SALT LAKE CITY — George Hill is in the final year of his contract, but the Utah Jazz point guard didn’t realize he is up for an extension.
The 30-year-old Hill, much to his surprise and perhaps to the delight of the Jazz, can ink a long-term deal this season before he hits the open market next offseason after his current contract ends.
Derrick Favors could also sign one, but he's not focused on that fact, either.
Considering Hill’s play in Utah so far, the Jazz might be wise to make that extension a reality. In the meantime, the Jazz are getting one heck of a bargain with the ninth-year player, who leads the team in scoring and assists in Gordon Hayward’s absence, thanks to his relatively small $8 million salary this season.
Hill told ESPN.com earlier this week that he’d be “very interested” in wrapping up an extension. He could see himself remaining in Utah for the long term.
“I actually didn’t know I was up for an extension,” Hill said. “I’m going to leave that to the front office guys. If they want me here, I would love to be here. I’ll let them take care of that. I’m here to play basketball and to try to win games.”
Hill’s association with Lone Peak High basketball coach David Evans, a friend of Hill's financial advisor Matt Ward, helped him establish a good connection with Utah. He even conducted a basketball camp in Utah County before the Jazz traded for the former Pacers and Spurs guard.
“I'm not the type of guy that likes to move around and go from team to team," Hill told ESPN.com. “I really like it here. My family likes it here. I've got some friends here. The city's been great for me so far, and it's a nice place to raise a family, so hopefully I get an opportunity to re-sign here if they would love me to be here.”
The Jazz could also extend Favors’ deal before he becomes a free agent in 2018.
It could help Utah’s salary situation to move on those extensions now instead of waiting. The Jazz will certainly attempt to re-sign Hayward after he opts out of the final year of his deal at the end of this season.
“I’m not really thinking about it right now,” said Favors, who’s in the third season of a Jazz-friendly $47 million deal. “I’m worried about the season right now. If the opportunity comes, me and my agent will talk about it and we’ll see what happens.”
Favors’ preference would be to remain in Utah with the team he’s played for since being traded from New Jersey in the Deron Williams deal during his rookie season of 2010-11. The 6-10 Georgian bought a home in Salt Lake City after securing his current contract and has remained in Utah on a full-time basis for years.
“Of course I want to be here, but it’s a business too,” Favors said. “Of course I want to be here. I love being here.”
Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey hinted that the team might be working on other deals while addressing media in the aftermath of Rudy Gobert’s contract extension earlier this week.