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As the Cavs eye their LeBron-less future, it’s time for them to begin the rebuilding process. The first step is to move the older players on their roster for younger talent and future assets. Per a report by Amico Hoops, George Hill and Kyle Korver are first on the Cavs list of veterans they’re looking to trade.
George Hill, whom the team acquired during their February trading spree last year, is due a massive contract of $19 million for the 2018-2019 season. The Cavs are interested in unloading that number off their books. Also, the team doesn’t plan on bringing Collin Sexton off the bench behind Hill. If they’re unable to find a trade partner for Hill, the Cavs will look to buy out his contract.
When the Cavs acquired George Hill via trade, they attempted to discuss a potential buyout strategy if LeBron James did leave in free agency. At that time, George Hill wasn’t interested, since the aging veteran knew this could potentially be his last big contract. Now, with the current state of the Cavs roster, Hill may be more willing to explore his options.
The trade possibilities for Hill are extremely limited. While he served a valuable role for the Cavs last year, his contributions did not match the bill. In the NBA, trades are more about acquiring contracts than they are about the actual players themselves. Nothing is impossible, there have been crazier moves made, but I’d be shocked if the Cavs were able to find someone willing to take on Hill’s contract. For Hill, I’d say a buyout is way more likely than a trade.
Korver’s situation is completely different. Even at 37 years old, his value as a spot up shooter is still extremely high. He finished the season shooting 43.6% from behind the arc. Korver’s under contract for two more seasons at an affordable $7.5 million per year. Per the report, the Cavs will gauge his trade interest in the hopes of acquiring draft picks. If they’re unable to find a suitor, a buyout of his contract is a possibility as well.
The biggest limitation for a Korver trade is finding the right fit. His value is the highest for a title contender and draft picks are an expendable commodity for a team attempting to make a run in the playoffs. The issue is that the teams built to compete for a title now, like Houston and Golden State, are all capped out with their current salaries and may not be willing to pay luxury tax penalties for him.
Other than helping a team try and win a title, a young team looking for veteran leadership could be interested in adding Korver. He’s well documented as an excellent locker room presence with a maniacal work ethic. Even LeBron himself took shooting lessons from Korver while he was in Cleveland. A team like the Nuggets or Jazz, who are young with playoff potential, could see a reason to trade for Korver. I wouldn’t expect a lottery-bound to trade a pick for him, but I could why they’d sign him if he’s bought out.
Whether it’s by trade or buy out, it’s highly unlikely the Cavs will start the season with either of these players on the team. There’s no reason for George Hill to steal minutes from Jordan Clarkson and Sexton while the team rebuilds. I wouldn’t hate the idea of Korver sticking around to mentor the young Cavs players if that’s what he’d want to do.
Best case scenario, the Cavs land future drafts picks in trades, while also sending both to competitive teams. It’s a win for everybody. Korver and Hill don’t deserve to waste the end of their careers playing here and it helps set the Cavs up for a rebuild.