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Rumor: George Hill deal almost didn’t materialize because Kings wanted to include Georgios Papagiannis

George Hill

The Cleveland Cavaliers were close to being unable to pull off a second straight deal, this time involving the Sacramento Kings, in hopes of acquiring the long-chased George Hill.

With a deal in place, the Kings had thrown in a poison pill to cover up their draft night gaffe, throwing in center Georgios Papagiannis in the deal unexpectedly, turning heads in the Cavs and Utah Jazz front offices once an early-morning memo was sent their way, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

“That’s why a 3 a.m. ET deal memo sent from Sacramento to Cleveland left Altman at first incredulous — and then angry. Suddenly, center Georgios Papagiannis had been included as part of the three-way trade. Cleveland and Utah were adamant that Papagiannis’ name had never been discussed. Williams would later say that Papagiannis or Malachi Richardson were set to be included in the deals and insisted his notes confirmed that.

“Because Sacramento had the makings of a trade with Toronto for Richardson, rival executives say that the Kings pushed to spare themselves the embarrassment of waiving the No. 13 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft — and let someone else do it. In the middle of the night, Altman and Williams vocally disagreed over the insertion of Papagiannis into the trade. Cleveland couldn’t take him into its roster because the NBA’s repeater tax would turn the balance of his $2.3 million contract this year and $2.4 million next year into three times that with the luxury-tax bill.”

Altman then communicated this memo to Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey, who was livid upon learning of the matter — also refusing to take on the 7-foot bust onto his roster and calling the move a deal-breaker.

Due to a hard-pressing Kings office, Koby Altman agreed to finance Papagiannis’ deal in a way where the Cavs paid $2.1 million and the Jazz the remaining $1.1 million — and while Lindsey wasn’t happy with the stink bomb savvily thrown their way last minute, he ultimately agreed.

This didn’t come without the Jazz trying to cut even, as Lindsey wanted the option to swap 2024 second-round picks, to which Dan Gilbert ultimately green-lighted, allowing the trade to go through on that premise.

The Land