The Pacers drafted San Diego State star Kawhi Leonard with the 15th pick in the first round, but the team has traded him to the Spurs for George Hill, according to multiple reports. The Pacers will also send the 42nd pick in this year’s draft to San Antonio as part of the deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
The Spurs had been working frantically to try to trade into the lottery, with rumors being floated of deals involving Tony Parker and Richard Jefferson over the last couple of days. With Leonard dropping out of the lottery, the Spurs were able to pick him up without giving up nearly that much.
Leonard averaged 15.5 points and 10.6 rebounds per game in his last college season, and will give San Antonio a nice infusion of athleticism. Hill was an important role player for the Spurs last season, but doesn’t have nearly the long-term promise of a player like Leonard. And with Gary Neal’s emergence as a solid backup to Parker, San Antonio obviously felt that Hill was expendable for the right player in return.
San Antonio is a franchise that has a history of making intelligent moves at draft time. It appears to have just bolstered that reputation.