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The Utah Jazz have expressed interest in acquiring Indiana forward Solomon Hill once the free agency period opens on Thursday night, The Salt Lake Tribune has learned.
Hill's situation is unique. A former first round pick of the Pacers, Hill is entering his fourth season, and would normally still be on a rookie contract. However, Indiana executive Larry Bird declined the option on his fourth year, making the combo forward an unrestricted free agent.
Hill distinguished himself this season as a versatile talent, capable of being a go-to perimeter defender and an offensive threat. He established himself as a key member of Indiana's rotation off the bench, and played arguably the best basketball of his career in the postseason.
Multiple league sources say the interest is mutual between the Hill and the Jazz. But that doesn't mean there wouldn't be obstacles for Utah in its pursuit.
The market for Hill is "fertile," according to one source, because he is young and can play three positions power forward, small forward and shooting guard and a number of teams plan to persue him.
Also, Hill won't come cheap. The Tribune has learned the former Arizona star is seeking anywhere between $9 and $13 million per year, and multiple teams are willing to meet that number. The money isn't much of a hurdle for the Jazz, though, as they are far under the salary cap floor.
Hill may have starting opportunities somewhere in the league but if he were to come to Utah, he would almost certainly come off the bench. Sources say, however, Hill is being advised to look for the best situation for him individually, not necessarily a starting gig, and the Jazz are perceived around the NBA as a team on the rise.
Utah solidified its point guard situation last week by trading for George Hill, Solomon Hill's teammate with the Pacers. The Jazz are getting Dante Exum and Alec Burks back from injury, and have one of the better wing tandems in the league in Gordon Hayward and Rodney Hood. Those factors are helping fuel a sense that the Jazz are a potential playoff team next season if they make a dent in free agency and stay healthy.
Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey said last week that the organization wants to be a major player in free agency to supplement the roster the team has built over the past three seasons. Utah has expressed desire to add shooting to the core in place and has long wanted another wing, and another big man to support Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert.
Hill's versatility adds value to what coach Quin Snyder likes. Hill, Hayward and Hood could all potentially play together in small-ball situations. Hill is a good rebounder for a small forward and has established himself as a superior passer for his position.
The Jazz finished last season with a 40-42 record, missing the postseason. In order to acquire George Hill, they traded their lottery pick in last week's draft. Utah will formally introduce its three second round picks Joel Bolomboy, Marcus Paige and Tyrone Wallace on Wednesday.
About Solomon Hill
• Los Angeles native played four years at Arizona, and was an all-conference performer in the Pac-12.
• Was taken in the first round of the 2013 NBA draft.
• Was a key figure off the bench this past season for the Pacers.