Grading the Kings’ two trades before Thursday’s noon deadline:
George Hill multi-team deal
Kings dealt: George Hill and the rights to Arturas Gudaitis to Cleveland Cavaliers
Kings receive: Utah’s Joe Johnson, Cleveland’s Iman Shumpert, Miami’s 2020 second-round pick, the rights to Dimitrios Agravanis and $3 million.
The offseason signing of Hill looked good at the time, his weighty contract ($19 million next year) and presence of two rookie point guards notwithstanding. He was acquired to stabilize the backcourt and mentor De’Aaron Fox, Frank Mason and Bogdan Bogdanovic while being the productive, versatile player he has been throughout his career. But there is theory, then there is reality. Between injuries, coach Dave Joerger’s lineup experiments and a desire to implement a faster-paced offense, the veteran never found a niche.
Johnson is expected to pursue a buyout, which means this is really a Hill-for-Shumpert swap that trims about $8 million off the books for next season, with a second-round pick as a sweetener.
If Shumpert opts into the final year of his contract, as expected, he will earn $11 million on an expiring contract – a significant dip compared with Hill’s salary. The Kings likely don’t view him as part of their long-term plans, but he provides some insurance (and defense) if Garrett Temple opts for free agency this summer. All of this assumes Shumpert recovers from his latest ailment – a sore foot – and can stay on the court. He has played sparingly this season with an assortment of injuries and there is no time table for him to be activated.
Malachi Richardson to Toronto
Kings dealt: Malachi Richardson
Kings receive: Bruno Caboclo
The Kings believe Richardson has talent, but he was caught in the crowd of shooting guard and not regarded as highly as Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield. It didn’t help that he was sidelined much of last season with an injury, either.
Caboclo was a two-way player in Toronto who has spent most of the season in the G League.