This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Oklahoma City • George Hill and the Utah Jazz will not reach a deal on a contract extension, clearing the way for Utah's talented starting point guard to reach unrestricted free agency, The Salt Lake Tribune has learned.
According to league sources, Hill and the Jazz engaged in discussions concerning a contract renegotiation and extension in recent weeks, but both sides agreed to resume discussions in July, when the free agency period begins.
The deadline for an extension is 9:59 p.m. MT Tuesday.
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 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. For a team that's lacked steady point guard play since Deron Williams' departure in 2011, Hill's play has coincided with Utah's rise in the Western Conference standings.
Hill has had arguably his best season as a pro. He's averaging a career-best 17.7 points, 4.0 assists and 3.4 rebounds per night. His Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is 20.31, and he's been one of the better defenders in the league at his position.
His impact on the Jazz has been noticeable. Utah is 25-9 with Hill in the starting lineup. The Jazz have won 22 of 28 games Hill and Hayward have played in. By most metrics, Hill, Hayward and Rudy Gobert have been Utah's three most important players this season.
Hill is in the final season of a contract that will pay him $8 million. He's never been an unrestricted free agent, and sources tell The Tribune that Hill has as many as 12 teams who will be looking to acquire his services once free agency commences.
However, the Jazz will have a significant opportunity to keep Hill. And both sides are expected to sit down at the bargaining table as soon as free agency starts.