Then, they didn’t.
George Hill, they didn’t want to buy him out this year. What they wanted to do was protect themselves in the event that, if LeBron James left, whether George Hill would be willing to take a buyout on the $20 million he’s owed on his contract after this season.
There’s actually some precedent for this. Ty Lawson agreed to reduce the guarantee in his contract a few years ago to facilitate a trade from the Nuggets to the Rockets. He flopped in Houston, got cut and lost about $12 million he otherwise would’ve earned. He’s now out of the league.
Hill could similarly agree to reduce the amount of his salary that’s guaranteed in future seasons. Right now, he’s guaranteed $19 million next season and $1 million of $18 million the following season.
Hill might be unhappy in Sacramento, but enough to relinquish significant salary protection just to get to Cleveland? He can probably tough it out on a bad team if it means getting all his money.
I don’t blame the Cavs for wanting Hill to cut them a break. I’m just surprised trade discussions advanced so far based on the idea Hill would actually go for this.