Storyline: George Hill Free Agency

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George Hill, having just completed the final year of a five-year, $40 million deal that he originally signed with the Pacers in 2012, has changed agents prior to becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Hill has hired Matthew Ward, Ward confirmed to VigilantSports.com. This isn’t a new relationship between the two; Ward has served as Hill’s financial advisor for nearly a decade.

Utah general manager Dennis Lindsey and coach Quin Snyder have done everything right in constructing a burgeoning Western Conference contender, but they’ll have to withstand the Boston Celtics’ push for Hayward on July 1. Winning a playoff series, getting a crack at the Golden State Warriors, gives Hayward a better prism with which to imagine his Utah future. The plan for Utah is unmistakable: Offer Hayward a max deal, re-sign point guard George Hill and turn these 51-win Jazz toward 60 victories and push for a conference finals appearance sooner rather than later.

He’ll have unprecedented freedom next summer. A renegotiation-and extension could have kept him off the market, giving him security with a team that uses him well. But Hill isn’t dwelling on it. “It’s over. There’s nothing we can do about it now,” Hill said. “But I’m here to help the Jazz win basketball games. I’m not focused on a contract right now. We’ll get to that when the season is over, but right now, our main focus is to win basketball games and me to play my butt off.”

Nets eyeing George Hill?

Specifically, Windhorst said the Nets are likely to pursue Hill, who’s seen as a solid two-way player and leader. Unlike the other two, there would be no opportunity to match. You sign, you play. The best offer wins the day. “There is a belief that the Brooklyn Nets might have interest in going there. And even if George Hill isn’t interested in playing for the Brooklyn Nets, the Nets could make the offer is what is dangerous part for the Jazz … and for the Spurs. They can drive the price up.
9 months ago via ESPN

But it’s impossible to deny how much of a difference Hill, a steady hand who is averaging 17.6 points and 4.1 assists, has made for the Jazz this season. Utah is 25-10 when he plays and 12-13 when injuries have forced him to sit. “I think the statistics for us as a team and for him individually kind of speak for themselves,” said face of the franchise Gordon Hayward, who is all but assured to get a max contract assuming he opts to become a free agent this summer. “He’s obviously come in and been a leader in the locker room, too, [and] a leader out on the court for us. He plays with toughness, plays with poise offensively. He’s a big part of why we’ve been successful this year.”
9 months ago via ESPN

Sources told ESPN that the sides continue to work toward an agreement in hopes of beating the league’s annual deadline for what is known in the NBA as a renegotiation-and-extension. Such deals can’t be struck between March 1 and June 30 of any salary-cap year. Hill has recently declined to discuss a potential contract extension but told ESPN in November that he was “very interested” in the idea. Sources said the Jazz are determined to keep Hill for the long term even if extension terms can’t be reached Tuesday and Hill decides he would rather test the open market starting July 1.

Extending Hill now is the best hedge against Hayward leaving. Losing both would eviscerate Utah’s perimeter rotation; it is Utah’s doomsday scenario. But Hill may wait out Hayward’s decision; the two are close, with shared Indiana roots and Indy-based trainers. Even so, Hill would at least listen if the Jazz approached with an offer today. “I was never one who wanted to move from team to team,” Hill told ESPN.com. “If the opportunity to stay is there, I’d love to take it.”
1 year ago via ESPN

It’s an open secret that Utah wants to sign new point guard George Hill to an extension that keeps him off the free-agent market this summer. Hill, for his part, recently made it clear to our own Tim MacMahon that he would be “very interested in that.” The reality, though, is that Hill, earning $8 million this season in the final year of his last contract with Indiana, is playing far too well to do an extension starting from that salary range, given all the spending money that will be sloshing around the NBA next summer. Yet as Hill also told MacMahon: “I’m not the type of guy that likes to move around and go from team to team. I really like it here.” The Jazz have to love the sound of that.

Hayward is expected to opt out of his $16.7 million player option and become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Hill is in the final year of his contract worth $8 million and will also become an unrestricted free agent. While Utah has a well-regarded young nucleus that should only get better – especially after locking up Rudy Gobert to a long-term extension – Hill isn’t looking toward his future yet. “I don’t know,” Hill said. “I’m really not here to answer [questions about] extension or contract situations and things like that. I’m going to let Dennis Lindsey and the front office handle that and my agents. My focus is just to play basketball and try to get us to the playoffs.”

With one year remaining on his contract, and without an extension (for which he is eligible in October), Hill will become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Hill said that’s not on his mind, however. He knows he will play a big role for the Jazz this season, and his potential value on the market next summer could be significant. Still, the focus is on playing this season and trying to win as much as possible. He knows if he does that, the dominoes will fall into place. “I haven’t really talked about that much with anyone,” Hill said. “My whole focus is to come in here and be the best player that I can possibly be. I feel that the contract situation will work itself out, once you do that.”
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November 23, 2017 | 2:19 am EST Update

League to fine Damian Lillard?

After voicing his displeasure, Lillard was well aware his criticism would draw the ire of the league office and perhaps result in a fine. But he didn’t seem to care. When his postgame interview was over, he turned to CJ McCollum at the locker next to him and offered the following: “Go ahead and fine me,” he said. “I’ve got the check ready to go.”
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Lillard scored 30 points, making 11 of 27 field goals, in the defeat. But despite his high volume of field goals, he attempted only three free throws, a fact that left him incredulous as he left Wells Fargo Center. “I got to the rim a lot,” Lillard said. “And I’m getting smacked in my head, smacked on my shooting hand when I’m going to the basket. Guys (are) knocking me to the ground every other play. Like hard. And (officials) know I’m trying to score. It’s impossible for me to shoot two or three free throws. It’s impossible. As much as I got to the rim and as much as they know that I’m trying to score, it’s impossible for me to get the (crap) beat out of me as often as I do.”
When asked if he felt he had earned the right to get the benefit of the doubt from officials at this stage of his career, Lillard scoffed. He said a foul is a foul, no matter who you are, and he simply wants officials to do their jobs. “I don’t want to look at it like, I’m this person or I’m that (so) you’re supposed to call these fouls,” he said. “I think a foul is a foul. I know it’s tough. They’ve got a tough job, man. But I’m not one of these guys out here trying to sell them on every call … I’m playing to score the ball. I ain’t trying to be out here hitting the ground every other play, because that’s not what I’m going out here trying to do. I’m not going to be falling out the air to get two free throws and hitting the ground the way I’m hitting the ground. I’m getting hit. I don’t want to keep doing it.”
The Sixers (10-7) scored the game’s first 16 points en route to their 101-81 decision Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Center. The Blazers (10-8) posted season lows in total points and field-goal percentage (33.7). The Sixers allowed their lowest point total this season. “I thought our offense was a C-minus,” Brown said. “I thought our defense was an A, and we are looking for two As.” But he’s still going to cherish this victory. “I thought at times our offense was sloppy,” Brown said. “But we beat the fourth-best team in the West by 20 points. I’m greedy, but I ain’t stupid.”
Westbrook led the Thunder with 34 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Durant finished with 21 points and five rebounds. First, Durant and Westbrook appeared to exchange some words during the second quarter of OKC and Golden State’s first meeting of this season. After Westbrook forced a turnover, he was shown on the broadcast saying something as Durant walked away and laughed. Per reporters at the game, the Thunder guard made KD laugh by shouting or shaking his head “No” at the crowd.
Storyline: Durant-Westbrook Relationship
Late in the second quarter, Westbrook denied a post entry into Durant and the ball sailed out of bounds. Westbrook turned to the Warriors’ bench and yelled, “No!” Durant pointed at Westbrook while just smiling. Westbrook was then fouled on the other end by Draymond Green. Green didn’t like the call, and he began clapping in the vicinity of Westbrook, and the reigning MVP began clapping back at him. The two had a few words before Westbrook went to the foul line to take his shots.