descends in later seasons, according to Shelburne and Windhorst. A player option and various bonuses could also be added to such an offer sheet, the ESPN duo adds, identifying the Bulls, Suns, Mavericks, and Celtics (if they don’t get Kemba Walker) as possible suitors for Brogdon.
  • The Bucks will almost certainly waive George Hill to avoid guaranteeing his $19MM salary, but there’s mutual interest in a new deal between the two sides, especially if the club doesn’t retain Brogdon, according to ESPN.
  • DeAndre Jordan is believed to have interest in playing in Los Angeles again, sources tell ESPN. Either the Clippers or Lakers could be a fit for the veteran center.

Bucks Rumors: Brogdon, Lopez, Hill, Mirotic

After entering the exclusive 50/40/90 shooting club in 2018/19, Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon will be a sought-after target this offseason. Sources tell Gery Woelfel of WoelfelsPressBox.com that the Sixers and Pacers are among the teams considering making a play for the restricted free agent.

Four NBA sources who spoke to Woelfel predicted that Brogdon would receive an offer in the range of $16-21MM per year. And while most of those sources have heard that the Bucks plan to match any offer on Brogdon, they’re not all entirely convinced that will happen.

“They can say that now, but I’m sure the Bucks, just like any team, have a cutoff point where they won’t go over to keep him,” an Eastern Conference executive said to Woelfel. “I still think he (Brogdon) is the odd guy out in Milwaukee.”

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe expressed a similar sentiment during the network’s free agency special on Tuesday night. As relayed by Sagar Trika (via Twitter), the two ESPN insiders discussed whether Milwaukee would be able to retain all three of Brogdon, Khris Middleton, and Brook Lopez, and agreed that Brogdon might be the trickiest to bring back.

Here’s more on the Bucks:

  • The Bucks and Brook Lopez are both motivated to get a deal done, a source tell Chris Mannix of SI.com. Woelfel’s sources believe Lopez will get an annual salary in the range of $10-13MM in free agency, and view Los Angeles as a potential fit for the big man if he doesn’t stick with the Bucks. “I’ve been hearing a quite a bit about the Lakers and Lopez,” one executive told Woelfel.
  • Executives who spoke to Woelfel view George Hill as a candidate to receive an offer in the neighborhood of $7-10MM if and when he’s released by the Bucks. That would make him a target for teams with the full mid-level exception available.
  • One NBA executive predicted a salary in the $13-15MM range for Nikola Mirotic, while another league official split the difference and projected $14MM, Woelfel writes. Mirotic is considered more likely to leave the Bucks than to re-sign, given the club’s cap limitations.
  • Veteran guard Xavier Munford, who has previously appeared in NBA games for Memphis and Milwaukee, will suit up for the Bucks’ Summer League squad in July, tweets Malika Andrews of ESPN.com.

Bucks Notes: Kaminsky, Lopez, Hill, Giannis

In the market for a big man who could stretch the floor at the trade deadline, the Bucks made an effort to acquire Frank Kaminsky from the Hornets, but were turned down, sources tell Sean Deveney of Sporting News. Having missed out on Kaminsky, Milwaukee instead sent a handful of second-round picks to New Orleans to acquire Nikola Mirotic.

With Mirotic and Brook Lopez both headed for unrestricted free agency this summer, however, Deveney expects the Bucks to circle back to Kaminsky, who will be eligible for restricted free agency. Milwaukee’s ability to land him will depend on a number of factors, including how serious the Hornets are about re-signing him and what happens with the Bucks’ own free agent bigs. Still, it’s a potential pairing to watch, particularly if Kaminsky becomes unrestricted and is available at a discount.

Here’s more on the Bucks:

  • In a separate article for Sporting News, Deveney previewed the Bucks’ offseason, suggesting that the team will make Khris Middleton its top priority in free agency this summer over Lopez, Malcolm Brogdon, and others.
  • After the Bucks’ season ended last weekend, Lopez said he’d “love to be back,” while George Hill – who is expected to be waived to avoid his full $19MM guarantee – said that money has never been the most important factor for him in free agency, as Malika Andrews of ESPN.com relays.
  • In an interesting piece for The Athletic, Eric Nehm spoke to Giannis Antetokounmpo about what the Bucks star learned during his first extended playoff run, and how he’ll apply those lessons going forward. “There are so many things I thought were tough in the regular season,” Antetokounmpo said after playing three rounds of postseason basketball. “They’re not.”
  • The Bucks recently worked out UNC forward Cameron Johnson, per Gery Woelfel of Woelfel’s Press Box (via Twitter). The 21st player on ESPN’s big board, Johnson may no longer be available by the time Milwaukee picks at No. 30.

Bucks Co-Owner: “Our Goal Is To Keep Everybody”

Several players who started or played major minutes off the bench for the Bucks this season are headed for free agency this summer, but co-owner Marc Lasry remains hopeful that the franchise can keep its core intact, as he tells Frank Isola of The Athletic.

“Our goal is to keep everybody,” Lasry said. “And we’re going to do everything in our power to keep the nucleus of our team.”

While the Bucks may not retain “everybody” on their roster who will be a free agent this offseason, there are three key players the team figures to prioritize. As Isola writes, Khris Middleton is expected to be offered a maximum-salary contract or something close to it, and the team would also like to bring back Malcolm Brogdon and Brook Lopez. Nikola Mirotic and George Hill will also likely reach free agency.

Outside of Giannis Antetokounmpo, who led the Bucks in minutes during the Eastern Conference Finals, Middleton, Brogdon, and Lopez were the team’s three most-used players in that series vs. Toronto, so bringing them back will be Milwaukee’s No. 1 offseason goal. Brogdon’s modest cap hit (just under $2MM) and restricted status should help give the Bucks some cap flexibility as they weigh their options.

As for Antetokounmpo, he’s not up for a new deal quite yet, as his current pact runs through 2020/21. But he became eligible for a super-max extension by making an All-NBA team for a second straight year, and could sign that five-year extension during the 2020 offseason.

Like Lasry, Giannis recently said he’d like to see all the Bucks’ key free agents return. As long as the team proves it’s willing to invest financially to maintain a title contender, Milwaukee’s co-owner believes the team’s star will be interested in sticking around long-term.

As long as we keep doing well and Giannis believes we’re doing everything we can to win I feel good about our chances,” Lasry said. “… I believe he wants to be here. I have no reason to believe otherwise.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Conference Finals

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the conference finals:

Patrick McCaw, Raptors, 23, SG (Down) — Signed to a one-year, $786K deal in 2019
McCaw’s season has been a head-scratcher. He leveraged his way out of Golden State, signed a non-guaranteed offer sheet with Cleveland, got cut loose shortly thereafter and then signed a minimum contract with Toronto. He may get his wish to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, but no one will be knocking down his door on July 1. He suffered a thumb injury late in the regular season, was ineffective in some postseason appearances, and has missed the last couple of games for “personal reasons.” McCaw might not even find a guaranteed offer this summer.

George Hill, Bucks, 33, SG (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $57MM deal in 2017
Hill’s $18MM salary becomes guaranteed if he’s still on the roster July 1. The Bucks have too many free agent concerns to bring him back at that number, but Hill has reinforced that he’s a solid rotation player after a disappointing regular season. Hill averaged 14.2 PPG in the conference semis against Boston. Throwing out his Game 1 clunker against Toronto and he’s averaged 13.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 2.0 APG over the past four games, hitting some clutch baskets along the way. He’ll attract attention on the open market, though he’ll have to settle for less than his previous deal.

Alfonzo McKinnie, Warriors, 26, SF (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $2.7MM deal in 2018
Seems like every role player that coach Steve Kerr has thrown out there in the postseason has provided some quality minutes. McKinnie certainly fits that description. He was getting here-and-there minutes, then became more valuable with Kevin Durant sidelined. He grabbed nine rebounds in 21 minutes in Game 3 against Portland, then contributed 12 points in the clinching overtime victory in Game 4. McKinnie has a non-guaranteed salary next year but it’s difficult to see him getting cut loose considering the Warriors need to surround their stars with low-cost options. He can be a restricted free agent in 2020 if he receives a qualifying offer.

Enes Kanter, Trail Blazers, 27, C (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $653K deal in 2019
Kanter rode the roller coaster during the playoffs. The Blazers would have never made it to the Western Conference finals without him in the wake of Jusuf Nurkic‘s injury. Following Game 1 against the Warriors though, Kanter saw limited minutes as coach Terry Stotts opted to ride stretch four Meyers Leonard. Kanter’s ability to put up numbers earned him a big contract with the Thunder — recall he was making $18.6MM this season before working out a buyout with the Knicks. But his defensive deficiencies are also apparent in today’s NBA. It will interesting to see how much executives value his positives on the open market.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.