Does he want to leave Utah? Do the Jazz not value him enough?
That doesn’t mean Hill doesn’t want to stay with the Jazz, sources tell The Tribune. In fact, Hill is fond of the franchise and Salt Lake City. He has been a leader in Utah’s locker room and is very close to Jazz star Gordon Hayward — both are from the Indianapolis area. He has developed friendships off the court in Salt Lake, and he enjoys playing for the Jazz.
The Jazz, sources say, are prepared to do whatever it takes to keep Hill with the franchise.
Tim MacMahon of ESPN:
A much better deal? That might be in the eye of the beholder.
The most the Jazz could have offered Hill before last night’s midnight deadline was $88,684,652 — a $13,644,808 raise this season via renegotiation and a three-year, $75,039,844 extension.
As an unrestricted free agent this summer, Hill’s max contract projects to be worth about $177 million over five years if he re-signs or about $132 million over four years if he leaves.
Here’s what Hill’s max would have been in a renegotiation-and-extension and what his maxes project to be next summer:
There’s no guarantee Hill will receive a max offer in free agency. Though he’s having an excellent season, he’ll be 31. Plus, he has played through multiple minor injuries this season. If one of those becomes major, he has no safety net.
And even if Hill receives higher-paying offers, those aren’t necessarily better offers. Does he want to leave Utah for the 76ers, Kings or Knicks? Those are the type of teams that are both desperate for a point guard and have max-level cap space.
Plus, if Hill signed a renegotiation-and-extension, he still could have earned some money on a new contract in 2020-21 and 2021-22. That has to be weighed against four- or five-year options in free agency.
I would have advised Hill to take the renegotiation-and-extension if the Jazz offered the max amount, but it’s an extremely close call. There’s definitely upside in Hill’s risk of bypassing an extension.
The best hope for Hill to secure a bigger contract with a good team is the Jazz. They hold his Bird Rights, so they can exceed the cap to re-sign him. They’re winning now, and he’s a big part of that. They also might have their point guard of the future already on the roster in Dante Exum. So, while a lucrative long-term contract for Hill might become an albatross on the backend, Utah would at least have the opportunity to reduce his role and elevate Exum rather than being stuck with no options.
Because Hill will be unrestricted, the Jazz should be proactive. They can’t idly wait for the market to determine Hill’s value and then try to match or barely beat it. By then, he might be gone.
Hill can use teams like Philadelphia, Sacramento and New York — maybe to get an offer he’s truly willing to accept, but at least to gain leverage over Utah.
There are many paths to Hill coming out ahead. Let’s acknowledge, though: Rejecting an extension is the more daring route.