George Hill

Atlantic Notes: Tatum, J. Green, Simmons, Hill, Raptors

The Celtics and Nets each had a player leave Tuesday’s game early due to an injury, as Tim Bontemps of ESPN details.

The Celtics’ loss was more significant, as star forward Jayson Tatum exited in the third quarter after being inadvertently poked in the eye by Nets forward Kevin Durant. Tatum, who headed to the locker room following the injury, eventually returned to the bench, but he was unable to play any more and his status going forward is uncertain.

“He went back out on the court (and) tried to readjust to the light out there, and he was really struggling,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said, per Bontemps. “He got scratched pretty good. It looks pretty red, it looks pretty swollen to me. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know what the exact diagnosis is. But he’s uncomfortable right now.”

Meanwhile, Nets forward Jeff Green left in the second quarter due to a bruised left foot. The veteran has been a reliable role player for Brooklyn this season, averaging 27 minutes per game in 68 regular season contests and matching that minute total in Game 1. However, the Nets – already up 2-0 in the series – are far better positioned to handle any missed time for Green than the Celtics are for Tatum.

Here are a few more items from around the Atlantic:

  • After Ben Simmons scored just six points on 3-of-9 shooting in Game 1, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said he doesn’t understand criticism of the standout guard, who contributed 15 assists and 15 rebounds in the team’s victory. “Only in Philadelphia,” Rivers said, per Rob Maaddi of The Associated Press. “If you guys don’t know the treasure you have by now, then shame on everyone because he’s been fantastic for us. … I’m amazed that people don’t see what he does. We’re so caught up in the amount of points he scored. … Does it matter if Ben had all 125? Would we be mad that Joel (Embiid) didn’t score? Who cares who scores as long as we’re scoring. … When Ben plays, we score more points.”
  • It took a while for George Hill to get healthy and make his Sixers debut after he was acquired at the trade deadline, but the veteran guard will be relied upon more heavily now that the postseason is underway, writes Tom Moore of The Bucks County Courier Times.
  • The Raptors‘ own first-round pick is in the lottery for the first time since 2012, prompting Blake Murphy of The Athletic to explore whether the team should consider trading its first-rounder. Murphy also looks at trade possibilities for Toronto’s two second-round selections.

Atlantic Notes: Birch, Trent, Hill, Harden

Center Khem Birch has expanded his game since joining the Raptors and will likely be a priority for the team in free agency, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Birch, who signed with Toronto after being waived by the Magic last month, said the coaching staff has given him a green light to try new things.

“Coach (Nick) Nurse told me today to work on my ball-handling and to go coast-to-coast or even just be a threat in transition,” Birch said. “So it’s stuff I’ve worked on but I’ve never implemented it into my game. But the fact that the coaching staff here allows me to do that type of stuff, you’re right, it is like starting over again.”

Birch has taken over as the Raptors’ starting center and is averaging career highs in points (10.8 per game), rebounds (7.3) and assists (1.4). The 28-year-old was making $3MM this season with Orlando and should be in line for a sizable raise this summer.

“I didn’t expect this much freedom,” Birch said. “Honestly, I just thought I was just going to protect the rim, get rebounds and everything else. I wasn’t expecting this kind of freedom now. I was kind of expecting it maybe next season or something like that, but not right now.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Raptors swingman Gary Trent Jr. will miss both games this weekend, but the team hopes to have him back Tuesday or Thursday, tweets Blake Murphy of The Athletic. Trent hasn’t played in a week because of a bruised left leg.
  • George Hill is making a difference for the Sixers as a ball-handler and veteran presence off the bench, according to Ky Carlin of USA Today’s Sixers Wire. Philadelphia had to wait for Hill, who was acquired at the trade deadline but was unavailable until Monday because of a sprained right thumb. “Having George is just another vet who can really just talk to the guards and explain certain plays, offense and defense,” Dwight Howard said. “How to defend, how to get set up in pick-and-rolls, and get our offense going, and what plays we want to run and stuff like that.”
  • Nets coach Steve Nash told reporters Friday that he’s not sure if James Harden will play any more during the regular season, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Harden has missed the past 13 games with a strained right hamstring and it doesn’t sound like he’ll be back soon. “I just don’t want to make a guess one side or the other because I don’t think it serves anyone, because it’s out of our control,” Nash said. “We’re really waiting to see how he responds and how he heals and how quickly he gets there and then how quickly can he handle high-intensity, NBA-level work. I’ll have to say we’ll see. But both are possible.”

Hill To Suit Up For First Sixers Game Monday

Veteran point guard George Hill will be available for his first Sixers game tonight against the Warriors, reports Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Traded to Philadelphia from the Thunder in a three-team deal last month, Hill has been rehabilitating from a right thumb sprain that has kept him sidelined since January 24. He underwent surgery to address the sprain in February.

It appears that Hill, who started in Oklahoma City, will have a reserve role behind Seth Curry tonight, as All-Star starting point guard Ben Simmons will sit with an illness, per Pompey (Twitter link).

Hill, the No. 26 pick out of IUPUI by San Antonio in 2008, has enjoyed a lengthy career on a variety of contenders, and should be a welcome addition to the Sixers’ second unit thanks to his shooting and play-making. He enjoyed his most productive seasons with the Spurs, Pacers, and Jazz, but also had stops with the Kings, Cavaliers, and Bucks prior to this season.

The 34-year-old has played in just 14 games during the 2020/21 season, averaging 11.8 PPG and 3.1 APG on a hyper-efficient .508/.386/.840 shooting line.

Eastern Notes: Vildoza, Hill, Tucker, Pistons Rookies

The Knicks will likely make a roster move at some point to replace John Henson, who didn’t receive another 10-day contract. A wild card could be Baskonia combo guard Luca Vildoza. According to Lithuanian journalist Donatas Urbonas (Twitter link), Vildoza is on the Knicks’ radar. The 25-year-old, 6’3” Vildoza is averaging 10.1 PPG and 3.4 APG in the EuroLeague this season.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Sixers coach Doc Rivers is optimistic George Hill will make his team debut in the coming week, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Hill was acquired from Oklahoma City in a three-team deadline deal last month. The veteran guard had surgery on his right thumb on February 2, and hasn’t played since January 24. Hill’s $10MM salary for next season isn’t guaranteed and Philadelphia is looking for him to be a postseason factor.
  • P.J. Tucker missed three weeks of action before returning this week and revealing that the calf injury that sidelined him cropped up before he was traded by Houston to the Bucks, Eric Nehm of The Athletic tweets. Tucker wanted to play through the injury but the Bucks’ medical staff chose to keep him inactive until he healed.
  • The Pistons started all of their first-round picks for the first time on Friday and Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey lifted the team to a win over Oklahoma City. Backup center Jahlil Okafor says it’s a pleasure to be around the hard-working trio, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. “Seeing them every day, how serious they are in their approach, I’m really proud of them,” Okafor said. “It’s a breath of fresh air being around these types of rookies who love the game so much and are so eager to learn. It’s kind of uplifting.”

Injury Notes: Oladipo, Beal, LeBron, Oubre, Hill, Temple

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra refused to speculate on how much time Victor Oladipo might miss with an injured right knee and declined to say whether he thinks Oladipo will play again this season, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Oladipo suffered the injury Thursday and didn’t accompany the team on its four-game road trip. He is considered out indefinitely with “right knee soreness.”

After today’s practice in Portland, Spoelstra told reporters the organization is still in the “information gathering stage” regarding Oladipo.

“I don’t have a new update,” he said. “He’s not with us on this trip and he won’t be with us (Sunday). I don’t have any new information.”

Oladipo’s injury occurred on a non-contact play when he landed after a dunk. He underwent an MRI Friday, but the Heat haven’t released the results. X-rays taken Thursday came back negative.

“He really wanted to be with us and this team and we really like what he brings to our group,” Spoelstra said. “He complements who we are and what we do already so much on both sides of the floor. You do feel for guys, particularly this time of the year. The competition is going to another level. Players want to be out there.”

Here are some more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Wizards guard Bradley Beal missed tonight’s game with tightness in his back, but the team doesn’t believe the condition is related to his hip issue, according to Ava Wallace of The Washington Post (Twitter link). “Don’t think it’s going to be lasting,” coach Scott Brooks said. “I’m hoping that a day off today and a day off tomorrow, he’ll be back against Utah … that’s the hope.”
  • The Lakers expect to have LeBron James back in about three weeks, sources tell ESPN. He has missed about three weeks so far with a high right ankle sprain.
  • An MRI confirmed that Warriors forward Kelly Oubre has a sprained wrist, tweets Nick Friedell of ESPN. Oubre is sitting out tonight’s game, but the team hasn’t said how much time he might miss.
  • George Hill hasn’t been able to play for the Sixers yet, but he participated in warm-ups before tonight’s game, tweets Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. Hill is recovering from thumb surgery in February.
  • Bulls forward Garrett Temple suffered a setback in his rehab from a right hamstring injury and could be out a while longer, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports (Twitter link). Coach Billy Donovan said Temple experienced an issue while running.

Atlantic Notes: Thompson, Fournier, Johnson, Shamet, Hill

After missing nearly a month due to a positive COVID-19 test, Celtics big man Tristan Thompson returned earlier this week, a welcome sight for a Boston team struggling to play consistently. However, Thompson detailed a difficult battle with the virus while he was away from the team.

“That s–t’s no joke,” Thompson told reporters, including Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald (Twitter link). “That was a battle. I had all the symptoms except losing my taste and smell, so at least I could enjoy my food.”

Thompson, 30, has appeared in 38 games (31 starts) in his first season with the Celtics, averaging 7.9 PPG and 8.3 RPG. While his production is down, Boston is happy to have some size back in the frontcourt, especially given Thompson’s postseason experience. In the meantime, Thompson is looking forward to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

“…I’m definitely going to get the vaccine as soon as I can get it,” Thompson said, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps (Twitter link).

Check out more news and notes from the Atlantic Division:

  • Celtics head coach Brad Stevens announced that trade deadline acquisition Evan Fournier will not travel with the team during its upcoming road trip, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps (Twitter link). Fournier has appeared in four games for the Celtics since being shipped to Boston, averaging 11.5 PPG off the bench, but is currently sidelined due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
  • Alize Johnson‘s second 10-day pact with the Nets is ending this Sunday and it remains to be seen what the team does with him. Johnson said he wants to keep showing the club “that I belong and I wanna be here,” per NetsDaily. Brian Lewis of the New York Post breaks down the Nets’ upcoming decision on whether or not to keep Johnson.
  • After missing a series of games due to an ankle injury, Landry Shamet is expected to return for the Nets on Saturday, Lewis writes in a separate story. Brooklyn has dealt with a series of injuries but are slowly seeing players return, including Kevin Durant after a two-month absence.
  • While it remains unclear when it will happen, Sixers guard George Hill, whom the team acquired at the trade deadline, expects to return this season, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports (Twitter link). “No one knows the timetable yet,” Hill said. “But I will be back this season for sure. I will be back before playoffs for sure.”

Atlantic Notes: Henson, Hill, Fournier, Maxey

It doesn’t sound as if Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau expects the team’s latest addition, big man John Henson, to crack the center rotation, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

“The John Henson signing was just insurance,” Thibodeau said. “Felt we wanted to get a look at both [Henson and fellow recently-added big man Norvel Pelle). We had a roster spot available and that’s what we chose to do with it. I like the idea of it.”

With center Mitchell Robinson out indefinitely after undergoing a surgery to address a fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot last month, the team still expects to lean on veteran big men Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson to soak up most of the minutes at center.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers head coach Doc Rivers acknowledged that he does not know when new addition George Hill will make his Philadelphia debut, tweets Derek Bodner of The Athletic. The veteran point guard is still recovering from a February thumb surgery. “I can’t see it anytime soon,” Rivers said. “I had that same injury. That’s not anything you mess around with. Just one whack, you may not get injured, but the pain is excruciating because the nerves are so raw. So we’re gonna try to be as tentative as possible with his injury.”
  • New Celtics shooting guard Evan Fournier will likely miss Boston’s games for the rest of the week as he remains in the NBA’s coronavirus health and safety protocols, tweets Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. “We hope that it’s as little time as possible but (it’s) still part of what you have to get used to this year,” Boston head coach Brad Stevens said during an interview with Boston FM radio program Zolak and Bertrand on 98.5 The Sports Hub, as recapped by Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter link).
  • After missing one game due to the league’s coronavirus health and safety protocols, first-year Sixers point guard Tyrese Maxey has been cleared to return to the court, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter). Maxey, the No. 21 pick out of Kentucky in the 2020 NBA draft, has shown plenty of promise across a limited 14.9 MPG, averaging 7.4 PPG, 1.7 RPG and 1.6 APG in 42 appearances.

Sixers Notes: Hill, Rivers, Embiid, Reed

The Sixers weren’t able to land Kyle Lowry at the trade deadline, but they upgraded their backcourt with the deal that brought George Hill from the Thunder, write Rich Hofmann and Derek Bodner of The Athletic. Philadelphia continued to pursue Lowry even after the Hill trade was complete, according to the authors, but the Raptors weren’t willing to lower their asking price before the deadline arrived.

Hill brings plenty of playoff experience, Hofmann and Bodner point out, and he gives the Sixers another ballhandler and shooter off the bench as well as a capable perimeter defender. He also provides a lot more salary flexibility than Lowry, who will be in line for a sizable contract in free agency. Hill is set to make $10.47MM next season, but only $1.275MM of that is guaranteed. He hasn’t played since having surgery on his right thumb in late January, but president of basketball operations Daryl Morey expects him to be ready soon.

“What I’m trying to do is maximize our chance of winning the title over that (three-to-five year) window, with more weight for this year. So if there’s a move that ups our odds a little bit more this year, but really hurts our odds in the future, then that doesn’t make sense,” Morey said in explaining why he passed on Lowry. “If it’s a move that ups our odds a decent amount, but doesn’t affect our future odds, then that’s a move that looks pretty interesting. And so, I think this move very materially increased our championship odds, and also kept our ones in the future preserved at a very high level. ”

There’s more this morning from Philadelphia:

  • Saturday marked coach Doc Rivers‘ first trip back to Staples Center to face the Clippers, notes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Rivers spent seven years with the franchise and helped guide it through the Donald Sterling controversy in 2014. “I think the franchise was on the brink, if you know what I’m saying,” Rivers said, “not only how we dealt with it. But more that we responded by playing well enough to win a (playoff) series that I thought for the franchise was a must-win series because of what we were going through.”
  • Joel Embiid is making progress in recovering from the bone bruise on his left knee, Bodner tweets. Embiid, who hasn’t played since March 12, has resumed on-court basketball activities and is working on his conditioning.
  • Bodner also offers details (via Twitter) on Paul Reed‘s contract, which was converted to a standard deal this week. The G League Most Valuable Player signed a three-year agreement, but only the rest of this season is guaranteed. Philadelphia used a portion of its mid-level exception to add a third year to the minimum-salary deal.

Sixers Acquire George Hill In Three-Team Trade

7:15pm: The trade is now official, according to press releases from the Sixers and Knicks. The deal breaks down as follows:

  • Sixers acquire Hill and Brazdeikis.
  • Thunder acquire Bradley, Rivers, the Sixers’ 2025 second-round pick, and the Sixers’ 2026 second-round pick.
  • Knicks acquire Ferguson, Poirier, the Sixers’ 2021 second-round pick, the Heat’s 2024 second-round pick (top-55 protected; from Sixers), and the draft rights to Emir Preldzic (from Sixers).

The Knicks’ acquisitions of the Heat’s protected 2024 second-rounder and Preldzic’s rights weren’t reported earlier, but neither is a difference-making asset, as the pick will only be conveyed if it falls between 56-60 and Preldzic is unlikely to ever play in the NBA.

New York will waive Poirier now that the deal is official, as we relayed earlier.


11:52am: The Sixers, Thunder, and Knicks are finalizing a trade that will see George Hill land in Philadelphia, according to reports from Shams Charania of The Athletic and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (all Twitter links).

The Thunder are receiving Tony Bradley and Austin Rivers, according to Wojnarowski, who says Philadelphia will send Terrance Ferguson to New York and will acquire Ignas Brazdeikis from the Knicks (Twitter link). Vincent Poirier will join Ferguson in heading from Philadelphia to New York, tweets Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.

The Sixers are also sending a pair of second-round picks to Oklahoma City, per Wojnarowski, who tweets that those second-rounders will be Philadelphia’s own in 2025 and 2026. Meanwhile, Steve Popper of Newsday reports (via Twitter) that the Knicks are acquiring Philadelphia’s own 2021 second-rounder.

While the 76ers were viewed as one of the top suitors for Kyle Lowry, it appears they’ve opted to go in a different – and less costly – direction, addressing the point guard position by acquiring Hill, a steady veteran who has a ton of postseason experience.

The 34-year-old Hill averaged 11.8 PPG and 3.1 APG with a .508/.386/.840 shooting line in 14 games (26.4 MPG) for the Thunder before he was sidelined by a thumb injury. It’s not clear how much more time he’ll miss, but a report this week indicated he’s out of his cast and is working toward a return. Presumably, Philadelphia is confident about his ability to contribute down the stretch.

Hill’s $10MM salary for the 2021/22 season only has a small ($1.28MM) partial guarantee, so the Sixers will have some flexibility during the offseason as they consider whether or not to hang onto him.

As for the Thunder and Knicks, the two rebuilding clubs will add to their ever-growing collections of draft picks in this deal. Ferguson and Poirier probably aren’t in New York’s plans, but the two players headed to Oklahoma City are a little more intriguing.

Bradley, who is eligible for restricted free agency, had 18 points and 11 rebounds in his final game as a Sixer on Tuesday, while Rivers has been a rotation player for playoff clubs in the past and is on a team-friendly contract, with non-guaranteed cap hits of $3.33MM in 2021/22 and $3.15MM in ’22/23.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mannix’s Latest: Gordon, Celtics, Barnes, Oladipo, OKC, More

Several rival executives tell Chris Mannix of SI.com that the Magic appear committed to trading both Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier this week. Having fallen well out of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference, Orlando is prioritizing receiving draft compensation rather than players who could help the team win this season, Mannix writes.

To that end, while Marcus Smart is said to be included in the Celticstrade discussions for Gordon and Fournier, Mannix wonders if the Magic might want to re-route Smart to a third team for more draft capital if Boston and Orlando move forward on that deal.

Mannix also suggests there has been some chatter around the league that the Celtics’ talks with the Magic about Gordon may be a way of pressuring the Kings into more seriously discussing Harrison Barnes, since there hasn’t been much traction with Sacramento to date. The Kings don’t seem to be displaying a strong desire to move key players for draft picks, says Mannix.

Here are a few more items of interest from Mannix’s latest trade rumor roundup:

  • It’s no longer a question of whether or not the Rockets will trade Victor Oladipo, but rather where they’ll send him, according to Mannix, who hears that the Knicks‘ interest in the two-time All-Star may be overstated.
  • The Thunder are “open for business” on deals for Al Horford and George Hill, but haven’t made it down the road in any trade discussions for either veteran. Mannix says Oklahoma City has sought “second-round compensation” for Hill, though it’s unclear if that means one second-round pick or multiple selections.
  • There’s still no serious traction toward any trades involving Cavaliers center Andre Drummond or Spurs big man LaMarcus Aldridge. Mannix thinks both players will ultimately end up on the buyout market, where they’ll receive significant interest.