The Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired Rodney Hood and George Hill in a three-team trade with the Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, completely reshaping the roster of the reeling three-time defending Eastern Conference champions before the trade deadline.
The Jazz reportedly received Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose from the Cavaliers, while the Kings landed Joe Johnson from Utah and Iman Shumpert from Cleveland. Sacramento will also get the Miami Heat’s 2020 second-round pick (via the Cavs) and $3 million in cash in the deal, according to USA Today.
Trade clean up: Cavs sent Kings $2.1M in cash, Jazz sent Kings $1.1M cash & Cavs agreed to second-round swap rights with Utah in 2024. Cavs also got rights to Arturas Gudaitis from Sac & traded rights to Dimitrios Agravanis.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) February 8, 2018
All of a sudden, the Cavaliers are rolling out a likely starting lineup still anchored by LeBron James and supported by incumbent role players J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson, with Hill and Hood — two former teammates who helped the Jazz to 51 wins and a second-round playoff appearance last season.
Utah lineups with Hill and Hood in them last season outscored opponents by 8.5 points per 100 possessions, posting a 100.2 defensive rating over 684 minutes last season. Of course, they were often paired with All-Star wing Gordon Hayward and First Team All-Defensive center Rudy Gobert for many of those minutes. Still, they should help a Cleveland defense that ranks second-to-last this season.
Hill is shooting a career-best 45.3 percent from 3-point range this season, while Hood is shooting at a 38.9 percent clip from distance, and both should find plenty of open looks operating alongside James.
Hill is owed $19 million next season, and only $1 million of his deal for 2019-20 is guaranteed. Hood is a restricted free agent this summer, when the Cavaliers can match any offer he receives in free agency.
[Follow the 2018 NBA Trade Deadline with Yahoo Sports]
The rebuilding Kings get out from underneath Hill’s contract. Instead, they take on Johnson’s expiring deal and Shumpert, who owns an $11 million option for next season, adding a mid-second-round pick and $3 million for their troubles. The Jazz, meanwhile, will release Rose, according to Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania, and swap Hood’s expiring deal for two more years of Crowder at an affordable rate.
That the Cavs only parted with the underperforming Crowder, Rose and Shumpert in a deal that landed a talented two-way point guard and rangy 25-year-old wing — two of the most-coveted roles in the league — is remarkable. There’s little doubt Cleveland improved its roster for the stretch run, when All-Star forward Kevin Love is expected to return, so long as coach Tyronn Lue can successfully incorporate everybody before the playoffs. The Cavaliers are 7-13 over their previous 20 games.
The trade comes less than an hour after the Cavs swapped Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and their protected 2018 first-round draft pick to the Los Angeles Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.
The Cavaliers also traded Dwyane Wade home to the Heat for a heavily protected second-round pick on Thursday afternoon, according to Wojnarowski. In less than an hour on deadline day, the Cavs sent packing three of the top six players in their rotation and six members of the roster altogether.
The only question now is whether the Cavaliers did enough on Thursday to make themselves the favorites in the East for a fourth straight season and to retain James in free agency this summer.
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