Jordan Hill

Hornets Targeting Jordan Hill

The Hornets could be the next team for journeyman center Jordan Hill, writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News.

Hill, who has played for five franchises in his eight-year career, was waived by the Timberwolves in late June before his 2017/18 contract became guaranteed. A free agent addition last summer, Hill played in just seven games for Minnesota.

Charlotte is a little more than $2MM below the luxury-tax line with 14 players under contract. A source told The Sporting News the team would like to add one more low-cost, veteran big man to its roster. Deveney lists Ersan Ilyasova, Terrence Jones and Willie Reed as other possibilities.

Hill played for Hornets coach Steve Clifford in 2012/13 when Clifford was an assistant with the Lakers. The eighth pick of the 2009 draft by the Knicks, Hill has also spent time with the Rockets and Pacers. If he does sign with Charlotte, Hill will serve as a backup to Dwight Howard, who was acquired from the Hawks in a trade last month.

Timberwolves Waive Jordan Hill

The Timberwolves have waived power forward/center Jordan Hill, the team announced in a press release.

Hill was signed as a free agent last summer but appeared in just seven games, averaging 1.7 PPG and 2.0 RPG in 6.7 MPG. He inked a two-year, $8.18MM contract but the second year was not guaranteed. He was due to make $4.18MM next season and the club had until June 30th to decide whether to retain him.

The cost-saving move gives Minnesota more money to play with in free agency, as well as to absorb salaries in trades. Given Hill’s lack of playing time, the move comes as no surprise, as Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press tweets.

Hill, 29, has played a total of 409 career games for the Rockets, Knicks, Lakers and Pacers as well as the Timberwolves. He posted averages of 7.9 PPG and 5.8 RPG during those games.

Northwest Notes: Aldrich, Westbrook, Plumlee, Hood

Cole Aldrich, who signed a three-year, $22MM deal with the Wolves over the summer, was brought in to be a veteran mentor to the younger guys on the team and he’s enjoying his role, as he tells Michael Rand of The StarTribune. “Well, with [Jordan Hill], myself, [Brandon Rush] and we had John Lucas earlier in the year, it’s fun to have those guys and the young guys,” Aldrich said. “The teams we were on last year, we were all on older teams, playoff teams. Being able to bring our experience from those teams to a younger group of guys has been a lot of fun.”

More from around the Northwest…

  • Several of Mason Plumlee‘s teammates had adverse reactions to Sunday’s trade, Casey Holdahl of NBA.com reports. “I mean, the business sucks man,” Damian Lillard said. “You wish you could get a team together and put pieces together and you can keep it together. You wish you had the power to keep it together regardless of anything. It happens this way sometimes.” Plumlee, who was dealt to the Nuggets in exchange for Jusuf Nurkic, had become an “adept playmaker” under coach Terry Stotts. “He’s [Plumlee] just a glue guy that you want on your team,” C.J. McCollum said. “He’s a guy who does things the right way, never complains and he’s getting better. He put together a nice string of 20, 25 games to where he’s getting double-doubles, making his free throws, finishing in the lane. And he’s a good guy. That’s what matters the most, he’s a good guy.”
  • Kevin Durant continues to get the best of Russell Westbrook, Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. KD is averaging 37.7 points against OKC this season, a span in which the Warriors have gone 3-0. Despite the loss, Westbrook appeared to enjoy the home crowd’s mental warfare against Durant. “Honestly, I used to get booed in all arenas,” Westbrook said. “So, you know, the tables have turned a little bit.”
  • Chris Haynes of ESPN was critical of Westbrook’s demeanor in Saturday’s rivalry game, writing: “That miniature exchange exemplified Durant’s frustration in playing alongside Westbrook for those eight years with the Thunder. It was always, “I’m coming. I’m coming.” Meanwhile, the team wasn’t going anywhere.” Whereas Westbrook pursued lofty stats, Haynes writes, Durant always prioritized winning.
  • Rodney Hood, who has been out of action since February 1 due to a right knee injury, is expected to return after the All-Star break, the Jazz announced on its official website. Hood has averaged 13.7 points with 3.6 rebounds through 40 games in 2016/17.

Northwest Notes: Hill, Burks, Oladipo, Wolves

George Hill, who has been sidelined with a toe injury, could return as soon as Thursday against the Sixers, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (ESPN Now link). The Jazz traded for Hill during the offseason, but the point guard has only been able to play in 11 contests due to injuries.

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Alec Burks is making strides toward getting back on the court and the Jazz are excited to have the shooting guard back at practice, Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune writes. This week was the first time Burks practiced since breaking his ankle last season.
  • Victor Oladipo remains out of the lineup, but the Thunder are viewing his absence as an opportunity to evaluate the team’s depth, as Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman passes along. “We’ve found maybe different things that we can do that maybe we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to explore, to experiment with,” coach Billy Donovan said. “Hopefully when he gets back, his absence has made us better and helped our team grow in a way that we can continue to move in a positive direction.”
  • Jordan Hill hasn’t played much since joining the Wolves, but he remains optimistic about his role in the organization and the team’s future, as Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune writes. “In a couple years, man, I feel this team will definitely be a surprise,” Hill said.
  • Coach Tom Thibodeau is having trouble finding minutes for Brandon Rush, whom the Wolves signed in the offseason, Youngblood relays in the same piece. “It’s tough to play 10 guys,” Thibodeau said. “We’re settled in a rotation right now. But that doesn’t mean it will stay that way. He’s a good pro, works hard every day.”

Thibodeau Discusses Fresh Start In Minnesota

After a year away from the game, Tom Thibodeau is back as coach and president of basketball operations with the Timberwolves, who have one of the most intriguing collections of young talent in the NBA. Minnesota added point guard Kris Dunn through the draft this summer and improved its bench by signing free agents Jordan Hill, Cole Aldrich and Brandon Rush.

Kent Youngblood of The Star-Tribune talked with Thibodeau about his return to the game, his reputation as a defensive coach, his expectations for the young Wolves and Ricky Rubio‘s role now that Dunn is in town. Here are some highlights of the interview:

On Rubio’s role in Thibodeau’s offense:

“I think he’ll fit in very well. He’s a good player. He practices hard. He can really pass the ball. Passing and defense are two things that help build your team, brings the best out of people. I think Ricky has the ability to make other people better.”

On Rubio and Dunn as a possible starting backcourt:

“We’re going to get a lot of those questions answered in the preseason as we go forward. You want to go step by step. You don’t want to skip over things. I like guys who can play multiple positions, I like different combinations. There are times when you play two point guards together. I did that a lot in Chicago, just the speed of the game changes.”

On possible improvement from Nemanja Bjelica:

“I’m excited about him. He’s had a great summer. He’s in really good shape. He has a very unique skill set: He can shoot the three, he can put it on the floor. The one thing that is probably overlooked is his playmaking ability. You can run pick-and-roll with him. He’s got great vision, he can pass over people.”

On the additions of Aldrich and Hill:

“The way Cole played the second half of last year, I think he’s figured out who he is. The last two years have been very good for him. He fits in well, plays to his strengths, covers up his weaknesses, makes the team function well. And Jordan has been a very good player in this league. That gives us quality depth up front.”

On playoff expectations:

“I don’t want to put a lid on what we can do, but I want us doing the right things. Concentrate on that improvement and how fast we get there, I don’t know. We’re young and we’re going to improve. I think we’ll be a different team at the end of the year than what we were at the beginning of the year.”

Contract Details: Rondo, Boban, J. Hill, S. Hill

There were conflicting reports on the details of the second year of Rajon Rondo‘s new contract with the Bulls when it was agreed upon and signed earlier this month, but Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders provides some clarity, writing that only $3MM of Rondo’s $13.397MM second-year salary is guaranteed. That second year essentially functions as a team option for the Bulls, who could waive Rondo by June 30 next year if his first year in Chicago goes south.

Here are several more contract and salary cap details from Pincus:

  • As part of the sign-and-trade deal that landed Matthew Dellavedova in Milwaukee, the Cavaliers sent $200K to the Bucks, per Pincus. The move allowed Cleveland to create a trade exception to absorb Mike Dunleavy‘s salary.
  • The Pistons‘ offer sheet for Boban Marjanovic was an Arenas-rule offer, with a modest spike in year three, according to Pincus. The Spurs didn’t have Marjanovic’s Early Bird rights or enough cap space to match, so Detroit got its man and was able to smooth out his cap hit to $7MM annually, as the Arenas rule permits.
  • The second year of Jordan Hill‘s two-year, $8.18MM deal with the Timberwolves is non-guaranteed, tweets Pincus.
  • Solomon Hill‘s four-year, $48MM pact with the Pelicans, which starts at $12.2MM, features $3.9MM in total unlikely incentives, according to Pincus (via Twitter). Meanwhile, the first-year cap hit on E’Twaun Moore‘s four-year, $34MM deal with New Orleans is $8.08MM (Twitter link).

Timberwolves Sign Jordan Hill

JULY 20: The Timberwolves have officially signed Hill, the team announced today (Twitter link).

JULY 13: The Timberwolves and free agent big man Jordan Hill have agreed to terms on a two-year contract, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, Hill’s new deal will be worth $8MM.Jordan Hill vertical

Hill, who will turn 29 later this month, appeared in 73 regular-season games for the Pacers last season, starting 11 of those games. In just over 20 minutes per contest, he averaged 8.8 PPG and 6.2 RPG, shooting 50.6% from the floor. A seven-year veteran, Hill previously spent time with the Knicks, Rockets, and Lakers.

For the Wolves, Hill is the second notable veteran big man to agree to terms with the team this month. Minnesota also struck a three-year deal with Cole Aldrich. While Aldrich and Hill aren’t exactly All-Star-caliber players, the team appears to be getting good value out of the duo. Based on the terms reported, Aldrich and Hill will average just over $11MM per season.

By comparison, Timofey Mozgov and Ian Mahinmi will be earning $16MM annually, while Bismack Biyombo will get $18MM per year — and all of those free agents signed longer-term deals than Aldrich or Hill.

[RELATED: Minnesota Timberwolves’ roster and depth chart at RosterResource.com]

Along with Aldrich, Hill will provide the Wolves with solid veteran depth in a frontcourt that also features Nikola Pekovic, Gorgui Dieng, Nemanja Bjelica, and reigning Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Atlantic Rumors: Sixers, Westbrook, C’s, Nets

Speaking to SiriusXM NBA Radio (SoundCloud link) in Las Vegas, Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo acknowledged that his team’s roster is “top-heavy,” with a logjam of young talent at the center position. Although Colangelo said the Sixers like Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid, and Jahlil Okafor, he suggested, half-jokingly, that he’s “absolutely not” comfortable heading into the season with all three still on the roster.

“What we are comfortable doing is saying we’re not going to make a bad deal just to make a deal,” the Sixers GM said. “I think we could be a better basketball team if we could distribute that talent better, and maybe take one of those assets and address other needs on the roster. But I think right now, it’s best to say we like all of them [and] we want to see if we can make the most out of each of them in terms of their contributions to this team. At the end of the day, the reality says one probably has to go at some point — but only when the deal is right.”

Here’s more from out of the Atlantic division:

  • Although there’s no indication yet that the Thunder are exploring a Russell Westbrook trade, rival general managers think GM Sam Presti will do so sooner rather than later if he suspects that Westbrook is leaning toward leaving as a free agent next summer, says Howard Beck of Bleacher Report (video link). According to Beck, many of those rival GMs believe that the Celtics are the most likely landing spot for Westbrook if Oklahoma City does pursue a trade.
  • Having missed out on a pair of RFA targets, the Nets are currently mulling making an offer to another RFA, Dion Waiters, as we heard over the weekend. According to Brian Lewis of The New York Post, Brooklyn has also displayed interest in Terrence Jones, Jordan Hill, and Maurice Harkless.
  • Nets general manager Sean Marks, who acknowledged that his team is in the market for wing players, also said that he’s in no rush to meet the salary floor, as Lewis details. “At some point we have to get there,” Marks said. “But it’s not immediate right now. We’re not just going to go out and spend for the sake of spending. It’s about us doing the right things at the right times.”
  • Celtics first-rounder Ante Zizic is headed back to Cibona Zagreb, his team in Croatia, tweets international basketball journalist David Pick. Boston GM Danny Ainge had previously confirmed that Zizic, who reportedly received some interest from other European clubs, would remain overseas for the 2016/17 season.

Northwest Notes: Diaw, Rush, Hill, Mudiay

Jazz center Rudy Gobert believes “something good is going to happen” in Utah after the trade for Boris Diaw, relays Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News. The Spurs were looking to deal the versatile veteran to create cap room to sign Pau Gasol, and Utah jumped at the opportunity. “He understands the game very well,” Gobert said of his fellow Frenchman. “He’s like a point guard in a big man’s body. It’s like having another coach on the floor. It’s great. I’m very excited.” Diaw, 34, will make $6.5MM next season and a non-guaranteed $7MM for 2017/18.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Several other teams were interested in Warriors swingman Brandon Rush, who agreed to sign with the Timberwolves today, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. The Hornets, Knicks and Wizards all wanted to add the 31-year-old free agent, and the Warriors tried to keep him in Golden State.
  • The Wolves have “kicked the tires” on Pacers big man Jordan Hill, tweets John Krawczynski of The Associated Press. They haven’t reached the serious negotiation phase yet, but that could change now that Rush has been signed.
  • Nuggets point guard Emmanuel Mudiay plans to join the effort to get Dwyane Wade to come to Denver, tweets Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. The Nuggets held a meeting with Wade earlier today.

Free Agent Rumors: Hornets, Blazers, Pachulia

Having tried to move Spencer Hawes‘ contract in a trade prior to the draft, the Hornets continue to explore a possible deal involving Hawes, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter links). According to Wojnarowski, Charlotte would like to create the cap room to add a center in free agency. Roy Hibbert and Zaza Pachulia are at the top of the Hornets’ wish list, with Festus Ezeli and Jordan Hill among the other players the team is eyeing, says Wojnarowski.

Here are several more free agent rumors and updates from around the NBA:

  • The Trail Blazers kicked the tires on Ezeli and Nene, but won’t pursue those players, instead focusing their attention on Pachulia, reports Jason Quick of CSNNW.com (Twitter links). According to Quick, the Blazers were concerned they’d have to renounce one or two of their restricted free agents to go after Ezeli, and they aren’t willing to do that for Allen Crabbe, Meyers Leonard, or Maurice Harkless at this point.
  • Quick also has an update on veteran free agent Gerald Henderson, tweeting that the Trail Blazers are one of “seven to eight teams” to show interest in Henderson so far.
  • A reunion between Lance Stephenson and the Pacers isn’t out of the question, according to Nate Taylor of The Indianapolis Star, who reports that Stephenson has discussed the possibility of agreeing to a multiyear contract with Indiana. The veteran free agent is considering a few teams, but a source tells Taylor that Stephenson “absolutely loves the town and the [Pacers] organization.”
  • Before Cole Aldrich agreed to sign with the Timberwolves, he was receiving interest from the Magic and the Suns, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (via Twitter). Orlando struck a deal with Bismack Biyombo, but Phoenix could still be in the market for a free agent big man.
  • Portland reportedly offered Pau Gasol a higher salary than he ultimately accepted from the Spurs, and it sounds like the Timberwolves did too. Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press reports (via Twitter) that Minnesota’s first offer was $36MM for two years, and the team may have increased that offer within the last day or so.