What’s expected to be a busy trading season in the NBA has begun. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports the Indiana Pacers have traded point guard George Hill to the Utah Jazz in a three-team trade also including the Atlanta Hawks, which will bring Jeff Teague to Indiana and will send Utah’s 12th pick in the upcoming draft to the Hawks.
It’s an interesting trade which solidifies things for each squad entering next season.
The Utah Jazz needed a veteran point guard to anchor their offense after a disastrous season at the position where Dante Exum missed the entire year with an ACL injury, forcing coach Quin Snyder to use a combination of Trey Burke, Raul Neto, and Shelvin Mack. With a healthy point guard, Utah would have likely been a lower-seed playoff team.
George Hill is a perfect fit for the Jazz. The 30-year-old had an excellent season with the Pacers, averaging 12.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.5 assists, while shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc. Hill is an elite on-ball defender who makes life tough for opposing point guards. Utah allowed the second-fewest points per game in the NBA at 95.9, so adding Hill will improve an already very good defense. The move also takes pressure off Exum, who can now transition back without carrying too much of the load. Hill’s got one year left on his contract worth $8 million.
Meanwhile, the Pacers trade defense for offense. Under new head coach Nate McMillan, Indiana is changing things up after a first-round playoff exit. Swapping Hill for Teague isn’t really an upgrade. Teague isn’t a great defender and shoots similar percentages to Hill on a slightly higher volume. He’s a got a nearly 2/1 assist per turnover ratio.
Teague’s a better offensive player, but it’s not enough to justify trading Hill’s defensive ability for him, although the Pacers offense should look different in 2016-17. He’s also a free agent by season’s end, but the Pacers are already working on a long-term extension according to Woj.
Indiana has plans to work on signing Teague to a contract extension, league sources tell @TheVertical.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 22, 2016
As for the Hawks, they’re the clear winners of this trade. Teague wasn’t the future at the point guard position, so to acquire a lottery pick for him is a great coup. The move allows Atlanta to start 22-year-old Dennis Schroder, who was at times sensational for the Hawks in the playoffs. He averaged 11.0 points, 4.4 assists, and 2.3 turnovers per game coming off the bench and should get a chance for a decent size role in the upcoming season.
The move also frees up cap room for the Hawks to re-sign Al Horford and Kent Bazemore and still have some flexibility. If Atlanta wants to, they can grab a good, young player to develop in the draft, or use the pick to get further assets. The trade sets them up tremendously.
You can see what each team was trying to attempt, but the Pacers come out as losers in this deal. Teague simply isn’t the all-around player Hill is, even if Indiana views him as an upgrade. The Jazz are going to be stifling defensively as Hill is a nice pickup. The Hawks are clearing the necessary room for Schroeder, getting a good pick and clearing cap.
I already can’t wait for the next Woj bomb.