George Hill changes representation ahead of free agency

George Hill, having just completed the final year of a five-year, $40 million deal that he originally signed with the Pacers in 2012, has changed agents prior to becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Hill has hired Matthew Ward, Ward confirmed to VigilantSports.com. This isn’t a new relationship between the two; Ward has served as Hill’s financial advisor for nearly a decade.

Hill was previously represented by veteran agent Bill Neff. Their business relationship, plus Hill’s with secondary agent Michael Whitaker, ended in December (2016), according to National Basketball Players Association records.

Then in January, Ward became an NBA-certified agent, NBPA records show. He began officially began representing Hill in mid-May.

It’s a big summer for the Indy native and so this change cannot be understated. The prevailing thought was that if Hill did change agents, that he would hire a big-time agency, like CAA, to ensure that he landed the best offer.

Instead, Hill, an unrestricted free agent, went with someone he already has a business relationship with and trusts. It’s a risk, though, making this sort of change at this time.

At 31 years old, this will likely be his last major contract. And Gordon Hayward, for certain, is keeping an eye on whether Hill re-signs in Utah or goes elsewhere. It’s important to Hayward to play alongside a quality point guard.

[Gordon Hayward sets schedule for free-agent meetings]

Hill, the IUPUI product, was drafted 26th overall in the 2008 draft by the San Antonio Spurs. He played his first three years under coach Gregg Popovich, a man he still holds in high regard. The Spurs traded Hill back to Indy in exchange for the draft rights to Kawhi Leonard on draft night 2011.

Hill played five seasons in his hometown, but was sent to Utah last offseason in a three-team trade that brought Jeff Teague back home from Atlanta. He appeared in 49 games — missing 40 percent of the season (33 games) — with the Jazz and averaged a career-best 16.9 points, 4.2 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per game.

[George Hill on playing in Indy: ‘It’s always home for me’]

Availability is key for Hill, as he was sidelined for Games 2, 3, and 4 of the Jazz’s second-round series against the eventual champions, the Golden State Warriors. They easily swept the Jazz.

Hill, though, was seriously bothered by a left big toe sprain.


George Hill (left) and Paul George) were teammates for five years, and former neighbors on Geist.

Former teammate, neighbor, and good friend Paul George is rooting for Hill to cash in next month.

“We were close. We were really, really close,” Paul George told VigilantSports.com in January before their first head-to-head meeting. “That’s my brother. That’s my brother for life.”

Hill got revenge, scoring a (then) season-high 30 points, six rebounds, and five assists in 34 minutes.

“I talk to George a lot. We’ve talked a lot over the last month, going back and forth. I just keep a tab on a lot of guys I’ve played with — but George in particular. I’ve been motivating him, really, to continue on playing the way he has been playing. I’d love to see him get paid.”

As long as he stays injury-free…

“Yeah, man. I told him that, too. It’s the most I’ve seen him injured. And I know they are serious injuries. GHill usually plays and battled through a lot of nicks and bruises. So for him to sit so many games this year, I know it’s been serious. I’ve been trying to keep his head level because he doesn’t like sitting out.”

[Photos: Frank McGrath/PS&E]

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