NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz On George Hill, Courtney Lee, Kyle Kuzma, Plus More

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The NBA trade period is only a few days away as the league will soon lift the restriction to trade newly-acquired free agents in the summer. There are a number of emerging NBA trade rumors at the moment and some of them have mentioned Sacramento Kings point guard George Hill, New York Knicks shooting guard Courtney Lee, and Los Angeles Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma.

Sacramento Could Soon Trade George Hill

The Kings signed George Hill to a three-year, $57 million contract last summer which would pay him $20 million at the end of this season. The team considered it a great deal at that time as Hill was coming off the best season of his career playing for the Utah Jazz in 2016-2017.

Hill averaged 3.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.0 steals, and a career-high 16.9 points in 31.5 minutes per game last season as the starting point guard for head coach Quin Snyder.

However, Hill has not been playing up to expectations this year with averages of only 9.0 points, 2.9 boards, 2.4 assists, and 0.9 steals in 25.5 minutes per game. He is also presently sharing precious playing time with intriguing rookie De’Aaron Fox and sophomore Buddy Hield in Sacramento’s crowded backcourt.

Even this year’s 34th overall pick, Frank Mason III, has become Kings head coach Dave Joerger’s primary substitute to Fox at the one-guard spot, leaving Hill to settle to an unnatural shooting guard position.

Sacramento Kings point guard George Hill
Featured image credit: Abbie ParrGetty Images

Sacramento Bee’s Jason Jones said that he expects the Kings to trade Hill “even before the (February) deadline” and that it would be “best for both sides” to pursue such a deal.

Joerger is reportedly already satisfied with the young point guard combo of Fox and Mason, and keeping a veteran floor general is not on the team’s priority right now.

It has been a big turnaround season for Hill compared to last year’s as he is now shooting only 7.4 times a night, the lowest since his rookie season. Jones noted it as an indication that the Kings are indeed consigned to make Fox their point guard of the future.

However, the biggest hurdle in trading Hill would be his huge salary. While there are no reported teams interested in Hill so far, more trade rumors mentioning the former IUPUI standout is expected to come soon after December 15.

Courtney Lee On The Knicks’ Trading Block?

There are trade rumors saying that veteran journeyman Courtney Lee is on the New York Knicks’ trading block this midseason.

Bleacher Report indicated that the Knicks are in the middle of a “youth movement” centered on young sensation Kristaps Porzingis. With the team evidently built for the future, a few of their veteran assets are expected to be traded following the trade restriction deadline.

New York Knicks guard Courtney Lee
Knicks guard Courtney Lee (#5) drives against Magic center Nikola Vucevic during New York's 105-100 loss to Orlando on Sunday. Featured image credit: Kathy WillensAP Images

Lee is actually playing his best season in the NBA this year as he averages a career-high 13.2 points with 3.6 boards, 2.8 assists, and 1.4 steals in 32.4 minutes per game as a starter for head coach Jeff Hornacek.

With his great overall performance so far, Lee has become one of the Knicks’ best trade assets outside of Porzingis. His $12 million yearly salary is also a large enough sum to clear in the team’s cap space to help them acquire a valuable free agent next summer.

The report noted that Lee could be a “quality, under-the-radar” signing for any contender as the postseason draws near.

Lakers Could Gamble On Trading Kyle Kuzma

The Lakers are presently two games behind the eighth spot in the tough Western Conference. They were able to win two games in a row after going on a five-game losing slide.

According to Blasting News, the multi-titled franchise is targeting LeBron James in next year’s free-agency. However, the team would have to get Paul George first to tempt the Cavaliers’ superstar to join the Hollywood squad.

In order to snatch George, the report said that a trade package including some of the Lakers’ young stars would have to be made. It specifically mentioned a deal sending Kyle Kuzma, Jordan Clarkson, and Corey Brewer to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for George.

ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine judged the trade as successful, although the deal would not be that easy to pull off in reality.

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma
Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma (#0) works around two Phoenix Suns players.Featured image credit: Christian PetersenGetty Images

Kuzma is deemed as one of the Lakers’ future superstars and it would not be a surprise if the Thunder becomes interested in him. Should the Big Three of George, Carmelo Anthony, and Russell Westbrook end up being a bust in Oklahoma City by midseason, Metro US predicted that a Paul George trade would be possible.

The Thunder currently has a 12-13 slate in the ninth spot in the West, only two games ahead of the Lakers in the standings.

More Rumors

Speaking of the Lakers, Lakers Nation reported that Clarkson and Julius Randle continue to be on the team’s trading block.

Lakers players Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Julius Randle, and Jordan Clarkson
Julius Randle (#30) and Jordan Clarkson (#6) with Los Angeles Lakers teammate Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.Featured image credit: Ringo H.W. ChiuAP Images

The report noted that Lakers’ president for basketball operations Magic Johnson is planning to make his team busy in next summer’s free-agency. Johnson also said that the team’s pitch will be all about basketball and not “marketing” or “branding”, unlike in previous years.

As mentioned above, a lot of big-name free agents are being tagged alongside the Lakers, including James and George. Should the Lakers decide to go on a salary dump to welcome a possible acquisition of the two, then Randle and Clarkson are reportedly “potential trade chips.”