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George Hill’s market leverage has plummeted following the NBA draft. Plenty of teams filled needs at the point guard position before free agency, so there weren’t as many suitors for the biggest names. That’s why you saw Jeff Teague agree to sign with the Minnesota Timberwolves before free agency even started as soon as the clock struck midnight eastern time on July 1.
Hill is the last remaining marquee floor general (sorry, Derrick Rose stans). That he’s yet to secure a long-term pact suggests he should have taken a mid-season extension with the Jazz. Hindsight, 20/20 vision, whatever.
At least a couple of teams continue to look at Hill, the most interesting of which is the Denver Nuggets. They recently locked down Paul Millsap for three years and $90 million, and Hill could be their next target, according to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor.
Affording Hill will take a salary dump or two. The Nuggets already need to jettison Danilo Gallinari’s free-agent hold to squeeze in Millsap, unless they were already planning on shedding Kenneth Faried.
Fortunately for the Nuggets, they have a bunch of digestible contracts they can move to open up room. They can dummy up another $5.8 million by renouncing Mason Plumlee’s restricted free-agent hold.
Fringe-playoff squads shouldn’t be jumping through so many hoops to look at a 31-year-old point guard, but this exact case is an exception. The Nuggets are in position to pay older players for two to three years without damaging their books or the development of their kiddies, and Hill can play off every single playmaker they house—from Millsap and Nikola Jokic, to Gary Harris and Emmanuel Mudiay.
But the Nuggets aren’t alone in their interest. The Los Angeles Lakers are right there with them. They’re talking to Hill about a one-year deal with the intention of using him beside Lonzo Ball, per Shelburne and Wojnarowski.
Someone should probably clear this with LaVar Ball, but once again we have a situation in which Hill can operate off the ball (and Ball), allowing little tots like Lonzo and Brandon Ingram to learn through ample trial and error.
Still, the Lakers would be an odd fit for Hill. A one-year deal at his age poses huge risk. He appeared in just 49 games last season, and even if he rebuilds some of his value, the NBA as whole will have substantially tighter purse strings by then. Half the league’s teams could be staring at luxury-tax bills, as ESPN.com’s Bobby Marks pointed out.