Why The Kings’ George Hill Is Holding Up A Trade To LeBron James’ Cavaliers

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Point guard George Hill has the enviable opportunity to go from playing for the Sacramento Kings to playing for the King’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

But there’s something Hill isn’t willing to risk to join LeBron James‘ squad: $20 million.

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, a.k.a. the Windhorst Whisperer, Cleveland and Sacramento had a trade centered around Hill in place, but the Cavs were only interested in trading for Hill if he’d preemptively agree to a buyout that’d come to be should LeBron spurn the franchise for greener pastures in the coming offseason.

Hill is owed $19 million in 2018-19, and $18 million in 2019-20, with just $1 million of that final year of his contract, signed this past offseason, guaranteed.

“They didn’t want to buy him out this year,” Windhorst said Monday on ESPN Radio. “What they wanted to do was protect themselves in the event that if LeBron James left, whether George Hill would be willing to take a buyout on the $20 million he’s owed on his contract after this season.”

Hill would wisely like to hold onto the money he’s earned, particularly after what happened last season. Riding the best statistical year of his career in 2016-17, Hill’s believed to have been offered a four-year, $84 million extension by the Jazz. He declined to sign, and would come to regret it, signing a three-year $57 million deal with just $40 million guaranteed this offseason and having to go to disastrous Sacramento to get it.

So, yeah, Cleveland, you’re not landing this two-way guard you so sorely need unless you’re willing to pay up.

Luckily for the Cavaliers, two players they likely wouldn’t have to commit to financially beyond this season, DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams, seem to have just become even more available.