The Cleveland Cavaliers continue to strip their roster for parts, reportedly acquiring future first- and second-round draft picks - as well as reacquiring a local cult hero - from the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for veteran guard George Hill.
Here are the parameters of the three-team deal between Cleveland, Milwaukee, and the Washington Wizards.
Bucks receive: G George Hill, C Jason Smith, 2021 2nd-round pick (Utah's via Washington)
Cavaliers receive: PG Matthew Dellavedova, C John Henson, Milwaukee's protected 2021 1st-round pick, Milwaukee's 2021 2nd-round pick, Washington's 2022 2nd-round pick
Wizards receive: PF Sam Dekker, Cleveland's 2021 2nd-round pick
Let's give out some grades:
This looks primarily like a cost-cutting move for the Bucks, who get out of Henson's and Dellavedova's contracts - they're owed a combined $20 million for 2019-20 - in exchange for Hill's, which is guaranteed for just $1 million next season. Those savings could prove crucial when it comes time to negotiate with impending free agent Khris Middleton in the summer.
But this move also makes the Bucks better in the present. Hill, who's shot a career-high 46.4 percent from 3-point range this season and over 40 percent in each of the last four campaigns, brings the team yet another multi-positional spot-up threat to place around Giannis Antetokounmpo. The volume hasn't been where you'd like it to be, but Milwaukee will surely change that.
With Hill's ability to play on or off ball and capably defend both guard spots, he upgrades a Bucks backcourt that was getting zilch from Dellavedova. He's basically Malcolm Brogdon Lite at this point, which is a nice luxury to have coming off your bench.
According to ESPN's Zach Lowe, the first-round pick is lottery protected in 2021, top-10 protected in 2022, top-10 and 25-through-30 protected in 2023, and top-eight protected in 2024, after which, if not conveyed, it converts to two second-rounders. Those aren't especially stringent protections; the Bucks are very likely giving up a first-rounder in this deal. That's a steep price to pay, especially since their backcourt is already pretty well stocked with Brogdon, Eric Bledsoe, Pat Connaughton, and Donte DiVincenzo. Henson is on the shelf after undergoing wrist surgery, but he was giving them solid center minutes off the bench before he got hurt, and their frontcourt depth was already a bit iffy.
Still, this deal looks like an on-paper improvement, and the Bucks, who've played like a Finals contender this season, have an impetus to win now. Hill should help them do that.
This is another nice piece of work from the Cavs' front office, which has now recouped a first-rounder and three seconds in trades for Hill and Kyle Korver, two aging vets who were of little use to Cleveland's rebuilding roster. With Henson and Alec Burks - who was acquired in the Korver deal - looming as potential trade chips in their own right, the Cavs should have even more draft capital to show for these moves before all is said and done.
Nothing else about this deal really matters from Cleveland's perspective. If they can't move Henson's contract, he'll have a role as a backup big behind Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance. Also, having Dellavedova back in the fold should be fun, if only for nostalgia's sake. Other than that, the Cavs just need to focus on developing their young players and continuing to stockpile as many future assets as they can for what little trade value remains on the roster.
They're off to a great start. Now, can they find a suitor for JR Smith?